Increasingly, they are operating out of traditional hours and remotely to source stock digitally. What is clear is that overall consumer demand has increased as economic confidence has slowly returned.
The increase in the demand to increase used stock was noted recently by leading wholesale funding software services experts Sword Apak, whose sales director James Powell noted: ‘Across our wholesale stock funding partners, there is clearly a dealer desire to increase stock levels.
‘In the used-car sector, dealer demand has been more than matched by market supply – the result is that values have dipped slightly. Dealers armed with funding are in a strong position to get the stock they want.’
With the right stock funding, dealers can source stock and, just like consumers, many are choosing to buy this digitally and at times that suit them.
The impact of the digital customer is becoming pervasive, disrupting the traditional car-buying experience and the competitive landscape. Around 90 per cent of consumers start their car search online with a peak browsing period of 8pm to 10pm. Tablets and smartphones are key drivers off this activity. Now, trade buyers are adopting the same route.
Many of NextGear Capital’s auction partners are seeing this switch in activity with CD Auctions recently reporting that within its online activity, almost 40 per cent of initial bids on vehicles take place after 5pm and before 8am the next morning. Its new website has been designed to reflect the importance of accommodating the move to digital buying alongside traditional remarketing.
Most auctions now provide a combination of remote access to live auctions and opportunities to buy stock direct. The latter is often available 24/7 and represents a platform that suits dealers who want to buy stock when and where it suits them. Reviewing activity over the past six weeks via its new StockMaster platform, which supports remote stock funding 24/7, NextGear Capital can clearly see the belief that buyers would use the facility ‘out of hours’ has been borne out.
NextGear Capital’s sales director Nigel Warrington said: ‘Feedback from our customers has been that StockMaster is a helpful tool for them to use and they value its capacity to help them to add their stock and manage their stock funding out of hours. They report that it is helping them to increase their productivity and most are accessing the tools available via either their smartphone of tablet. Certainly, some use this at auction but it is very common for them to use it to support remote buying.
‘Dealers want exactly what consumers want – flexibility.’
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