Over the past few weeks, we have seen winter storms pound North America with snow, ice, wind and even tornadoes in some areas. Locations that rarely see an inch of snow annually suddenly ground to a halt as their regions were frozen in place. The power outages in Texas and other areas shut down businesses and put many Americans in dire situations.
Historically for our industry, these kinds of winter storms have created significant safety challenges, as well as logistical challenges—freezing operations and sales at our auctions. At ADESA, our teams have had to continuously plow our lots, clear snow and ice from the cars so they could be staged for previews, and on sale days we have also needed staff onsite to drive the cars down the lanes. Our buying dealers would have to brave icy roads and snowfall to make it onsite in order to bid. If our staff couldn’t get safely onsite, the sale didn’t happen, and thousands of used car inventory would go unsold that week, causing business disruption to our commercial and dealer customers.
When we make decisions about our operations, we make them with two broad goals in mind—ensuring our customers are able to conduct business in our marketplaces without disruption, and doing it safely for our customers and team members. And with the pandemic still lingering, we continue to practice social distancing and related enhanced public health recommended measures while following government directives and restrictions on safe and secure operations.
Launching sales 100% remotely through Simulcast+
We’ve invested hundreds of millions of dollars over the past several years in new technologies. This solid foundation has enabled us to quickly scale up and broadly launch our Simulcast+ platform far ahead of schedule during the pandemic last year. With Simulcast+, sales are 100% digital and can be launched 100% remotely, with inventory at any location, or even from multiple locations. That means even when the roads are closed, our people are snowed in and the power is out, the sale can still go on—even with no one onsite. Dealers can keep their business moving, even when the rest of the world is frozen in place.
Last week, while many of our competitors were forced to shut down or scale back operations, ADESA was able to launch and run six Simulcast+ sales, selling to buyers in 33 states. With the technology advancements we’ve made at KAR Global, we were able to do this through a remote buyer engagement team and a remote auctions operation team.
What were the results? We saw hundreds of attendees join each sale with strong conversion—some consigners as high as 80% –100%. Our buyers and sellers were happy with the results—all without coming in or delaying the sale for a week.
As we look into the future, this technology allows us to create more visibility and transparency for our sellers by offering cars from multiple venues (at dealer lots, marshaling yards, auctions, rental car lots, repo yards, etc.) and make them available across the globe to the right audience for the right inventory at the right time.
This industry-leading technology gives us the best of both worlds—keeping sales moving and everyone involved safe.