5 Tips for Finding the Best Deals at Digital Auctions

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Whether you’re bidding online on ADESA Simulcast® or using TradeRev on your phone, you want to find the best deal. But what does that mean? Is the best deal always the lowest price? You can find low-priced vehicles all day long, but remember the saying, “You get what you pay for.”

Other factors can add value to a deal. Do you already have a Buyer looking for a very specific vehicle? Or are you looking to stock your lot with the kind of inventory that has sold quickly for you recently? 

By removing geographic restrictions, digital auctions allow you to find whatever you’re looking for, giving you the ability to choose the best deal for you. All it takes is a little preparation, so keep these five tips in mind.

Define what you value

Decide for yourself what you consider the best value for you. What are your parameters? Is it simply a low price? Low mileage? A certain mix of optional features? You wouldn’t walk into the championship game without a plan, so know specifically what you’re looking for and what your end goal is. Whether you write it down or just keep a mental list is up to you.

Do your research

Use trade resources like autoniq® to research prices and values for vehicles in your local market and your broader region. You may find that the type of vehicle you’re looking for is less expensive in another market—and with digital auctions, that other market is closer than you think.

Decide on your top price

When you’ve searched a run list for the vehicles that match your criteria, apply the parameters you set before. What price are you willing to pay for that vehicle? You may think nothing beats the energy of the lane, but how many times have you gotten caught up in the excitement of the competition and paid more than you meant to? 

Set a cap in advance so you don’t let emotions take over during bidding. Factor in how difficult it might be to find another vehicle like it—if you already have a Buyer lined up for that vehicle, you may not want to risk losing the vehicle if it will take time to find another. It’s easier to stick to your parameters when bidding digitally, especially if you use Proxy Bids on TradeRev and AutoBids on ADESA Simulcast and Simulcast+℠.

Leverage the broader inventory

One of the biggest advantages of digital auctions is your access to more inventory. You aren’t limited to your closest auction, city or even state. You can check out the inventory at multiple locations in a day, even every few hours, creating more opportunities to find your best deal in a shorter timeframe than ever before.

Factor in transportation

Transporting the vehicles you buy digitally to your lot is often more affordable than people think—especially given our integrations with CarsArrive in the U.S. and STRATIM in Canada. Plus, sometimes the vehicle you’re looking for is cheaper in another market than it is in your local market—enough to off-set the transportation costs. And if you’re looking for a very specific vehicle, it may be worth the cost of transporting it a longer distance. Are you willing to risk not being able to find it any closer?

If you haven’t tried buying vehicles digitally, give it a shot. You can stretch your net geographically to find the inventory you’re looking for, from anywhere at any time. Talk to your KAR Global Sales Executive—they can walk you through TradeRev and Simulcast, our upstream and downstream digital auction solutions. Then check out the run lists, set your parameters, and get started. You’ll be glad you did.


New to digital auctions? Whether you’re a Buyer or Seller, our Go Digital series can help take your dealership to the next level.

The opinions expressed in the Go Digital series are the opinions of the authors only and not those of KAR Global.

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