There’s never a dull moment in automotive, and 2022 sure had its fair share of tumult. We consider ourselves fortunate to be a part of such a dynamic industry. Just like our dealer customers across the country, we adapted and thrived in 2022. We’ve got some epic milestones to celebrate while signaling our commitment to growth and driving the automotive industry forward.
The Big Picture
After the once-in-a-lifetime moment where vehicle values appreciated, the market turned and vehicle prices once again began to depreciate. That slack tide, as measured by the TradePending 100 (which measures the 100 most listed vehicles on franchise dealership websites) saw an 18% decline on those vehicle’s values from January 2022 through December 2022. This marked the steepest decline in the history of that index. Much like a waning “king tide,” the waters started moving fast and our dealer customers responded quickly to use TradePending tools and technology to navigate these changes successfully.
The TradePending valuation methodology, based upon real-time and local retail asking prices, held strong once again. As prices depreciated in some parts of the country faster, and differently based upon makes and models, we kept up. Additionally, our ability to configure values to meet those changes helped dealers deliver relevant trade-in offers to their own customers. There’s still no other major tool on the market that supports that level of customization and configurability.
In other absolutely huge news, we acquired AutoAPR in March 2022, a huge milestone 8 years into TradePending’s journey. Our two companies were cut from the same cloth: A clear focus on bridging the gap between the consumer and the dealer, while providing the best tools possible for converting website traffic into invaluable first-party leads.
By plugging their team and technology into our sales and marketing engine, we were able to double that segment of our business in only 9 months.
More importantly, the impact on our customers has been nothing short of outstanding. The TradePending customers that adopted AutoAPR (re-named Payments over the summer) have seen their first-party leads double overnight. Seriously. This product is proving to be an immensely valuable conversation starter in a time of rising interest rates and decreasing affordability for consumers.
To keep pace with the growth, we grew our team nearly 60% in 2022 across our support, sales, product and engineering teams. Finding that much talent was a challenge, but the TradePending team has never started a year stronger.
Forms Ain’t Dead. Another Big Year for Trade, Offer & Payments
These three products go hand-in-hand. They’re all monsters at converting website traffic into first-party leads, and each year we report on a few key stats for them.
Trade delivered just over 2.7M leads to 3,400+ dealers across the US and Canada. That’s 7,400 first-party leads per day or 308 per hour. That’s a lot.
The amount of leads converted on mobile devices went up 1.7% year over year, growing from 74.7% to 76.0.
The amount of people that started and completed the trade-in valuation process grew 7.3% in 2022. Our team invested heavily in user experience this year, and the results paid off for our customers.
One of the spicier feature releases of the year was our Hot Leads Report. This bubbles up immediately actionable data regarding returning site visitors and the vehicles they’re most interested in. It surfaces critical first-party lead data that empowers our dealer personnel to be more successful in their customer follow-up.
Inventory sourcing was a big deal last year, with dealers using every tool and tactic at their disposal to fill their lots. Offer, our configurable solution for giving consumers a single-price offer, delivered over 73,000 firm offers to people on behalf of dealers. If you needed metal, we delivered.
Finally, Payments captured 1.25M first-party leads for dealers. These leads proved to be of incredibly high value. The inbound lead contains not only a new/used vehicle selected with indication of payment preference and credit quality, but also inclusion of a trad. We call that a “super first-party lead”. Our customers that deployed all three products last year had a much easier time generating leads and sourcing inventory.
The TradePending API Expands Its Reach
We make available the same data that powers our products to other companies inside and outside automotive via our API. Two interesting things happened last year.
Because many of our clients are digital retailing platforms, we have a unique viewpoint into that space. Across the board, the rapid growth these platforms experienced in 2021 came to a stall and slight reversal in 2022.
At the start of the pandemic, many dealers quickly embraced the “buy a car online” approach because they viewed it as a smart strategic move (it is) and/or because their OEM mandated it. Our hypothesis, which is not too far fetched, is that the dealers that didn’t fully buy into the experience have since jettisoned those platforms and returned “back to the basics”.
Overall the API delivered a 24.7M vehicle valuations in 2022, almost tripling the amount over 2021. This result stems from a steady increase in new API customers added, including three new Tier 1 and major DMS/CRM players (announcements coming soon).
Supporting our Support Team
On the heels of the AutoAPR acquisition and the migration of our support platform, we invested heavily in our support team in 2022.
This team deploys hundreds of new product units each month, fields inquiries from our customers, and responds to our intelligent system notifications when a problem with a client solution is detected. This proactive approach enables us to diagnose and solve issues before our customers even notice them. The combination of these three buckets led to the team closing over 82,000 cases last year, a 25% increase over 2021.
We’ve added a new head of Support (many of you may know industry veteran Gaye Weinberger), new managers, and new support specialists to keep pace with our growth.
And in case you missed it, they’re finalists for the “Front-Line Customer Service Team of the Year – Tech Industries – Software” Stevie Award for best customer service for the third year in a row. This is a major achievement and truly deserving of a hearty “Congrats”!
What’s in Store for 2023
With rising interest rates and inventory beginning to stabilize, we’re seeing reduced demand and higher supply. Econ 101 implies it’s going to be harder to sell cars this year. We’re already seeing customers shift their focus from inventory sourcing back to lead capture and conversion, as well as sales enablement. With the 1-2-3 punch of Trade, Offer, and Payments, we’ve still got the #1 solutions for website conversion on the market.
Another reversing trend is the need for vehicle merchandising. With limited inventory in 2021-22, just about every vehicle sold, and sold quickly. Dealer’s de-emphasized merchandising as a result. Starting in late 2022 that trend took a 180 degree turn.
The aforementioned changes in supply and demand mean that dealers have gotten back to basics on quality merchandising tactics. That led to a renewed surge in our Badges product, which uses real-time and market data to highlight a vehicle’s local market supply, demand, and other unique attributes, all automatically.
We’re also on the cusp of major product announcements, but we’ll have to wait a little bit longer for that. We look forward to serving the automotive community in 2023.