ALWAYS one to listen to its buyers’ needs, one of the UK’s leading auction companies, Aston Barclay, has introduced a brand new product to ensure its customers can buy stock more easily and efficiently.
Buy Plus is a new product that Aston Barclay plans to launch later this year, providing buyers with a tool to automatically upload a newly-purchased vehicle direct to their dealer website within a matter of minutes.
‘We have been trialling a new service called Buy Plus, which works as a ready-to-retail service for our customers,’ explains operations director, Barry Watts. ‘We take what we call “beauty shots” of a vehicle and as soon as it’s sold at auction, we will send those images along with the relevant information over to the buyer so that they can then post that very vehicle for sale on their website.
‘This saves our customers time and money – the buyer hasn’t paid for or taken the car back to their showroom yet, but it is already advertised for sale on the dealer’s website. So we’re allowing customers to do what usually takes a minimum of 24 hours within less than an hour.
‘There are currently half a dozen customers trialling the new Buy Plus product and so far Aston Barclay has received nothing but positive feedback. ‘We have received good comments from all of our customers who are trialling Buy Plus and it is always under constant review,’ says Watts. ‘We hope to officially launch this product at the end of the year.’
This isn’t the only example where Aston Barclay has developed a new service tool for its customers. The company recognises the importance of vehicle advertising and that without good-quality stock and the ability to list vehicles online as soon as possible, advertising is not going to be successful for any business.
Although it relies heavily on vendors to supply it with vehicles, Aston Barclay works closely with its buyers to ensure the right customer gets the right vehicle. Aston Barclay will make sure staff are always on hand to assist buyers, whether it be online, in the auction centre or on the telephone.
‘We pride ourselves on our customer service and we’re always walking the auction floors and mingling with our customers,’ says Watts.
‘One of our customers actually said that they appreciate how accessible we are and although we are a large company, we are still accessible to all of our customers whether they are franchise and independent dealers, leasing and finance companies, or car supermarkets.’
Watts continues: ‘We have very good communication with our buyer base. Our vehicles are sold as seen with no warranty but if there is a problem or an issue occurs with a vehicle that has been sold, then someone will take the call and deal with it immediately.
‘Sometimes we can’t always give them the answer that they are looking for, but we will always go back to our vendors and then get back to our customers with the verdict either way. And our customers value that and trust us for that very reason.’
Aston Barclay has four well-regarded sites across the UK and it hosts auctions, both online and in the auction centres. It also supplies vehicles to a variety of customer bases including independent dealers, franchises and motor retail supermarkets.
‘Different dealers sell different stock, some sell prestige cars and some sell lower-end cars, so we’re looking at prices from £8,000-plus or £3,000-plus,’ Watts explains.
‘We work closely with household names in the lease, fleet and dealer networks to make sure we find and sell the right stock they require, and the fact that we have a lot of regular customers means we are aware of what stock they are looking for so we can spot patterns in their purchases.’
With the growth of online auctions continuing to prompt more and more dealers to purchase their stock online, it’s becoming extremely important for auction sites to completely eliminate mistakes when choosing and advertising their vehicles.
‘Online auctions have taken off phenomenally over the past six years. We always aim to be the eyes of the buyer on the web and they have confidence in us to deliver them the car they are looking for,’ says Watts.
‘We invest heavily in making sure customers are satisfied with the vehicles they are buying and post four images minimum of each car listed, making sure to highlight if and where the car suffers any issues or problems. We inspect almost to zero tolerance.’
He continues: ‘We appreciate that a buyer is a customer and that, without buyers, we wouldn’t have vendors. Customers are equally as important as the vendors.’
Online auctions play a very crucial role in the motor retail industry due to the easy, time-saving service they can offer. However, physical auctions are still very important and Aston Barclay is keen to do as much as possible for its customer base in order to make the buying process as easy, accessible and as helpful as possible.
Aston Barclay isn’t the largest auction house, but it’s certainly one of the most helpful and efficient in the retail market, providing its customers with confidence and the necessary tools to help them advertise their vehicles proudly.