VAuto Competitive Analysis

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Part
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VAuto Competitive Analysis (Part 1)

FirstLook is positioned as an innovative auto inventory management software that targets independent used auto dealerships. The system also helps dealerships advertise their services.

Key Positioning, Target Audience, Selling Point & Messaging

  • MAX Digital positions FirstLook as a pioneer in auto inventory management software that helps dealerships increase gross profits and maximize inventory turnover. The company positions itself as one of the fastest-growing software companies in the U.S.
  • FirstLook has an inventory management system that provides end to end visibility all through preowned retailed operations. It also aligns historical sales data with current market trends specific to the dealership's location. This allows the dealership to buy the vehicles that are most likely to sell in their location.
  • FirstLook's main tagline is "acquire and stock with confidence." Other main messages it uses to target its audience include "instantly appraise" and "validate your numbers."
  • MAX Digital's target audience for FirstLook is dealerships, mainly independent dealerships selling used cars. Some of its current customers include Del Grande Dealer Group and Fremont Motors.
  • Its selling point is that its system comes with ten pricing proof points and integrates with resources such as Kelley Blue Book. These resources allow dealerships to validate their pricing and appraisals, thus making it easy to stay competitive.
  • The system also helps with automatically creating ads that are engaging, and distributing these ads to over 200 sites.

Marketing Campaigns & Sponsorships

  • MAX Digital currently has a blog that helps engage current and prospective customers.
  • With catchy titles like "Interviewing for Team Alignment" and "The Future of Amazon in Automotive," the blog is used to get more website traffic from search engines.
  • The company is also active on social media, particularly LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter. Across these platforms, it posts at least twice a week. It recently posted about a partnership with DealerCenter.
  • MAX Digital's social media posts highlight its accomplishments, partnerships, and milestones its customers are reaching.
  • Another marketing tactic that the company employs is sponsorships. MAX Digital sponsors events like the Digital Marketing Strategies Conference.
  • While MAX Digital participates in NADA Convention and Expo annually, it is unclear if it actually sponsors the event. No planned special promotions for the event have been revealed by MAX Digital.
  • MAX Digital also leverages partnerships as a marketing tactic. In 2019 alone, it has partnered with LotVantage, DealerCenter, and Lotpop.

Thought Leadership Pieces, vAuto Attacks & Product Comparison

  • MAX Digital has not attacked vAuto in any way neither has it sponsored attack messaging against vAuto.
  • vAuto offers software for dealerships selling new and/or used vehicles. First Look, on the other hand, is for used car dealers alone.
  • vAuto's Provision is a used car software suite that offers used car dealers with competitive live market data to appraise efficiently. The main difference when compared to FirstLook is that Provision helps dealers find the "right inventory for credit-challenged buyers."
  • In September 2019, MAX Digital published an article titled "The CarMax Effect: The New Reality at Auction." It discussed the hesitation dealers have about buying vehicles at auction due to the fact large players like CarMax are driving wholesale costs above what they used to be.
  • Another article titled "Millennials Car Buyers Divided and the Opportunity for Automotive" discussed the vehicle purchasing behaviors of younger and older millennials. The article was published in October 2019.
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Part
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VAuto Competitive Analysis (Part 2)

Inventory+ positions itself as a leading dealer management software that caters to dealerships of all types and sizes. Some of its current marketing tactics include social media and sponsorships. So far, DealerSocket has not attacked or sponsored any attacks against vAuto.

Key Positioning, Target Audience, Selling Point & Messaging

  • Inventory+ is positioned as a market-leading inventory management tool that "recognizes the uniqueness of dealerships."
  • The SaaS-based enterprise platform helps dealers maximize profitability on vehicles and recommends the right vehicles for these dealers by examining transaction history and market behavior.
  • Its main messages highlight the different ways it can help dealerships. They include "turbocharge your dealership" and "your inventory hub."
  • Inventory+ targets dealerships of all sizes selling used and new vehicles.
  • Its uniqueness lies in the fact that not only does it help dealers sell vehicles more profitably, it also helps them improve their customer experience through its advanced CRM features.
  • Inventory+ also streamlines inventory distribution to websites and popular syndication platforms.
  • Recently, DealerSocket launched upgraded its Inventory+ software. The new version has expanded reporting capabilities, thus providing value to "both single-store operations and multi-rooftop dealer groups."

Marketing Campaigns & Sponsorships

  • DealerSocket leverages social media to reach more people. The company is active on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, and Instagram. It has over 35,000 followers across these platforms.
  • On YouTube, it publishes videos weekly about its achievements, tips for dealerships, events, and its products. In a video published in September titled "How Inventory+ Works For Your Needs," it discussed the different ways the tool helps dealerships, including easy customization and efficient enterprise management.
  • Its posts across Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram are similar. Most of them are about the success its clients have achieved by using their tools. In an October 18 post, it revealed some of the advantages of using the Inventory+ Single Page Appraisals tool, as per current customers.
  • DealerSocket also sponsors different events. In February 2019, it announced that it was sponsoring Digital Dealer 26, a show that unveils new innovations. It mentioned that Inventory+ would be highlighted at the show.
  • It has not released any information on planned special promotions for the 2020 NADA Conference.
  • At the 2019 NADA show, it unveiled over 20 innovations and new enhancements. Although it does not sponsor this conference, it won five awards at the event, including the DrivingSales 2019 Dealer Satisfaction Award.

Thought Leadership Pieces, vAuto Attacks & Product Comparison

  • DealerSocket has not attacked vAuto in any of its ads; neither has it sponsored any attack messaging against vAuto.
  • Recently, it published a report titled "Eight Tips for a Stellar User Experience With Your Next Dealership Software." It referenced clean design, mobile compatibility, and built-in guidance as some of the features to have in a dealership software.
  • In October, it published a white paper titled "The Right Fit: Measuring DMS Effectiveness." It discussed how independent dealers can measure the effectiveness of their dealer management software.
  • Inventory+ is most similar to Conquest and Provision by vAuto. Both vAuto tools help with merchandising, pricing, and incentives - features that Inventory+ offers as well. However, Inventory+ offers more features such as multi-platform listings and automatic reporting.
  • It also allows dealerships to create custom reports for one store alone, a group of stores alone, or all stores owned by the dealership.

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Part
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VAuto Competitive Analysis (Part 3)

VinCue is positioned as a dealer management software for used car dealers with any number of users. Currently, DealerCue sponsors events like the Dealership Expo.

Key Positioning, Target Audience, Selling Point & Messaging

  • VinCue is a tool that offers links to major auctions, vehicle appraisal, and market pricing - based on supply and demand, for new and used car dealers.
  • It is positioned as a tool with VIN scanner that allows dealers to view their market like a customer.
  • VinCue's key messages specify what dealers can get out of it. Some examples include "accurate market pricing," "clearly defined strategy," and "resource integration."
  • VinCue's target market is both independent and franchise dealerships of any size. Dealership with 1 to more than 1,000 users can use the tool.
  • Its main competitive advantage is the VIN scanner it has and its price when compared to alternatives like vAuto's Provision. Although the price varies by the number of users and features needed, current customers claim VinCue's price is competitive.

Marketing Campaigns & Sponsorships

  • Currently, DealerCue's main marketing strategy includes attending and sponsoring conferences/trade shows.
  • Annually, it exhibits at the Dealership Expo and sponsors the event. The company also participated in the 2019 Marketplace Master Dealer Conference.
  • While it participates in the annual NADA Conference, it does not sponsor the event.
  • DealerCue also partners with companies in the automotive industry. Some of its current partners include NADA, AutoCheck, Autosoft, Carfax, and DealerCar Search, among others.
  • Although DealerCue is on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube, it is not active on either platform. However, it has a blog that it uses to increase its search engine optimization and increase traffic to its site.

Thought Leadership Pieces, vAuto Attacks & Product Comparison

  • DealerCue has not published any advertising to attack vAuto, neither has it sponsored one. However, experts often compare it to vAuto.
  • On the 24th of October, DealerCue published an article titled "Wholesaling Used Cars: 4 Mistakes to Avoid." There, it discussed some of the mistakes most dealerships make when wholesaling used cars, including not cleaning and detailing the car.
  • In an article published on the 22nd of August, it provided tips for increasing used car margins. Some of the suggestions it offered include improving reconditioning practices and optimizing marketing spend.
  • In an October 4th article titled "How to Reinvent the Road to the Sale for 2020," it provided tactics for innovating the Road to the Sale (RTTS) practice - a sales strategy that has been in the automotive industry for decades.
  • VinCue is most similar to vAuto's Provision. Document management, and buy-here pay-here dealer are some of the product features VinCue has that Provision does not offer.
  • While VinCue can be used by dealerships with numerous users, Provision is best for dealerships with less than 50 users.
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Part
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VAuto Competitive Analysis (Part 4)

DealersLink positions itself as the largest dealer direct trading group in the US. The company's marketing strategies include banner ads, a blog, and participating in trade shows.

Key Positioning, Target Audience, Selling Point & Messaging

  • DealersLink positions itself as a "state-of-the-art industry leading authority on automotive systems integration and networking technology" and the first dealer-to-dealer marketplace in the US.
  • The company claims it coined the term "dealer-to-dealer." It is positioned as America's largest dealer direct trading group.
  • Its main message is "the tools you need to run your dealership."
  • Although DealersLink is associated with used car dealers, it targets both franchise and independent new, used, and wholesale car dealers.
  • The fact that it is the only live "market-data-driven inventory-management solution coupled with a billion dollars worth of on-demand dealer-direct inventory" sets the company apart.

Marketing Campaigns & Sponsorships

  • DealersLink uses banner ads on different websites. A recent banner ad it has features a dollar sign with the message "Deal Smart. Deal Direct."
  • DealersLink also has a blog which it uses to discuss guides and tips for dealers. The blog helps generate leads and boosts search engine optimization.
  • Recently, DealersLink sought the help of S&A Communications, a media relations company, to reach more dealers.
  • It participates in conferences and trade shows as well. It had a booth at the 2019 NADA Conference. The booth featured a cash wheel which people could spin for the possibility of winning real cash. Another promotional material it had at this booth includes cash back from switching to competitors like Inventory+ and First Look.
  • It also participated in the Digital Dealer Conference and Expo. There, it had a booth that featured "demonstrations of its revolutionary cloud-based marketplace designed to attract millennial car buyers with an exceptional app platform."
  • So far, DealersLink has not sponsored any event.

Thought Leadership Pieces, vAuto Attacks & Product Comparison

  • Although DealersLink has not attacked vAuto in its ads or sponsored any messaging against vAuto, it compared its offerings to vAuto, Inventory+, and FirstLook. DealersLink claims it offers more features than these alternatives, at a less expensive price.
  • Compared to vAuto's Provision, DealersLink includes a wholesale marketplace and does not have any long term contract.
  • In August 2019, DealersLink released an article titled "Acquire High-Profit Vehicles: An Easy Win for Used-Car Sales." It discussed the best ways dealers can source vehicles that will generate the most profit.
  • In another article titled "Comparing Vehicle Pricing Guides for Auto Dealers," it compared Black Book, NADAguides, and KBB. The article was published in April 2019.

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