By Jon Mitchell, general manager, Autorola UK
An estimated 15% of all used vehicles were sold online five years ago but, with the impact of the recession putting further pressure on a used car dealer’s time and profitability, online purchases are forecast to double by the end of 2012.
Dealers are one of the fleet market’s largest used car customers as they source stock for their forecourts.
They have found buying online has become much more acceptable due to the increased provenance provided by quality photos and detailed vehicle information, both of which provide peace of mind to buyers.
Further confidence comes from more online remarketing companies withholding payment from the vendor in a secure escrow bank account until the buyer is happy with the vehicle.
The pressures on a used car buyer’s time means avoiding spending hours on the road visiting one physical auction per day.
Online remarketing channels allow a buyer to bid on vehicles from a variety of physical and online auctions in a variety of geographical locations from their PC without ever having to leave their office, saving the dealer both time and money.
More fleet vendors are now recognising the change in buyer habits by offering a greater number of used cars to online buyers, while reducing the number going through physical channels.
Their focus has to be on optimising sale prices and reducing stocking days, something that online has proved it can do.
The costs of selling used cars online compared to physical auction are working out cheaper on buyer and seller fees and are more environmentally friendly as each transaction only incurs a transportation cost once when it has been purchased.
This reduces costs in reduced delivery road miles, fuel used and emissions generated.
In today’s IT-led economy, the online remarketing channel is going from strength to strength and now provides a viable accompaniment to or replacement for the physical channel.