Remarketing Award – Aston Barclay
The series of challenges faced by the used car sector have opened up an opportunity for auction group Aston Barclay in the past 18 months, and it has proven itself flexible and inventive in addressing new ways of working with customers.
The Company Car Today Innovation Award judges were impressed with a number of things Aston Barclay has brought to market, around the data offering to customers and agile shifts in the way it supports buyers and sellers.
Managing director Martin Potter says that a new focus on data and insight was perfectly timed, arriving just ahead of a market that has been increasingly difficult to judge, and one where both buyers and sellers are looking for weekly or even daily updates as to sector performance.
“All the data is there and it was making sure that we had a tool that gave a good indication of what was hot and what wasn’t,” Potter explains. “Initially, it was based on helping our buyers have a great understanding, but as soon as we launched, it was well received by vendor customers, who were saying they wanted to use it to react to market conditions, pricing cars and setting reserves.
“With the market changing quite so dramatically, it’s gone from month-on-month to week-on-week analysis to even day-on-day, so the need for data has become much more important,” he continues, adding that the market insight came into its own at a time where some other data sources weren’t able to react quickly enough to the fast pace of change.
With the impact of the pandemic hitting the country so swiftly, Potter says Aston Barclay’s ability to react quickly like a speedboat rather than an oil tanker, combined with continued investment in IT since 2016, helped. It also required a more individual approach than previous times. Aston Barclay claims to be the first company to offer a mobile bidding app when the Buyers App launched in 2017, and it has since received more than 20 updates and been downloaded more than 13,500 times. The app is now responsible for more than 28% of online purchases with Aston Barclay, and updates have allowed sellers to sell vehicles remotely and message auctioneers during a sale.
“We’ve had to develop bespoke remarketing strategies for each of our customers because it is a very omni-channel approach, depending on the sector, the age and mileage of the vehicle and the prospective audience,” says Potter. “It means that we’re offering a much wider remarketing opportunity; whereas before you would have a one- or two-dimension strategy for a particular vendor, now you have four or five dimensions because we can now remarket online without necessarily even touching the vehicle.”
Launched in 2019, the Aston Barclay platform combines its e-Valuate, e-Hub, e-Xchange and e-Live products into an “end-to-end used vehicle proposition” running from initial vehicle appraisal right through to physical delivery to the buyer.
But physical auctions have also resumed and continued, especially around older cars where buyers prefer to check the condition for themselves. “It’s about being a lot more bespoke and putting the right vehicle into the right marketplace to get the maximum return at speed,” explains Potter.
“We’ve changed the remarketing strategy to assist customers achieve their own improved strategies, and I’m really pleased that our technology has enabled us to react quickly and helped our customers achieve that.”
Looking to the future, the company is investigating artificial intelligence as a way of helping further speed the vehicle assessment process and understand vehicle condition, having already reduced days-to-sell into single figures.