Auto Auctions Enter the Digital Age

Auto Auctions Enter the Digital Age
ADESA uses VirtuaLane at its Vancouver auction. (Photo: ADESA)

ADESA is redefining auctions, prioritizing a safer environment for all.

More businesses are using digital interfaces to expand their consumer base and distribute their products and services than ever before. And the automotive industry is no exception. With the ability to purchase a vehicle online with interactive videos, the industry is now delivering new experiences in unique ways.

This revolution is seen with the recent launch of ADESA’s VirtuaLane auctions, a live in-lane auction experience that uses a digital platform to create a safe, virtual marketplace for customers at physical locations in North America. Currently, 20 such locations use this technology, including Montreal, Toronto, and Vancouver.

“At ADESA, we continue to invest in creating a more seamless, efficient customer experience with safety as a priority,” says John Hammer, President of ADESA.

In lane vs. online

The bidding process for VirtuaLane is the same as in a traditional in-lane auction; however, the cars are not physically present during the auction and are, instead, showcased on big monitors. Customers may view the vehicles in person at the ADESA location before the bidding begins, and as with traditional auctions, they have access to detailed condition reports, photos, valuation tools and transportation for purchased vehicles.

Peter Snoyer, Executive Sales Director at ADESA, adds: “Some people are physically at the auction, while others are watching and bidding online. On average, 45% of the vehicles bought at auction are bought by someone online. Of the 55% that are bought by in-lane buyers, 80% of those vehicles have an online bidder or back bidder. When you do the math, online bidders are actually impacting close to 80% of the business. So we’re at the point now where if our system goes down, the sale stops. We wait ‘til it goes back up because it greatly impacts the resale value of vehicles when you lose that kind of audience.”

Safety First

The business case for online auctions is strong, which means we will see more cars offered online to buyers before they’re sent to a physical auction. While online auctions are less expensive than physical auctions, the main reason for this trend is safety. Quite simply, an online vehicle can’t harm or kill a bidder if it gets out of control.

That’s why ADESA, the Automobile Auction Association (AAA), and all interested auction companies created an initiative to deliver a safer environment. “We wanted to ensure customers are getting the full physical auction experience while substantially reducing the risk of potential accidents associated with cars driving through the auction lanes,” says Mike Caggiano, Eastern Region Executive Vice President, ADESA.

Quicker sales

The buyers’ response to their experience is promising, with most stating that they felt it was a more efficient way to conduct auctions, as vehicles sold quicker, and more vehicles were run and seen.

“Every day we strive to meet our customers’ evolving needs and integrate the latest technological advancements in the industry to meet their expectations,” says Trevor Henderson, ADESA Canada’s Chief Operating Officer. “This collaboration with some of our key customers delivers better technology and an improved, safer auction experience.”

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