FullForecast news! Most recent developments

We invest heavily in the development of our products.  In this Sprint, we’ve turned our attention to FullForecast; a solution that provides users with real-time access to a dealer’s performance with access to both financial and operational data.  Now when describing effective users of FullForecast, I tell people that they use the information to respond to shortfalls in revenue and manage increase in costs.  Never has this been as relevant as it is today!  I’m pleased to announce that the most recent development will help make this even easier.

The latest release includes a custom “KPI report” providing a different view of the P&L and/or balance sheet at a dealer and group level.  The detail and calculations can be defined line by line to meet your requirements.  We can even accommodate composite calcs if you post STATS journals to CDK.

This report is the foundation for upcoming development, which will see these department drivers represented visually making it quick and easy to discern trends.

The next phase of development will focus on department exceptions and ways in which you can improve performance by doing more of the good stuff and taking action much sooner on the bad stuff.

What does this mean?

No longer will we be a passive commentator on your business but highlighting the Act now points in sales, aftersales, working capital.  Giving people from the bottom up, top down actionable data to drive performance and profitability.


Getting the best price under the online hammer

When it comes to selling on an online auction site, there are a few things sellers can do to give their vehicles the edge.  One thing is for sure, honesty is the best policy when it comes to listing vehicles. Buyers won’t necessarily be put off by the odd scratch or dent, but if you hide it, they’ll rightly wonder what else you aren’t telling them.

An accurate listing and description of a vehicle is the most important thing to remember. Sellers should also make sure they have a complete service history, V5 and MOT certificate. This enables retailers to know what they are buying and have confidence in the seller and the condition of the car they are bidding on. A car that’s described honestly will maximise bidding opportunities and encourage more sales. Include a full description, such as colour and condition, but don’t forget to highlight benefits such as a low mileage or any attractive interior features.

On top of an accurate description, good presentation is key in attracting a good level of buyer interest. Spend a little extra and get a proper valet service to spruce up the vehicle. Vehicles that are well prepared will retail quickly, improving stock turn and cash flow.

Photography is essential to enhance the description. Wash the vehicle before taking pictures and get shots of the interior and exterior, plus a photo of the service book. Use the best pictures first, using a full shot of the vehicle as the cover image.

Another trick of the trade is to set a realistic reserve price. Remember, this is only disclosed to buyers once the auction has finished, however, by starting at a low price, sellers can attract early bidders and watchers.

FullAuction is our trade-only vehicle auction site and makes selling easy and more profitable. Many of the key steps for getting a good price are included in FullAuction, helping retailers sell their stock for more. In addition, the service attracts hundreds of validated buyers, with a quick and easy listing process, making it easier to sell and deliver vehicles for a more positive auction experience.



Are your customers doing their shopping on a test drive?

The test drive process is a vital element of the customer purchase journey and substantially increases the chance of securing a sale. Well, that’s the perceived wisdom among dealers, at least. The idea is that once a customer is behind the wheel, the benefits of the vehicle speak for themselves, especially when it comes to considering an upgrade.

We conducted a survey of 200 used car buyers and the results show just how important extended and unaccompanied test drives are. In fact, 49% of respondents said they would feel more positively about a dealer if they were offered an extended or unaccompanied test drive and would welcome the opportunity to make a more informed purchase decision.

Whilst 43% said they would use the opportunity to show the car to friends and family to gauge their opinion, the vast majority (89%) admitted that a positive response would likely swing a sale. A further 15% would take it to show off to colleagues at work, for that all important second opinion, with more men (18%) than women (13%) saying they would do this. Nearly a third (32%) said an extended test drive would increase the chances of them ‘falling in love’ with the car they were test driving and 20% said it would increase the probability of them buying that make and model of vehicle.

Women (25%) are more likely to do day-to-day errands in an unaccompanied test drive car, compared to 23% of men. However, it’s clear that both genders like to test a car to make sure it fits their lifestyle, whether it’s doing the supermarket shop, packing for a trip or fitting in the golf clubs and yoga mat.

When it comes to testing the driving of the vehicle itself, overall performance was rated the most important factor, closely followed by visibility and ease of parking. Whilst 42% of men tested a car for motorway driving, women were more likely (38%) to make sure there’s enough space in the boot.

That time alone in a car allows potential buyers to test a car for comfort, equipment and handling, as well as lifestyle features, such as space and in-car gadgets. It also takes the pressure off customers, without the salesperson accompanying them. However, our survey suggests that some customers may be tempted to take liberties with a test drive, when it comes to speeding or driving on a motorway. Dealers need to consider both quality short term insurance cover, in the event of an incident, as well as the tracking of traffic offences or charges, enabling them to offer unaccompanied test drives with confidence. Crucially, this means dealers can enhance the customer experience and boost their bottom line, by making the most of new sales opportunities.

World Cup Semi Final Fever

Coopers World Cup Sweepstake (update from our resident wordsmith Keith)
World Cup fever is upon us again, everyone excited to see who’ll remain.
Pressures are mounting as temperatures run high, those ‘VAR’ decisions making us sigh.
Who will prevail and whose dreams will they dash?
For us, it’s Barry v Simon and Sacha v Ash.
Three Lions on our chest and the World in motion, who would believe this improbable notion.
It’s hot as hell like ’76 but we’re now dreaming more like ’66!

Tech savvy dealerships are a hit with customers looking for a seamless experience

From touchscreen TVs and tablets to smart fridges and home assistants, smartphone technology has become ubiquitous. In fact, today’s consumers expect to have the same kind of technology at their fingertips as part of their buying experience. In our recent survey, 46% of consumers said that dealers who use the same smart technology that they have at home offer a more ‘positive customer experience’.

Over half (56%) of those surveyed believe that dealers who use smart technology offer a more ‘efficient’ car buying process, whilst 73% said that those dealers who don’t use technology for the benefit of the customer are not being as ‘professional’ as they could be. So if you’re one of the dealers who do embrace the latest innovations available today, you are benefitting from a perceived higher degree of professionalism, giving you that much needed competitive edge.

The ‘swapper’ – the customer who part exchanges their car – has particular expectations when it comes getting a vehicle valuation. Over a third (33%) of consumers surveyed revealed they would be more ‘confident’ if a dealer provided an electronic valuation; 67% of all those surveyed believed a more traditional type of valuation wouldn’t be as accurate.

Our research shows that as many as 68% of car buyers believe that dealers who are not using smart technology in the showroom are not being as transparent about the sales and services they offer as they could be. Those dealers who take a ‘Wizard of Oz’ approach to appraisals – disappearing behind closed doors to produce a quote – seriously underestimate the impression this leaves with the customer. One properly appraised vehicle will return the cost of an iPad, and offer greater reassurance to the buyer that they are getting the best market price for their part exchange, plus it could engender a greater level of trust.

Today’s tech savvy car buyers expect a seamless experience, from initial research using a dealer website through to the visit to the showroom itself. As our research demonstrates, those dealerships utilising the latest smart technology such as tablets, TVs and smartphones to assist with the customer journey, are one very large step ahead of the competition.

Keep more of the profits yourself

Just moving from physical to an online auction platform could more than double trade sales profits

Looking at over 71,000 car sales, our research confirms that physical auction fees are usually bigger than the profits that selling retailers make. That ratio simply isn’t good for business for today’s retailer.

Retailers using physical auctions are usually happy as the results are better than they were used to getting when dealing with local traders, and the transaction is transparent and secure.

What they don’t realise is the stark difference in transaction costs between the physical and online auction route, and this will always reflect in the profits made. Given their business model, the physical auction houses need a high transaction cost to pay for their overheads. With lower buyers fees, sellers tend to see bigger profits as buyers have ‘more in the pot’ to bid with.

FullAuction has sold over 69,000 franchised retailers’ trade cars since it was launched – savvy retailers already use the platform as part of their core disposal strategy.

How do our buyers benefit from using FullAuction?

In a comparative analysis of transaction costs between traditional and online auctions, the fundamental difference is that physical auction charge buyers a considerable fee, around two-thirds of the total transaction cost.

Selling dealers pay the remaining third, but will often be offered a volume rebate to bring this down below £100 per unit. It’s the buyer’s costs that stand out and which will directly influence the price paid.

A regular buyer will pay over £200 for a car worth £3000 and £250 for cars over £5000. Volume brands achieve average selling prices around £3000 per unit for trade cars, prestige cars up to double that. All dealer stock is therefore expensive to buy at auction and there is every probability the buyer will pay more in fees than the selling dealer will achieve in profit.

Matthew Hall of MSH Ltd, one of our 5294 registered buyers, says “I am more likely to buy from FullAuction than from its competitors because it allows me to cap my budget when bidding so I can avoid eroding my margins. Unlike other users who may be retailers with a large forecourt holding lots of stock, I have a quick turnaround and therefore my margin is much tighter”.

The online model works, buyers like it, they can bid on the move and do so with confidence.

Avoid overspending on unneccesary costs at auction

We launched FullAuction, our online trade remarketing platform, in 2011 and since then Cooper Solutions has grown successfully across many areas of our business. We’ve seen:

• Total annual revenue rise by 133%
• Employees nearly double to 32
• Annually subscribing franchised dealers up from 1247 to over 2000
• Dealer demo and loan cars insured on a daily basis up to over 9000 per day

An excellent record of success achieved through great people working together to develop, market and support software solutions that help retailers’ processes, performance and profitability.

Interesting then to note that during that time FullAuction hasn’t enjoyed the remarkable success we’ve come to expect.

Almost 75000 cars have been sold at an average profit of £159 per car; more than 2000 buyers have registered with us, of which more than 1700 purchased a vehicle in the last 12 months.

However, these numbers are slight compared to those seen by physical auction houses which remain the remarketing channel of choice, despite typically making more than the selling dealer from the transaction because of the high buyers’ fees they charge.

Given the declining profitability of sales departments and dealers in general, isn’t it time to ring the changes with a shift to online auction – it adds as much value, but with a far lower overhead.

Across all our solutions nothing can make a retailer more incremental revenue than FullAuction.

How can your dealership avoid getting stuck with over-age stock?

It’s a question dealers are faced with every day. Good retailers, whatever their industry, know that efficient stock control is crucial to success and profit. In the automotive industry especially, there are so many factors that can have an adverse effect on profit potential where stock that isn’t being actively managed is harder to sell and worth less.

There are four steps to ensuring the right margin is achieved:
Appraise and buy well;
Prep fast;
Price competitively;
Maximise sales opportunities

We can help you move through these steps quickly allowing you to achieve consistent profitability with your retail car sales.
Want to find out how you can increase your stock turn, volume and retail profitability?  Call us or email us to ask how FullControl can work for you.