Direct to consumer used car sales website Cinch wants to work with dealers and not compete with them in the long term.
In an exclusive Car Dealer Live interview today, Cinch retail director Jason Cranswick explains how the new online used car sales website is aiming to partner with dealers to offer them an ecommerce solution.
The new website launched last week to some criticism from the trade who claimed the site was taking business away from dealers.
Cranswick joined Cinch two months ago from dealer group Jardine, where he was commercial director, and previously held senior roles at Audi and Seat.
In the video interview above, he explains how the Cinch proposition works for dealers and why the BCA-owned platform has originally bolstered the numbers listed for sale with its own cars for sale.
He said: ‘For us to build a credible brand and a true competitor that dealers can use we needed to seed it.
‘We had to go with scale to create a consumer brand.
‘We couldn’t go to market with this idea and say to dealers “we have a great idea but you have to make it work”.
‘The balance of stock is already tipping away from our stock and more towards dealer stock every day.’
Cranswick explains that dealers should see the Cinch proposition as effectively an ‘Amazon warehouse’ for its cars.
Once they have bought the cars from a BCA auction they can list them immediately on the Cinch platform, sell them via the platform and then have that sale fulfilled by the company.
Currently, only cars held by BCA can be sold and delivered by Cinch – but it is working on ways to add in car dealers’ stock held elsewhere.
Dealers who agree to list the vehicles they buy on the Cinch platform agree to do so for a period of 60 days exclusively and can then decide what they want to do with the car if it hasn’t sold.
Cranswick added: ‘We have created a platform with the dealer firmly in mind and it was built off the back of feedback that dealers wanted a fighting chance to be competitive online.
‘Dealers should see this as a complimentary channel.
‘It is another way to gain a margin on cars that might otherwise leak out of the dealer world.’
Cranswick explains the cars that Cinch is selling themselves are there to bolster the total numbers, which today stands at 4,129.
Answering critics who claim Cinch is hand picking ‘good quality retail cars from the auction halls, he says this is simply ‘not the case’ and instead cars come from ‘many other’ suppliers.
‘We are not taking away the lifeblood from our dealers,’ he added.
‘We want to scale back the cars we are selling and that whole concept of seeding is really important.
‘We have built something here that we think will scale with dealer partners.
‘We want to build a value-added service in the BCA stable and we are in this for the long term.’
Cars sold on the platform that are owned by dealers will be completely facilitated by Cinch – it offers a full end-to-end sales solution and those customer details are not shared with the dealer.
‘It’s important that this happens as the customer is buying from us,’ said Cranswick.
‘That’s a double edged sword, some [dealers] say they want to have contact with the customer for the long term but when you look at the complexities of selling a car online then it’s not a bad pay off to have us contracting the consumer and the dealer generating the revenue prior to the hand over.
‘It’s not traditional, and it’s not your analogue success model that has always been there, but in digital it’s a different set of rules that prevail.’
Dealers do not have to pay a subscription for the service and are charged around £600 for each car sold which includes nationwide delivery. This takes place within 72 hours of sale.
BCA is also now selling ‘retail ready’ stock in some of its auctions which are designed for the Cinch platform. These can be listed within hours of a dealer buying it.
He added: ‘I think what we have done is disturb the status quo and I make no apologies for that because I think to be successful in any new business venture you’ve got to find your niche – our view is we will exploit that niche with our dealer partners.’