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Technology and online selling is a fast-growing area of remarketing, and will be important when normality returns.

Digital remarketing of vehicles was already a rapidly accelerating area of the used-vehicle segment even before the current situation that is likely to only accelerate the use of technology. Major auction houses have developed a series of their own tools and technology to ensure buyers don’t have to be in the hall to grab the vehicle they want.

“Online channels continue to grow and the auction companies have effective digital channels,” explains Derren Martin, head of valuations at Cap HPI. “As technology continues to advance in everything from buyer apps to imaging systems, it’s clear that both buyers and vendors will benefit from being able to transact wherever and whenever they wish.”

Although most of the principles of preparing a car for an online sale are the same as a traditional one – including ensuring service history and paperwork are in order – there are a couple of areas where a small amount of extra attention is useful.

“While physical preparation is no different, you will need to detail and image all areas of wear and tear,” continues Martin. “You have to ensure that the vehicle has been over-described and is mechanically sound to try and ensure that you do not receive the vehicle back within the return period.”

The BCA Buyer app was launched at the beginning of last year, offering mobile access to in-auction bidding, with users able to search by make, model, auction centre, sale date and vendor. It can notify users when bidding starts on a vehicle, as well as access vehicle information, including reports, vehicle grades and pricing.

“The Buyer app helps to bring efficiencies to our buying process,” says Nathan Bailey, director at Trade Centre UK, speaking when the app was launched last year. “The new functionality that it brings allows us to focus on other work while we wait for bidding to start. We never miss the vehicles we require with the app “pinging” us to alert when the vehicle is coming up. It will also give my team the required minutes to be ready to bid by a countdown.”



  • 36% of all vehicles sold were auctioned through digital channels in January 2020
  • 23% year-on-year rise in digital trading in January
  • 20% year-on-year rise in the number of buyers purchasing through website or app
  • More than 50% of its buyer base has used the BCA Buyer app in first 12 months



There’s no way of yet knowing what is happening and will happen to car values over the next few months, but staying informed, flexible and ready to respond will be vital.

“In the short-term, it is clear that both used and new car sold volumes will reduce significantly,” says Cap HPI’s Derren Martin. “During this time, Cap HPI will be analysing retail and wholesale data as always, but not adjusting used values while there is insufficient data to reflect the market. No overall market adjustments will be made based on historical data or opinion; outliers and unrepresentative sample sizes will not be reflected.

“We have taken and are taking a pragmatic approach to used car values during the current crisis,” he continues. “We have a sophisticated internal system and a team of six used car editors, with no algorithms to form our trade values. The editors analyse data daily, and the database we use points them towards the changes that could be required, but no changes are made without an editor making the change.”



BCA’s COO UK Remarketing Stuart Pearson, gives his insight into the developing area of digital sales

Stuart-Pearson - MD - BCA UK Remarketing

Stuart Pearson – MD – BCA UK Remarketing

 1. Prioritise presentation

With increasing volumes of vehicles being sold digitally, presentation is also important for online buyers, in combination with high-quality imaging, accurate appraisals and realistic grading. Vendors are strongly advised to invest in preparation and value in line with market expectations to maximise the return on the vehicles they offer.


2. Profit potential

Professional buyers gravitate towards the most attractive and best-presented vehicles because they represent the best profit opportunity on the retail forecourt.


3. LCV’s also digitally on the up

The programme of online-only LCV auctions has gained significant traction, with branded sales providing buyers with even greater choice.


4. Appy days

The BCA Buyer app is proving a highly successful addition to the suite of remarketing tools, creating a digital journey to support buyers whether attending sales or joining remotely. It generates insight that helps BCA meet the needs of its buyer customers, creating additional buying power by ensuring that buyers never miss vehicles they are interested in.


5. Increased digital intelligence

With a significant expansion of BCA’s decision-intelligence capability, driving great efficiencies, insight and generating enhancements to the accuracy of BCA Valuations, and frequent updates to the BCA Buyer app, our customers have an ever-growing suite of digital tools at their fingertips.