“We want to be the Amazon of Remarketing”
“Digitalisation has radically changed our remarketing business model, but we still aim to maintain our physical network”, said Frédéric van Heems, Remarketing Director at ALD S.A. in the session on new business models at the Fleet Europe Remarketing Forum.
The numbers speak for themselves: in 2016, ALD sold 242,000 ex-lease cars, of which 40,000 went to individual buyers, and 202,000 to retailers. Around 125,000 changed ownership via ALD Carmarket, the online sales channel. “That's 52% of the total. And we continue to improve the online tools we use in the remarketing area”, said Mr. Van Heems.
Remarketing is an integral part of ALD's strategy to transform its business from a physical to a digital presence. The mainstay of this is a B2B online platform, implemented in all markets, but also direct online sales, to both ALD drivers and B2C, to private third parties – not forgetting a bricks-and-mortar outlet network, which can leverage the advantages of ALD's physical market presence. But the way the market is evolving is clear: “By 2018, ALD expects over 70% of its used-vehicle sales to occur online”.
ALD is systematically transforming its remarketing efforts, from face-to-face transactions to trusted automated transactions; from wholesale customers to traders, partners, employee and private consumers; and from its own physical compound network to both that physical network, and a network of externalised outlets. Not that it will be a walk in the park: “This will require a new sales approach, new competences and a new, agile IT approach”.
ALD Carmarket is the lease company's in-house B2B e-commerce platform that offers a personalised experience for each trader, with tailored marketing plans and recommendations, a steady supply of new services and features, and a significant data mining capability. ALD's vision for Carmarket is nothing if not ambitious: “We want to become the Amazon of Remarketing”.
Qigo, is another initiative, aimed specifically at the end user. A fuly digital and responsive sales platform, it was launched in Denmark earlier this year. “We chose Denmark because it is one of the most mature countries when it comes to online retail”, said Van Heems. The scalable platform, which will be implemented in other countries as well, has great potential to target the private lease market.
But ALD is also investing in Car Outlets. “Each of our countries will be equipped with an outlet structure, complemented with digital showrooms, dedicate to the B2C remarketing channel. This network is necessary to help us manage the logistics of the 'last kilometer' of the online retail process”. ALD currently has 40 outlets operating throughout Europe. Even though they represented only about 15% of the retail sales in 2016, the lease company sees them as an essential element of its remarketing strategy - increasingly digital, but in essence still about a very physical product.