BURNABY, British Columbia -

TRADER Corp. is entering the online auction ring with its new product TRADER Exchange.

The new dealer-to-dealer auction tool gives TRADER’s dealer customers a way to wholesale vehicles without leaving the portal they have used to retail units to customers in the past.

In an interview with Auto Remarketing Canada, Gayle Kosokowsky, director of B2B marketing at TRADER, said, “The new tool gives dealers another option to wholesale their vehicles, and it is fully integrated into the TRADER Control Center, which is the same software that they use to get their inventory out on the Web.

“It is the exact same software, so the move to using TRADER Exchange should be seamless and easy for the dealer,” she added.

The tool will be available through the TRADER Dealer app, as well, for dealers to buy and sell on the go through their mobile devices.

Kosokowsky explained the reasoning behind the dealer-to-dealer auction launch is an effort to provide a “one-stop shop” for dealers.

“Right now, the dealers don’t have the opportunity to purchase and sell directly to dealers through our tools, and this tool allows them to do so,” she said.

TRADER Exchange is set to launch in mid- to late September, and will only be available to TRADER customers.

It will be initially available to Ontario dealers only, but Kosokowsky said the auction will be going nationwide in early 2015.

Here’s how it works. Posting vehicles on TRADER Exchange requires dealers to go through four steps.

First, of course, dealers will select vehicles from their inventory list to offer in the dealer-to-dealer auction space.

Next up is filling in reconditioning details. TRADER is currently working on a partnership with CarProof to integrate its new RECON tool into the Exchange program. Read more about CarProof RECON here.

“The recon portion is just so that dealers are fully aware of what is happening with the vehicle, also the vehicle history report, and that’s just because in a physical auction you can look at the vehicle and see what is happening, but here this is just building an element of trust for us on our online auction customers,” Kosokowsky said.

Next, up dealers will fill out auction details, which includes changes in the inventory information within Control Center. For example, dealers can alter the price from retail to wholesale, and/or make the listing comments more specific for dealer-to-dealer sales, rather than dealer-to-consumer.

Lastly, the dealer must schedule his or her auction. The minimum timeframe for TRADER Exchange auctions is 20 minutes, and auctions can go up to eight hours.

During initial market research and focus groups with dealers, Kosokowsky said dealers said they wanted to keep the auction timelines short.

“The reasoning was a sense of urgency, so they aren’t dragging things out over days and days and take up their time and attention when they may or may not get the vehicle,” she said. “That was one problem cited with online auctions … is you never know if you are going to get the vehicle, even if you have the highest bid, because in the live trade scenario, the dealer may only be considering taking a trade-in. So they don’t actually have the vehicle yet, and it is still with the owner.”

With live trades, dealers are bidding on a vehicle the other dealer may not have his hands on yet, so by making the auction times shorter, dealers are spending less time and investment on individual auctions.

TRADER is only offering the tool to licensed dealers, of course, and is also making it easier for participating dealers to post their registration numbers.

“We have been collecting their registration numbers and including them in the ads for them and their dealer profiles,” said Kosokowsky.  “Rather than them having to post them every time, which in some provinces you have to do, we are collecting them so it just happened automatically for the dealers."

Two weeks before launch, participating dealers will be allowed to start posting inventory, as this will give TRADER an idea of the amount of inventory TRADER Exchange will tout when they open the virtual doors and allow for bidding to start.