After the switch to all-digital was made, Manheim's numbers showed that dealers were catching on. Last week, the auction giant said it saw a 31 percent increase in bidders since moving to simulcast-only sales, and a 73 percent rise in bids in its digital channels. There was also a 93 percent increase in the use of its remote seller tool over the course of three weeks.
Before the abrupt switch, the auction giants had already been running digital-only sales — albeit on a much smaller scale — throughout the country alongside in-person auctions. Manheim converted three of its auction sites to all-digital: Manheim Tucson, Manheim Houston and Manheim Flint.
ADESA had been running its VirtuaLane at 29 of 74 locations, although buyers were allowed on site with cars displayed on large screens.
Whenever the coronavirus pandemic is contained or runs its course and the wholesale market presumably switches back to normal operations, many buyers and sellers will have received a crash course in digital transactions. And Manheim and ADESA will have, too.
"I guess circumstances maybe forced us into a simulcast-only situation sooner than we might have imagined," Kelly said.