Helping Dealers Find the Right Cars — a Reimagined Online Experience
The automotive remarketing industry has witnessed a seismic shift in recent years regarding the way independent and franchise dealers purchase used vehicles. Instead of traveling to their nearest auction, buyers can now Find (search), Appraise and Buy vehicles from their desktop computers or smart phones – from anywhere in the world.
In 2013, about one-third of ADESA’s used vehicle sales were digital. That number rose to 54% in 2018, indicating a clear trend toward online buying.
At ADESA, we’re at the forefront of driving these changes and are always looking to refine our capabilities to improve our customers’ overall efficiency and profitability. With that in mind, I challenged my team last year to identify several key areas where we could transform the buyer journey. The challenge: provide our customers with a completely reimagined online experience.
We looked at every step of the buyer journey, found where customers spent most of their time and made transformational enhancements to our online user experience. This user audit highlighted several high-touch areas that became our initial focus. Among other steps in the journey, we focused on providing responsive user experience across the primary steps in the process – Search, Watch List, Vehicle Details Page and Recommendations. I’ll share more on some of these concepts in future posts.
Several months after my challenge, I’m pleased to announce we’ve delivered a leading natural language search capability that leverages the best cloud-based technology and user-centric design concepts in the digital marketplace.
We’ve significantly improved the way dealers Find vehicles. Instead of a filter-based search for each desired vehicle, customers can now type a few words into the search bar to gain the same results – but an order of magnitude faster. Entering the search criteria via natural language is more efficient and creates a dramatically improved user experience.
For example, car buyers can search for a particular make and model—down to the specific year, color and mileage—and the available vehicles matching that criteria will return in just seconds. This was accomplished by using similar algorithms as some of Silicon Valley’s tech giants. ADESA’s new search engine aggregates billions of data points from across the KAR Auction Services’ enterprise to deliver out-of-the-box and personalized solutions for customers.
Another exciting feature of the reimagined user journey is the new technology that allows ADESA to provide specific vehicle purchase Recommendations. Using data science, we also analyze the local market the dealer operates within and make vehicle recommendations that are specific to individual dealers. The dealer can see why the recommendation was made by our machine learning systems through the clever use of badges that accompany each vehicle recommended. The badges clearly explain the value opportunity we’ve found for the dealer. There are several badges, including: low lot supply, good value, fast mover, etc.
And, finally, to completely modernize the online journey for dealers, the new software has a responsive design layout, which means the website renders well on any device: desktop, laptop or smart phone.
These new technologies will completely change how dealers Find, Appraise and Buy cars online – now and in the future.
In this post, I’ve shared how we’ve simplified some of the user journey, so customers can find cars faster and more effectively. They’ll spend less time searching for cars and more time with their customers. I look forward to sharing more of our reimagined online experience in the coming weeks and months.