Manheim won the Product Launch of the Year award from the Technology Association of Georgia (TAG) Product Management Society for the launch of its new product Simulcast on Mobile. The traditional Simulcast product allows car dealers to virtually bid on and buy cars at Manheim’s auction-house locations from desktop or laptop computers. The new mobile Simulcast product puts all of the power of the Manheim marketplace in the palm of the customer’s hand, allowing dealers to bid on and buy used vehicle inventory anytime and anywhere using their mobile device.

Beta testing for Simulcast on Mobile began in December 2012, and the new product launched officially at the 2013 National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA) convention earlier this month where dealers and media received live demonstrations from Manheim’s product managers at the company’s booth. Currently Simulcast on Mobile is available on Apple devices and will launch in the Android marketplace this spring.

“We’re honored to receive this award from TAG, and I’m so proud of the team who helped to bring Simulcast on Mobile to the market,” said Bonnie Hensler, vice president of product operations for Manheim. “The successful launch of Simulcast on Mobile was a collaborative effort between many departments across Manheim, and it’s all part of our mission to put game-changing information in our customers’ hands. Our product development strategy boils down to one thing – provide visionary solutions to help our customers win.”

The Simulcast product line has a solid history of success. Since the first version of the product launched in 2002, Simulcast has transformed the way the auto remarketing industry does business. Before Simulcast, car dealers had to physically travel to auction houses around the country to find, buy and sell used car inventory. Simulcast was innovative because, for the first time, dealers could manage these transactions from the desktop computers at their dealership, which significantly reduced travel costs and saved dealers time and money. In addition, because Simulcast allowed dealers to participate in auctions remotely, it transformed the marketplace, expanding it from a local to a national level by leveraging the supply and demand of vehicles nationally.

One year after its launch, in 2003, Simulcast accounted for less than 1 percent of Manheim’s sales. Today, it accounts for roughly 16 percent of the company’s multi-billion dollar business. On average, about 13,000 dealerships attend Simulcast sales every week. Over the course of 2012, Simulcast was used by 40 percent of all dealer sellers and 76 percent of dealer sellers who sold 10 or more cars. Additionally, nearly all commercial sellers use Simulcast. To date, some 4 million cars have been sold through Simulcast, with a total sales price of nearly $60 billion.

Simulcast is an American business success story and taking the product mobile was the next logical step. Manheim’s new product and innovation decisions are informed by data and research. For example:

  • In 2012, 34 percent of consumers made a purchase using their mobile phone compared to 19 percent in 2011 (Source: DC Financial Insights, 2012)
  • By 2014, mobile internet is predicted to take over desktop internet usage (Source: Microsoft Tag, 2012)
  • 25 percent of smartphone owners say they purchased something on their mobile devices in the past week, while 60 percent have purchased online and 87 percent in physical stores. (Source: Wave Collapse, 2012)

Aware that these general mobile trends also apply to the automotive industry, Manheim designed and developed its Simulcast product to ensure a consistent user experience across digital, physical, and mobile channels, allowing customers to transact when and how they wanted. The team developed a best in class solution, enabling customers to bid and buy real time.  With Simulcast on Mobile, a customer now has the new ability to be located in a physical auction house transacting business in one lane while simultaneously purchasing vehicles, digitally, from another lane or even from another auction using a smartphone.

Since the product launched, dealer reaction has been positive. “I read through the App Store update, saw that the app was available and I thought ‘Simulcast on Mobile? Really? Let me download this and give it a try.’ I wasn’t sure how fast it would be – but it worked great and was very up-to-date,” said Charlie Gracia of Doral Buick GMC in Miami, Fla., the first Manheim customer who purchased a vehicle using Simulcast on Mobile.

Simulcast on Mobile has energized the used car marketplace by removing the technological limitations of the traditional Simulcast product and strategically placing Manheim at the center of the live bidding world via a mobile device. Last year, Manheim was named among Computer World’s 100 best places to work in Information Technology. The company continues to be the auto remarketing industry’s leader in digital and mobile solutions as well as a top employer in the Atlanta market and across the country.

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Originally posted on Automotive Fleet