Leveraging Simulcast in the Age of Video

It started with reality shows, and now we have come to a time where people are producing and directing their own lives for the whole world to see. With one billion active users per month, YouTube has become the leading platform for unscripted entertainment. That is… if you can call watching other people eating breakfast entertainment. The point is, the bar is low, but for the auto auction industry… the opportunity is high! Auto Auctions have been entertaining dealers for many years, and now, with live simulcast, they are in a distinct position to re-invent the wholesale buying experience online!

Picture the live auction event as if it were a television program. Behind the scenes, more effort would go into staging this production, including developing an outline that viewers could easily follow. The format would include an opening segment that is entertaining, presents the sale line-up, and entices the audience to stick around and enjoy the show. Each lane would conclude with a signature sign-off. The last lane would include a closing segment that instructs viewers to provide feedback, announces the winner of a weekly drawing, and encourages the audience to return the following week. While this may seem way outside of the auction scope, it is well within the parameters of leveraging the current success of video, where live streaming has become the latest trend.

Starring in each lane – The Auctioneer. Auctioneering requires a skill that cannot easily be reproduced in a digital format – allowing the traditional business model to reclaim the upper-hand. However, Auctioneers do need to exert some effort towards acknowledging the online audience, and insuring a fair bidding environment. It is also important that the Auctioneer learn to coordinate well with the Online Clerk, who should be properly trained in accuracy and engagement. If successful, auctions will be able to sustain a time-honored tradition, replicated in the virtual space, that serves to incite bid activity. This provides an advantage that cannot be matched by a timed-auction solution, and allows experienced auctioneers to do what they were trained to do – increase sale conversion, and achieve the maximum value for the seller’s inventory.

With the added value of entertainment, auctions could ideally extract video content that is both shareable, and subscription-worthy as a means to attract new digital buyers. Meanwhile, this professionally delivered live production of simulcast would preserve the integrity of the traditional auction method. Not only would brick-and-mortar auto auctions remain relevant, but they would secure their competitive edge against dealer-to-dealer platforms, which generally serve to eliminate the Auctioneer. By enhancing the live experience, auctions may also compete against their own proxy-bid functionality that eliminates the excitement of competitive bidding, thereby curbing the Auctioneer’s ability to achieve or exceed the seller’s desired price.

Obviously, this is an initiative that requires some thought, and effort. Some might even argue that it would be too much effort, considering the fact that online sale averages are significantly lower compared to the lanes. However, we do have indicators that tell another story. Year after year, online sales continue to increase with minimal effort, all while technology re-shapes the way we engage in our personal lives, and in business. Currently, the emphasis is on content, and video. Applied to Simulcast, the end product could be just the innovation needed to move the industry forward.

I have said it before, and will reiterate… The Auto Auction Industry needs to self-disrupt. I believe there is a limited window of time where the auctions will be able to develop a hybrid solution that will incorporate the traditional approach with the speed and efficiency of the digital method. Once that time frame has passed, the industry will not be shaped by those who are nostalgic about their history, it will be overtaken by some new advancement in technology. The fact of the matter is, even if auctions do nothing, the innovators will keep moving forward. The auction experience in 20 years may depend on what we do, or don’t do, today. So take a stand, or have a seat, but make no mistake… The show must go on!

Think Outside The Blocks! ™

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