In the latest installment of the annual Power 300 issue of Auto Remarketing, we go behind the scenes with some of the leading companies in the used-car space and their top executives with a few Q&A features.
Next up is Becca Polak, who is the president of TradeRev and the chief legal officer and secretary at its parent company, KAR Auction Services.
Auto Remarketing: What are some of the projects your team is working on within the KAR Auction Services family right now?
Becca Polak: TradeRev’s customer obsession drives everything we do and every project and new innovation we pursue. We’re all about serving our customers better, and making the whole process of buying and selling cars fair and easy. In the digital world, that means eliminating legacy pain points for our customers by implementing processes that assure end-to-end ease so customers don’t have any issues. H is a great example of this; it’s our engine powering the next iteration of how cars are bought and sold.
With H, we’re using artificial intelligence to bring objectivity to the self-inspection with unbiased condition reports — making car buying faster, more accurate and more efficient for our customers. Sellers can do their jobs faster, and buyers can feel 100-percent confident in the vehicles they’re bidding on.
AR: What are some ways in which your division is working with other sister companies within KAR?
BP: One of the best things about joining the KAR family is enhanced access to resources and services for our customers — opportunities no competitor can offer. The TradeRev platform in the U.S. now has seamless integration with coast-to-coast transportation logistics through the CarsArrive Network, and customers can find out in real-time their credit availability with AFC and arrange financing.
And we work closely with ADESA to bring a digital-first strategy to customers. We’ve also brought our customer obsession to the rest of KAR. We’re currently working with DRIVIN and the KAR Data as a Service team to feed data into H’s machine learning and strengthen our buyer-matching tools — we’re very excited about where this will take us and our customers in the future.
AR: Where do you see the biggest opportunities for innovation in the wholesale auto industry?
BP: The biggest innovation opportunities are efficiencies, market access and end-to-end customer experience. We’re living in a digital, data-driven world where dealers are no longer constrained by geography — and the opportunities will come to those who take full advantage of these new tools to provide more accurate vehicle valuation, faster days to sale and better matching. Customers want an easy, convenient buying and selling experience, with a single platform that also integrates logistics, financing, condition reports and more. It’s about fostering innovations that make the system smarter and more intelligent for both buyers and sellers.
AR: In what ways do you see these tech innovations in the wholesale car market mirroring those on the retail side?
BP: We see a lot of trends and tech innovations mirrored across retail and wholesale. First, as customers become more digitally focused in other areas of their lives, they no longer need a tangible buying or selling experience for big-ticket items like vehicles. And increasingly, we’re seeing a movement toward customers actively wanting an all-digital experience, where cars, commerce and customers come together digitally.
Second, customers are getting smarter. The idea of transparency has become pervasive. Customers are doing the pre-research and taking full advantage of the information and data more readily available at their fingertips. And finally, on the retail side we’re seeing the dealer’s role and business model evolve — consumers lean on them for support and reliability, rather than education. We’re seeing a similar evolution in the wholesale space; our customers and their business models are changing, and remarketers need to adapt their business models and value proposition to remain relevant.