Dealers Drive Integration of Physical, Digital Sales

KAR Auction Services launched a new promotion integrating its dealer consignment offerings on the physical and digital fronts.

The integration – billed as “Highway to Sell” – is not just a response to the challenge of balancing digital and physical sales in the wholesale industry.

“Let’s start with this; it’s dealer-driven,” ADESA President John Hammer said during a phone interview from the NADA convention in Las Vegas. “I come from a dealership background and dealers want it as simple as possible. We looked at it from their perspective and we’re able to put all this together and do something unique for them.”

Hammer said KAR Auction Services, parent company of ADESA and TradeRev, have put products together to leverage the speed and efficiency of TradeRev’s 45-minute, life-bidding digital auctions, with the geographic convenience and full-service capabilities of ADESA’s 74 physical auctions.

With a combined 90,000 dealers and 75,0000 vehicles up for sale each day, there are a lot of options.

In a release announcing the new integration, Peter Kelly, president of KAR Global, agreed with Hammer that the company had dealers in mind when they put this together.

“Dealers don’t want to manage multiple apps, auctions and websites – they need a single solution that does it all,” Kelly said.

“For sellers, it’s about choice of venue and getting the most looks and best economic outcome for every vehicle.”

For buyers, the integration offers off-lease inventory that dealers won’t find on any other digital or online platform, Kelly said.

Hammer said there are three levels of seller options.

“We have a full-service option (called “Cruise Control), where the dealers just toss us the keys and we’ll take it from there,” Hammer said.

In this option, a KAR Global ground team will come inspect and photograph the dealer’s cars and launch them on TradeRev within 24 hours.

No-sales are sent to ADESA where they receive a full condition report and wash before being run through the lanes and broadcast on ADESA Simulcast. Any remaining cars are then listed on ADESA.com.

Under the “Cruise Control” option, dealers also receive free transportation to any ADESA facility within 75 miles, concierge customer support and TradeRev seller protection against arbitration or returns.

At the other end, the basic option (“Manual”), dealers can use TradeRev to inspect and launch cars and send no-sales to ADESA with the push of a button.

“The manual process in the TradeRev application (allows them) to do their own imaging and inspection of their car and launch it themselves,” Hammer said. “We’re perfectly fine with that.”

He said some dealers want to do it all and are a little more hands-on.

The mid-range option (“Automatic”) includes all the services of the “Cruise Control” option, without the free transportation, concierge support or seller protection.

“We just want to cater it to what the dealers’ needs are and whatever fits their situations,” Hammer said.

The bottom line is having both digital and physical options create a flow for dealers that they might not get in another place, Hammer said.

“Dealers say, ‘make it faster and easier for me’ all the time,” Hammer said.

“Dealers are also looking for new avenues to find vehicles, as well. So, the more we combine all this together, we make it easier for them to find inventory.”

Franchise dealers are “a little more comfortable with the digital products out of the gate than independents,” Hammer said.

“We find that franchise guys tend to sell more and independents tend to buy more.”

Since independents are more tied down to their stores, the ability to buy online frees them up to do other work, he said.

“On KAR’s ‘Highway to Sell,’ the dealer is in control – just take the on-ramp that works best for your business,” Hammer said. “You can stay in the driver’s seat and manage your own auctions, or just give us the keys, and we’ll take the wheel. No hassles. No worries. Just a straight line, one-way ticket to unloading your unwanted trades and aged inventory.”

He said putting the work to integrate these systems together started in the second half of 2019, which was a relatively quick process.

But it did require separate teams – TradeRev and ADESA – working together to pull this off at the new state-of-the-art headquarters in Carmel, Ind. It has helped the company recruit the best IT talent to make these projects better.

KAR Global’s new home also has a Silicon Valley vibe to it, bringing different work groups together where they may have previously been separated by floors or departments.

“We have gone to more cross-functional seating and I think that collaboration does help us think outside the box of our own departments and not siloed as much.

“It was very intentional and allows people to engage more.” Hammer said. “So, we do have more of a think-tank environment.”

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