Auto Trader has opened up a real-time data product to all dealers that it says will maximise margins as well as dramatically improve the online experience for customers.
Hailed as an industry first, Auto Trader Connect lets retailers use all its data capabilities to update multiple back-end and consumer-facing systems with advanced vehicle data in real time, ensuring consistency and accuracy with minimal effort.
The stock management system has been in use by 325 dealers for a year, but the first phase of it – Retail Essentials – will be part of all of Auto Trader’s standard advertising packages from 2022, with early access from December 1 this year.
The online marketplace said that when data isn’t shared between systems in real time, sales channels can rapidly get out of sync, causing inconsistencies in key details plus incorrectly advertising vehicles that are no longer in stock or have already been sold.
That, in turn, can lead to frustration and a poor customer experience.
It added that the dealers who had already been using Auto Trader Connect had reported improved efficiency and profits per vehicle.
Auto Trader said that nearly half (45 per cent) of retailers were putting incorrect vehicle spec into their DMS because they didn’t have access to accurate data, which risked misleading consumers and affecting vehicle valuations that could discourage buyers.
Karolina Edwards-Smajda, Auto Trader’s commercial product director, said: ‘The retail landscape is evolving incredibly quickly, and with it, consumer expectations have never been higher.
‘In such a competitive and complex market, it’s critical for retailers to offer an exceptional online retail experience.
‘Failure to do so could mean the difference between a sale and losing out to a competitor.
‘As well as alleviating a major pain point for consumers, utilising the full extent of our data to connect multiple systems in real time will massively improve efficiency, enabling retailers of all sizes to not only respond to changes in the market as they happen, but also free them up to focus on selling more cars and making more profit.’
David Male, Robins & Day’s lean process improvement manager, said: ‘This enables us to manage our full stock journey in one system, whether that is at the point of bringing a vehicle into stock or managing our retail stock on the forecourt with auto pricing functionality.
‘We are able to manage this in real time in one system, removing wasted effort.’
Crompton Way Motors owner Paul Richards commented: ‘In a nutshell, it saves our business time and improves profit per unit.
‘We operate on a fast turnover, so this means we can reprice faster to drive higher margins. It’s also a massive time-saver. We’re saving two to three hours a day – a full day a week.
‘We also no longer have the frustrating wait for a feed to run. If I want to change a price, correct a mistake or add a new photo, it’s done in an instant, both on Auto Trader and my website.’
Meanwhile, Parkway Motor Group managing director Sean Booth said: ‘Being connected in real time to Auto Trader allows us to have all of the data at our fingertips to manage our inventory as accurately as possible.
‘This enables us to advertise vehicles with rich vehicle data, price more accurately to optimise margin and manage them across our Parkway Group website and Auto Trader all from one system in real time.’
Third-party system providers will need to integrate the service into their platforms, with more than 40 either already having done so or committed to it, said Auto Trader.
In the video above, Auto Trader Nathan Coe chats exclusively to Car Dealer founder James Baggott about the service, as well as used car prices, whether the current surge in demand will continue, and his prediction on how long used car prices will rise.