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Digital Tools for Acquiring Used Inventory

Judges gavel, sounding block and car key on light wooden background with copy space. Car auction, legal trial of traffic accident, traffic law and justice concept.

For decades, car auctions have remained largely unchanged. Rental car companies, captive lenders, car dealers, and commercial fleets have taken their vehicles to an auction where they would be reconditioned, inspected, and then bid upon. However, over the past few years, big changes have been shaking up the world of car auctions as we know it. Like most else these days, car auctions have gone digital.

Why Bid Online?

When physical auctions have always worked for your dealership, it can be tough to find reasons to make the switch to digital. The most compelling reason to move into the digital auction zone is the ability to expand your margins on used vehicles. Sending team members out to physical auctions that are sometimes miles from your home base can be a huge waste of time and money if you don’t come away with enough high-quality vehicles. However, when you have a team, or even one employee, dedicated to scouring online auctions every day, you’ll end up with a more robust selection of used cars that took less time to find, resulting in a higher profit margin.

In the same vein, when you participate in online auctions, you’ll have the ability to target specific vehicles that you’d like to have on the lot. Rather than only being able to purchase what is at the physical auction on the day you attend, you can scan auctions around the country through online auction tools to find the specific make and model you’re looking to stock.

What Tools Should You Use?

The online acquisition tools you use will largely depend on your needs and budget. In addition to smaller, more local tools, you’ll also want to consider nation-wide auction sites such as Manheim Express and TradeRev.

Manheim Express

With Manheim Express, you’ll get instant access to an expansive, real-time market that’s tailored to your wholesale buying strategies. Manheim’s platform will show you vehicles based on your previous buys. Better yet, the platform only pulls currently available vehicles. You’ll be able to see high-quality, 360o images and a full report on every vehicle.


On TradeRev you’ll be able to participate in live, 45-minute, real-time auctions. The tool offers a built-in research tool and dashboard that gives you quick, important stats about your wholesale business. TradeRev is easy to use with an intuitive platform that your team can quickly pick up and run with.

Full-Service Solutions

Used car acquisition is just one part of a successful sales strategy. Once you have the inventory, you have to know how to market it. Tactics range from digital marketing to traditional media. The important thing is targeting the right customer.

For more dealership tips like this, subscribe to the Next Day Traffic blog.

John Paul Strong

John Paul Strong combines his two decades of automotive marketing experience with a team of more than 150 professionals as owner and CEO of Strong Automotive.

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