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Henstock: Physical auctions aren’t over

Time 6:12 am, April 11, 2014

BCAFROM time to time, a market commentator will suggest that traditional vehicle auctions have had their heyday and the onward march of digital marketplaces heralds the death knell for the physical arena for used vehicles.

Far be it from me to point out that these commentators invariably have a vested interest in such an eventuality, but it makes for an interesting discussion point.

Too often, the different remarketing channels are perceived as being mutually exclusive and in competition with one another.


In truth, the future inevitably holds a need for both a physical wholesale infrastructure and a digital marketplace, because customers want both. Some sellers want to offer their vehicles in a range of physical and online channels because it suits the needs of their business. Some buyers prefer the convenience of buying stock online, others will prefer to buy vehicles they have seen ‘in the metal’.

The reality is that these routes to market are complementary and all have a role in delivering an efficient and effective marketplace that meets the needs of sellers and buyers alike.

You also need all the building blocks to deliver the best service – efficient logistics and administration, a comprehensive physical network, great digital platforms and search systems, effective reporting and data analysis, targeted sales and marketing, and a stock-funding capability for those buyers who would benefit from such a facility.


Professional used car buyers need to be able to find the right stock quickly and efficiently, particularly as the volumes reaching the wholesale marketplace will inevitably rise in the future. Understanding those requirements and making sure dealers have access to all the available stock so that they can make informed buying choices is vital.

In short, it is all about being easy to do business with, however our customers choose to use us – in the physical or virtual world.

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Car Dealer has been covering the motor trade since 2008 as both a print and digital publication. In 2020 the title went fully digital and now provides daily motoring updates on this website for the car industry. A digital magazine is published once a month.



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