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    Collections Technology | 3 min read

    COVID-19 Disrupts the Remarketing Process and Drives Digital Solutions

    There’s no question that we saw a complete transformation in the remarketing space last year, as COVID-19 drove almost all buying activity to a digital environment. While the pandemic seems to be winding down, with 50% of U.S. citizens having received two vaccinations at the time of writing, and businesses gradually reopening, the seismic shift in the industry shows no signs of abating.

    I recently spoke with Stacey White, Senior VP of Remarketing and Title Services for North America at Partners in Asset Recovery (PAR), to get more insight into how COVID-19-related disruptions to the traditional remarketing process are driving the adoption of digital buying platforms across the country.


    We all know that last year’s COVID-19-related shutdowns had a huge impact on in-person buying patterns, but now that things are getting back to a sense of normal, can we expect the industry to return to relying on traditional sales channels?


    I’d like to answer your question with some data. If you take a look at this graph, you’ll notice it displays the dramatic shift we experienced in April 2020, when all buying shifted to a completely digital environment due to state shutdowns. You can see a slight increase in physical sales as businesses began to open up again in the fall and winter months, but it's still overwhelmingly evident in buying patterns that digital buying is not going away.

    COVID-19-Disrupts-the-Remarketing-Process-and-Drives-Digital-Solutions_Chart (1)

    In fact, dealers’ buying patterns indicate that, even as more and more auctions transition back to in-person bidding and buying, digital still seems to be the platform of choice for dealers. This means dealers are expanding their buying radius, which is great for remarketers who are properly managing their digital marketing platforms.


    How are digital buying platforms changing the remarketing buyer base?


    For one thing, dealers are reaching outside of their typical buying markets—this, in turn, means more eyes on your vehicles. The following two images really highlight how digital platforms are changing the traditional buyer base:

    COVID-19-Disrupts-the-Remarketing-Process-and-Drives-Digital-Solutions_Graphs-01 (1)

    The first map shows you our buyer base at PAR in January of 2020. The blue dots represent the number of dealers bidding on and buying the vehicles, and the orange dots represent bidders only. The areas shaded green relate to how many unique buyers were captured in those states. If you look closely at where the majority of those larger blue dots are, they directly correlate to areas where physical auctions are located.

    COVID-19-Disrupts-the-Remarketing-Process-and-Drives-Digital-Solutions_Graphs-02 (1)
    Transitioning to the second map, this represents our buyer base in January of 2021. As you can see, there is less concentration around each of those auctions, and we have more bidders reaching across many other states. You can see that we're capturing bidders and buyers in areas where we didn't have a concentration or any representation in January 2020.

    In Wyoming, West Virginia, Vermont, and Maine, no auction presence is represented in our buyer base. When you look at the increase in unique bidders, the greater percentage of overall buyers we are able to reach with this digital platform, and the increase in unique bidders from 171 to 505, I think this highlights how powerful digital buying platforms are, and what a positive force for change “going digital” has been for the remarketing process.


    It is important for lenders to partner with organizations with access to digital solutions so their risk management programs remain intact, whether through the normal course of business or when unexpected shifts occur. At SWBC, in addition to our real-time integration capabilities and scalable system that allows your institution to leverage access to nationwide partnerships, our Asset Recovery application provides your staff with access to vehicle recovery, skip tracing, remarketing, and title services through a single software platform. Streamline your asset recovery process with an efficient and cost-effective outsourced partner like SWBC.

    Click here to learn more about our omnichannel solution

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    Karen Townsend

    Karen Townsend is the Director of Product Sales for SWBC and possesses an extensive history in the auto finance industry, specifically within the repossession and remarketing arena. She has led operational teams at a senior level and has also been on the sales side of the house, working directly with clients to help them navigate through their loss mitigation needs. Having been a client herself, Karen brought a unique perspective to her previous position as SWBC's Loss Mitigation Program Manager, giving her the ability to deliver insights from an operational and functional point of view. She is dedicated to the highest levels of customer service and to delivering client solutions that offer the most streamlined, efficient, and effective solutions available. Karen holds a master’s degree in organizational leadership with an emphasis on strategic innovation and change management from Colorado State University and a bachelor’s degree in organization development from Regis University.

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