When FirstLook Systems asked Anthony Reich how it could improve its online used-vehicle management tool, his answer was straightforward:
"Help me manage my inventory better and faster; the less clicking I have to do, the easier my job," the used-car director of Huffines Kia and Huffines Subaru in Denton, Texas, told the company.
FirstLook took advice from Reich and other dealership personnel to heart as it crafted the next generation of its used-vehicle inventory management system. FirstLook set out to tailor the product to dealers' needs, rather than just offering them a collection of new bells and whistles that the software provider thought they might like.
The company demonstrated its FirstLook 3.0, which goes live March 21, to dealers at the National Automobile Dealers Association convention in Las Vegas this month.
Ed Farraj, e-commerce director for Oremor Automotive Group, in Ontario, Calif., was one of the dealership managers FirstLook asked for advice.
When trade-ins are involved with a vehicle purchase, he says, managers at the company's nine stores must consult wholesale guide books, auction prices and retail prices to come up with an appraisal price -- fast.
"The overall request for my managers was to make it quick, easy and put it all in one spot," he says. The new system will "help them make intelligent decisions based on facts."
David Nelson, FirstLook general manager, says the system features new appraisal and pricing tools and gives dealers one-click access by putting those tools on the system's home page. The current version requires multiple clicks to access many tools.
"Our goal is to help dealerships capture more trade-ins so they can capture extra deals and extra market share," Nelson says. "We help them manage current inventory and help them determine and find the best, fastest-moving and most profitable vehicles for their lot."
Reich likes that buttons for used-vehicle price guide books such as NADA Used Car Guide and Black Book, as well as for Carfax Inc., the vehicle-history report company, are at the top of his system home page. But the most important feature, he says, is FirstLook's PING used-vehicle pricing tool.
PING tracks how many vehicles of a specific make and model are listed for sale in dealers' specific markets, and those vehicles' prices. It also lets dealers compare how their prices stack up against the competition.
New features allow PING to compare vehicles of identical make, model and year and identify which can command higher prices based on specific factors such as mileage per model year, Nelson says.
"If I have a 2-year-old car and it only has 10,000 miles per model year," he says, "people are willing to pay more for that than a car that has 15,000 miles per model year."