Despite everyone talking about it, claiming to do it, and hiring for it, data science isn’t always easily understood or effectively applied. People tend to think of fancy graphs and dashboards or artificial intelligence and self-driving cars, and find it difficult to understand the tangible applications of data in the world around us.
At KAR Global, we have an entire business unit dedicated to data science, including our data science hub in Chicago. For us, #Data is more than just a buzzword; it’s truly transforming how KAR subsidiaries do business and is driving new solutions for our customers. Our Optimization Tool for Sales (OTS) built for our team of Inventory Consultants is a prime example of the powerful possibilities uncovered when data meets enablement.
More than 60 Inventory Consultants work out of KAR’s Mesa, Arizona office – each responsible for roughly 1,000 dealers. Their goal is to provide exceptional customer experiences and help their dealers find the best ADESA vehicles for their lot in real-time.
Dealers face endless challenges. Often wearing multiple hats while trying to balance retail sales and inventory acquisition. Finding the right inventory can take a lot of time when they only have minutes to spare. As a result, dealers frequently miss perfect cars for their lots. Sometimes weeks go by without a proactive purchase, only to then buy a truckload.
OTS helps solve these challenges by giving our Inventory Consultants the tools they need to provide a smarter and more informed customer service experience – ultimately helping dealers succeed.
OTS is a fully in-house customer sales enablement platform that leverages an exclusive data science model that matches current ADESA inventory to the unique needs of a particular dealer. The model leverages hundreds of vehicle inventory data points derived from partnered sources and combines them with what we know about the dealer, including past purchase history, dealer lot information and market trends. The result? A tailored, real-time ranking – or Intelligent Run List – of vehicles available for purchase.
The model is smart – using artificial intelligence, it gives our Inventory Consultants real-time, actionable information and guidance enabling more informed and personalized conversations with every dealer. The system produces badges to quickly indicate why a vehicle is a top pick, whether it’s a great value, under-supplied in the market, low in lot supply, or typically moves fast from the dealer’s lot. With the click of a button, customized emails with recommendations that link to ADESA.com can be sent to dealers.
These badges quickly and intuitively summarize otherwise complex data. This simple, visual representation of the data arms our Inventory Consultants with reliable and easy to understand information which provides additional confidence to dealers when purchasing vehicles.
OTS recommendations empower our Inventory Consultants to have purposeful conversations with dealers about what works well for their lot. When equipped with OTS data, representatives act as true partners to dealers. See an example recommendation below.
Over the past two years, since launching OTS and our new sales strategy, we have increased Inventory Consultant activity levels, maintained 40% recommendation email open rates (far above industry standards), and contributed to record upstream purchase volumes.
These metrics are strong indicators that dealers continue to find value in OTS recommendation emails. Inventory Consultants often see dealers purchase the exact car that was recommended to them.
OTS data helps our consultants become experts allowing them to engage in true strategic discussions with dealers. The most exciting part? As more data is entered in the system, the tool will only continue to improve, allowing our Inventory Consultants to provide even more value to our dealers.
Further, in the first month of this year, our Inventory Consultants sent tens of thousands of OTS powered emails. When this fact is coupled with the engagement we see from buyers, the full potential for opportunity when data meets enablement comes into focus.