CarProof to offer new tools for dealers

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CarProof is definitely not resting on its laurels.

The London, Ontario-based company known best for its vehicle history reports said its stable of offerings will expand in 2014 with a new vehicle valuation tool and a desktop/tablet-enabled recondition product aimed at helping dealers in appraising trade-ins.

“We have a lot of meaningful data meaning we can repurpose the data and go into other verticals,” explained Joe Varkey, V-P of marketing and communications.

“Being a one-trick pony with vehicle history reports is not the long-term goal. We will continue to develop the VHR side of the business including some exciting consumer-facing branding planned for next year, but there is so many different verticals we can serve with different industries with that data.”

Set to launch in the first quarter of next year is a vehicle valuation tool. Marty Meadows, V-P of data acquisition and strategic partnerships, said the product ties in with the company’s vision of insight through information.

Set to focus on vehicle valuation, CarProof will be delivering the offering, which will be “powered” by a yet-to-be revealed partner company, to dealers in the coming months.

“There will be a few different phases,” Meadows explained, noting Q1 2014 should see a “look back valuation” tool offered to dealers with a more VIN-specific application for a consumer-facing option given a Q4 target date.

The first quarter of 2014 will also see the team start beta testing a product dubbed CarProof Recon. The tablet and desktop-enabled tool allows dealers to factor in recondition costs in real time with the customer while assessing a trade-in vehicle.

Free to dealers, the app will keep a running tally on the recon costs based on the shop rates stored in its settings that come courtesy of the Mitchell Estimate Database.

Staff can choose from fields that allow for specification of severity, such as minor dent, major dent or replace. When the appraisal is complete, the app uploads the data to CarProof and stores it within the dealer’s account.

Stores without tablets can use the company’s appraisal diagrams available online for print out and use. Users can then copy the findings from the paper into the digital program.

Shawn Vording, ‎director of product management at CarProof, said the program would generate an appraisal document detailing what the dealer would have to pay to recon the car.

“Since Mitchell provides the parts costs and amount of labour required for repair and labour rates can be configured within the app’s settings, CarProof Recon takes the guesswork out of costs,” he said.

Both of these products were revealed to roughly 50 attendees to CarProof’s first client advisory board meeting held at the Blue Mountain Resort in Collingwood, Ontario in mid-October.

Held over the course of three days, it included a comprehensive look at CarProof’s Product Roadmap, insight into the company’s co-branding activities, business breakout sessions specific to each customer category and a number of networking opportunities.

“The event was an opportunity for CarProof to thank customers for their continued support and also gather important feedback,” Varkey said.

“Everything that comes to product development or marketing has to take into account the voice of the customer. Just because we think something is neat, doesn’t mean it has legs. We have to ask the end user. The entire vision behind the advisory board was not to lecture but have two-way dialogue with our customers and partners. We gave them the big picture and listened to what they had to say.”

With attendees made up of dealers, corporate accounts (OEMs) and auctions with people from as far away as B.C. and Alberta, Meadows said the event was a smash success and will certainly become an annual affair.