Meet CX Network Live Speaker Nick King

CXN LIVE: Customer Insight Analytics speaker Nick King examines the power real time analytics can bring to CX strategies.  

Chanice Henry

Can you provide some insight into how you are currently using analytics to empower your CX strategies and your customers?

Nick: “AutoTrader is one of the UK’s biggest online Automotive  marketplaces. We have about 450,000 cars for sale. In terms of our customers – we have consumers and then we have dealers who advertise with us – these could be independent dealers, retailers or manufacturers. There are about 15,000 car dealers in the UK and we have 85% market share, virtually everyone advertises with us.

“We’ve been around for a long time and our challenge is how do we persuade a car dealer who left school at 16, perhaps without any O levels or GCSEs and is now a multi-millionaire, that unless they move with the times, evolve and change and adapt, they’re going to go out of business? Because quite rightly they could throw that right back in my face and say: ‘How dare you? I'm very successful, what do you know?’ Well, what we do know is all down to our data.

“Effectively AutoTrader is a massive data portal, – we construe, gain and receive a huge amount of data on a daily basis and it’s extremely valuable. With that data we can augment the business of a car dealer so they can succeed in this ever-changing role. We see a lot of young millennial style businesses really using data, taking on these big long-standing players and actually kicking them out.

“The majority of our audience rely on their admittedly vast experience to plan, stock and price their vehicle.  But the pace of change has sped up and price transparency has appeared in this business.  Data can help augment this experience. So how do we make it easy for them? We do that by trying to come up with easy to use tools that allow them to access data and make a difference to their business."

Tune in to Nick's session on Wednesday 19th September: From Customer Journey Mapping to Actionable Insights that Drive Revenue - The AutoTrader Story

“That may sound rather blindingly obvious, but they are very busy people. When running a dealership business, how on earth do they have time to log into a portal. Another question is why should they log into our [portal] over others?

“It’s got to be simple, it’s got to be easy, it’s got to show the relevant data at the touch of a button, with one click. That’s an extremely hard thing to do and is what we spend [a lot] of our time doing. We have about 800+ employees, and the vast majority of those are developers and software experts who build our website to make it as beautiful and as simple as possible for all customers. It’s an ongoing challenge.”

Your top tip for how to best improve customer experiences and their journeys with real time analytics and data-led decision making?

Nick: “The constant challenge for all car dealers is stock turn, because with a car you have a depreciating asset as soon as you’ve bought it. You need to turn that stock quickly.

“The average stock turn in the UK is about 50 days, but, some people [can] take 120 days to sell a car. If you think that car is depreciating every day, and CAP (one of the industry standards for pricing) reckons it costs £6 a day to keep a car. If you have a £500 margin in a car and you have had it for a hundred days you have already made a loss of £100. All dealers of course want to turn their stock quickly, but it’s not very easy. So how [can we] help them to do it?

“We have real time analytics integrated into our portal so users can log in and get access to [very useful information] for free as part of the package.

“Regarding live data, we know what people are looking for at any one time, and we know what stock is available in [a certain radius of their region].

Also read: Lessons learned from artificial intelligence projects

“The first thing you have to do when you’re searching for a vehicle via AutoTrader is you put your postcode in. These codes in the UK delineate to between nine and eleven houses, or blocks, on a road. So it’s quite an accurate way of saying we know that someone who lives at 'X' is looking for a Golf GTI, for instance.

“Imagine if you have a dealership, it would be quite nice to know the top ten most desirable cars people are looking for in your area. As a dealer you may have gut feeling but we can actually prove [what models are desirable] through data.

“Then we can actually use tools in real time to tell you where those cars are, how much you should pay for them and what price you should advertise them at to sell them the quickest. That [information] is really valuable.

“We will help our customers succeed and augment their business. We provide dashboards you can log into and see very quickly all of the stock you have for sale. Is it priced correctly? How many people are looking at it? If they are looking at it and they’re not buying it, why? There will be a reason. Then we build a whole team of training sessions.

“We have masterclasses. About seven years ago I set up effectively our dealer education team. Just simply helping people to make the most of their advertising spend. [Looking at] the benefit of having good quality pictures, good descriptions, pricing to the market and building trust and transparency elements. Ratings, reviews, testimonials, how do you do this?

Stay tuned for the second installment of Nick’s interview. In the meantime, save your spot at CXN LIVE: Customer Insight Analytics


Nick King
Market Research and Insight Director