Barloworld Motor has boosted its trade business margins and streamlined the management of its dealer base with the launch of a used car trading portal developed by web development company Cambrient.
Tradersonline is an online auction site for business-to-business transactions between Barloworld Motor, including Zeda Car Sales, a division of Avis Rent a Car, and Avis Fleet Service's Car Mall and other businesses that trade in motor vehicles.
"The e-commerce system has enabled us to communicate with more than 70 used car operations simultaneously for the first time," says Grant Rowe, operations director, group pre-owned cars, at Barloworld. "We dispose of all our trade stock through this portal, amounting to thousands of cars per month. The vehicles range from less than one-year-old, low mileage units, up to decades-old bangers.
"The auctioning is done on a completely fair and transparent basis, and it is easy for traders to register and use the site. There is no cost to them; they pay only what they bid, and there are no monthly fees or commissions payable."
Tradersonline gives Barloworld's own dealers first option on vehicles they would have otherwise sold outside the group. These are generally cars that are traded in when buyers purchase a new vehicle, de-fleeted rental vehicles and full-maintenance lease buybacks.
If Barloworld's own dealers pass on the vehicle, it is offered on auction to outside business that deal in pre-owned cars or second-tier car dealerships.
Users have controlled access to the site via username and password. Traditionally a Barloworld Motor dealer would deal with around three traders because of practical and geographic constraints. With the website in place, the company's dealers are now exposed to over 700 traders, says Rowe.
"This means we receive market-related prices for the cars. The value this has added to our business is immense. In addition, it has improved our communication with traders, who are vital to our business.
"From a corporate governance point of view, the system is invaluable," says Rowe. "This is a particularly important factor for a large group such as ours. We are now able to show that Barloworld motor does not favour any purchaser by being completely transparent. It enables our staff to work in an environment in which their integrity can never be questioned."
Updates to Tradersonline, which is hosted by Internet Solutions, are effected by Barloworld Motor's dealer management system. When a car is traded in, it is uploaded into the system via the dealer management system. The entire process is administered by the used car managers in each of the company's operations, and then co-ordinated centrally.
Commenting on the future development of the site, Rowe says there are opportunities for clones of the system to be implemented by other Barloworld Limited companies. "We are investigating the possibility of tweaking the system for use by companies outside of the motor industry," he says.
Tradersonline was built on Cambrient's content management platform, Cambrient Contentsuite.
"This is a platform that has been designed and developed based on real-world scenarios and requirements," says Jarred Cinman, director at Cambrient. "It is comprehensive and makes the building and management of complex and multi-faceted websites like Tradersonline far simpler than competitive products."
Cinman notes that the locally developed platform is attractively priced for the South African market. "Cambrient Contentsuite is also highly customisable," says Cinman. "As a result, we were able to build exactly according to the business requirements of Barloworld Motor."