Physical Attraction; The appeal of the physical auction

There has been a lot of focus recently on the growth of digital platforms, and the convenience they offer car dealers who prefer to buy stock from the comfort of their own forecourt. But is this online efficiency really what the industry wants and needs? As we're a remarketing agency who gives equal standing to both types of auctions, Alex Miles CAE AMIMI, buyer services manager at G3 Remarketing, recently offered his thoughts on the appeal of the physical auction to The IMI…


Car dealers are passionate about what they sell. Being around vehicles and seeing, touching and hearing them is a vital part of the workday experience. So, new statistics from G3 suggesting that dealers still prefer purchasing stock from auctions in person – despite an increasing number of digital alternatives – are no surprise.


These findings reveal that physical auctions still hold the appeal that they always have – and predict that traders will still want to be there to buy in person through 2018 and beyond. 80% of straw poll respondents said they preferred attending physical, in-house sales to source vehicles for their forecourt, regardless of other options available.


This makes sense. The drive to digital has been relentless – and with valid reason. But perhaps digital saturation point is close, or has it even been reached?


And our statistics support this theory. They show that despite omnivorous usage of online platforms in car remarketing, dealers do still like to get out and see the stock they will be bidding on, in its tangible, physical form.


Let us be clear – we do need digital options. Sometimes dealers are too busy dealing to spend an hour or two perusing motors for sale. Bidding via an app or online is a quick and convenient alternative to the real thing. The meticulousness of the information presented, plus assurances on quality, means this method is wholly reliable.


But for many, buying only via an app would not live up to the joy of the auction hall – not to mention the chance to talk to knowledgeable staff, see car documentation, network and keep an eye on competitor behaviour. This can be linked with a growing societal compulsion to look up from our screens and engage with what’s around us. There is also the simple fact that not everyone is nimble with a smartphone or tablet – or enjoys using such devices constantly.


For these reasons and more, the auction hall is sure to remain popular for a long time to come – especially as new car sales continue to decline. Latest Society of Motor Manufacturer and Traders (SMMT) figures showed a fall for the tenth consecutive month in January, suggesting that more buyers may be looking to the used market.


Choice in how to fill a forecourt with tempting possibilities therefore seems to be key, rather than the commercial triumph of one way to buy stock over another. G3 holds up to 14 online and physical auctions each month, enabling dealers to pick the option that best suits them for each sale.


At a time of great potential for our industry, we have more freedom than ever in how we do business – and that’s something to celebrate.


This article featured in the recent edition of The IMI an extract of which can be seen below:

Alex Miles in The IMI 



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