The ultimate goal of the International Automotive Remarketers Alliance (IARA) is to better the remarketing industry, and in the process, become the go-to resource for the industry.
With such a goal, it makes sense that it has similar aspirations for its website — IARA.biz. The hope for the organization’s website is that it becomes the online destination for industry members to congregate and bolster their remarketing knowledge.
“[The new website] exists because it is in the service of consignors in the remarketing arena,” said Venkat Krishnamoorthy, CIO of AutoIMS and co-chair of the IARA’s technology committee. “What types of useful information can we actually give them so that they can better serve the core parts of their business,” Krishnamoorthy said.
Genesis of a New Website
The path to launching this new website was set nearly four years ago; around that time that IARA Executive Director Tony Long first joined the organization. At that time the organization’s online presence was bare bones.
“The old website really was tasked with much more than it was designed to do,” said Long. “You could pay for membership and IARA certification courses through its shopping cart, and that was really about it.”
There were three main goals when looking at the sort of improvements a new site could bring. The IARA wanted the experience for its members to be improved, it also wanted its certified automotive remarketer certification to be accommodated completely online, and it wanted to simplify event registration.
Officially launching the new website on Jan. 1, 2017, was a leap in the pursuit of that goal.
New Online Content
The website accomplished many of the original goals the organization had, and also brought along a number of extra features.
Aesthetically the new website shares little resemblance with the previous version of the website. Large sliding photos are featured at the top to showcase events and important news. An RSS feed that provides daily news updates has also been added in order to keep members apprised of news surrounding the remarketing industry.
Along with the features available in the previous website, IARA members will be able to complete the entire Certified Automotive Remarketer (CAR) certification process online.
The desire to automate this process was part of why an association management system (AMS) and a learning management system (LMS) were vital integrations needed in the new website.
Event registration capabilities are another benefit of the new website. Registration has been simplified so that IARA members can register directly on the new website.
A feature that Krishnamoorthy hopes is better utilized as committee members become more acclimated with the new website is committee-specific pages. These pages, which are new to the IARA website, can be used by committee chairs to share information and documents with one another.
These pages and the ability they provide — to more easily develop pertinent information that can be distributed to the organization’s industry members via the new e-distribution feature — circle back to the organization’s main goal of betterment of the market that it serves.
Most recently, the IARA’s new Compliance Committee looked into an issue that many members of the remarketing industry were encountering: how to prevent personal property from being left in cars that were being delivered to auctions. The organization worked through the compliance issues and came up with a suggested policy from consignors that prohibits their vehicles that contain personally identifiable information (PII) from being delivered. A form letter with that recommendation was then posted to the IARA website.
“It’s not a legally binding recommendation, it’s more of a guideline,” said Krishnamoorthy. “But, you at least have a starting point, and the website plays an important role. Our members know that there is a website, and I can go to it to grab a copy [of their guidelines].”
The new website also has broadcast messaging options that can be used by the administrators to launch targeted messages to its membership. It also has a survey tool that can be used to collect industry trend information and also manage membership needs and wants. And it has a job posting board that can be used for posting jobs within the industry membership. The new website is a living and breathing project, Long noted. He expects to learn a lot of what can be added or customized just by using it and observing member needs.