17 nov 22

“The future of remarketing is already here”

Remarketing can feel like a circus act: there’s so many balls to keep in the air. Following electrification and distribution, the last but certainly not the least main segment of the Remarketing Forum was dedicated to digitalization. 

Jon Bulloch (Global Director at Indicata) opened the segment with a talk on current pricing dynamics in the EU market – with the digital paradigm not just a tool for reporting on but also creating those dynamics. 

Bursting bubbles

Mr Bulloch had two questions: despite the lack of demand, why do prices remain firm? And, is the BEV bubble about to burst? Another graph that brought out the smartphones: the evolution of EU consumer confidence. Or rather, crash. The graph looked like a ski slope of Olympic proportions. 

“Consumer confidence is lower than during Covid, and at its lowest ebb in at least 25 years. Yet used-car values are 20% to 30% above where they were two years ago”, said Mr Bulloch. However, stock levels have been rising, notably for BEVs. So expect used BEV prices to come down. 

But they have a long way to go before they are anywhere near used ICE prices. Most used EVs are priced above €30,000, most used ICEs below. So, consumers with smaller budgets to spend will be forced into used ICEs, even if they’d otherwise consider going electric. 

Odd one out

Next up was Geert Martens. Not being a remarketing professional per se, the Director Experience Transformation at Ngage Consulting was the odd one among the presenters, and so was his message. 

While the remarketing industry – like other industries – is still grappling with digital in all its aspects, he urged the Forum to look beyond to the next paradigm: phygital. 

Yes, a combination of physical and digital, “but it goes way beyond combining your online presence with your point of sales. It’s like mixing yellow and blue. What you get is green, a different colour. Phygital – think virtual showroom – is a way to boost consumer trust in the used-car experience. It will be the new normal.”

For those unconvinced by the next shiny new thing on the innovation horizon, Mr Martens sketched his own customer journey. “I was a happy customer of FNAC, where I bought all my music on CDs. Until I discovered iTunes, and switched from one day to the next. And that lasted until I discovered Spotify.”

“So, mark my words: ‘phygital’ is something the customers will expect. I recently bought the most expensive car I ever had in a virtual showroom. My advice: go get some VR goggles and try it.”

Online research

The penultimate presentation was for Radu Nicodim (Managing Director of MyWayPro, pictured). He showed two pictures ten years apart, of people standing around cars in a showroom. “It looks like nothing much has changed, but a lot of things actually have”, he said. 

For example: 79% of clients now start their customer journey on the internet, spending an average of 9.4 hours of research online – but 83% still prefer an in-person purchase.

For sellers too, things have changed: targeted digital marketing is king, and the focus is shifting from just selling cars to capturing their entire lifecycle, and to cross-selling.

Key to all this is data, and MyWayPro is leveraging that asset both in sourcing and selling vehicles, down to granular, local level, “even in an already small country like Belgium.”

Models that are understocked at country level are imported, and vice versa, models that are overstocked go abroad. Customer profiles are carefully targeted, from ‘thrill seekers’ to ‘family moms’ – each is presented with a different version of the website. 

Asset management

The objective is to hit the pricing sweet spot. “The bad news is that there is no one size fits all. But the good news is that it can be calculated”, Mr Nicodim concluded. 

Brian Madsen (Director International at Cars2Click and Cars2View) gave the final, extracurricular presentation of the day. The question he proposed to answer: “Is Asset Management the gamechanger in remarketing?”

Digitisation allows for previously impossible fine-tuning of vehicle trading, which then ticks over into – indeed – asset management. 

“Artificial Intelligence and data can be as good as we are willing to make them, and we can use them to increase RVs by as much as 4%, which of course adds up to a massive amount of money,” he said. 

But it also works the other way. “AI can alert you to opportunities, but also alert you to threats. No matter how well you do your job, there will still be 5% to 10% of business that goes wrong. With AI, you can prevent this.”

Mr Madsen concluded: “Why do we think this is the future when it’s already here?”

As mentioned, this was the biggest and best edition of the Remarketing Forum… yet. The 9th edition, at next year’s Fleet Europe Summit, may be even bigger and better – but why don’t you find that out for yourself in 2023? 

Click here for more on the first segment of the Remarketing Forum about Electrification.

Click here for more on the second segment of the Remarketing Forum about Distribution.

The Remarketing Forum concluded with a gala dinner and the Remarketing Awards - more here.

Image: Benjamin Brolet

Authored by: Frank Jacobs