Auction and car sales giant Turners is looking to data and turning its back on traditional media advertising, to optimise sales of used vehicles.
Reporting increased revenues but a reduced net profit before tax today, Turners CEO Todd Hunter said management had identified a number of growth opportunities across all businesses to take advantage of the changing dynamics of the industry.
These included digital disruption, increased regulation, increasing shift to online channels, alternative ownership models and industry consolidation.
“Better access, analysis and insights from the wealth of valuable data within each business is a priority," Hunter said.
"We believe this could substantially improve the way consumers buy and sell vehicles, and we will focus on our data opportunity over the medium term."
Turners reported 2019 net profit before tax of $29 million, down from $31.1 million in 2018. Revenue was up two per cent, however, from $330.5 million to 336.6 million.
Excluding a brand write-off related to Buy Right Cars, now rebranded as Turners, adjusted net profit before tax of $33.6 million was eight per cent up over 2018's $31.3 million.
Turners, which provides automotive retail, finance and insurance and credit management services, told investors the dynamics of the industry were changing, with a shift to online comparisons reducing the average number of yard visits before purchase from five to just two.
The shift to digital was even more pronounced when customers were seeking finance and insurance.
Digital disruption was kicking in with big data and technology proliferating in the retail landscape.
While Turners had simplified and "de-risked" its business, growth required a shift of marketing investment into digital platforms and increased use of data analytics to buy and sell smarter.
Turners needed to evolve the customer experience in person and online, it said, and look for innovation and disruptive opportunities.
The company had engaged a social media marketing agency, was shifting spend out of mainstream media into digital and engaged two leading data analytics organisations, it added.
The data investment would allow it to extract insights from the company's data assets (see chart) to help identify the right cars to buy and the right price to sell them at to maximise yield.