A Global Marketplace
Building buyer support abroad drives IAA’s brand loyalty
Published December 4, 2017 - Written by Dan Oscarson
In our new Global Marketplace series, check out travel reflections from Dan Oscarson, IAA’s Vice President of Global Market Development.
Buyers outside the United States began purchasing vehicles from our auctions long before we introduced the convenience of Internet bidding. Many of these early pioneers would travel from Mexico and as far away as Central America from countries like Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala. They traveled by truck, and purchased not only along the border in Texas and California, but also often ventured as far away as Boston, New York and New Jersey to fill their 10-car haulers before heading back with their loads. Each journey would take several weeks and, once complete, would repeat over and over.
One example of these early buyers is Antonio Flores from Guatemala City. He began purchasing vehicles in the early 1990’s by making epic 3,900-mile journeys all the way to auctions in New England and back over a three-week period. Demand for affordable transportation was so great that profit margins were high on any vehicle that came from the United States. Buyers there appreciated vehicles built to American specifications, which often included standard equipment such as automatic transmissions, power windows, air conditioning and other features not always available on locally sourced vehicles.
Over time, and with the introduction of online bidding, buyers like Flores don’t have to work so hard to source vehicles. Although some Mexico-based buyers continue to venture into our auctions along the border to bid in person, things have changed since those early days. The Internet has empowered buyers from these countries and over 100 others to thrive in the automotive sector of their countries, thanks to the bidding tools IAA provides. They rely on these tools to make important buying decisions, and they overwhelmingly trust our products to arrive as we represented them online. A common theme we hear is, “IAA is the auction you can trust.”
Today, buyers in Guatemala, for example, are purchasing more vehicles than ever before. By doing so, they provide income for themselves and their families while creating jobs in the areas of transportation, parts sales and all aspects of vehicle repair. They also help ensure affordable transportation for others, providing them with opportunities for work and independence they may not otherwise be able to achieve.
In June 2017, IAA visited Guatemala City and conducted a buyer seminar for existing buyers and others who were interested in learning more about our company and the cars we sell. This was the third such event in as many years and the response was overwhelming. More than 300 people gathered to hear what was new, ask questions and improve their working relationships with IAA. It was a privilege to represent the company and listen to their concerns, share the exciting new features of our website and show them how to maximize their success when bidding and buying cars from our auctions.
As with similar seminars conducted in other countries, we formed important bonds with our buyers and strengthened the IAA brand. We also improved buyer loyalty, dramatically increasing bid frequency and units sold.
When it comes to our foreign-based buyers, IAA will continue to listen, inform and promote. It’s part of our ongoing commitment to recruit and retain them all around the world. Keep watching this space to see how IAA continues to develop its international buyer network.
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