“All our Carsome Certified cars come with the Carsome Promise where the cars have gone through a stringent 175-point inspection,” Cheng told Inside Retail. “They also come with a one-year warranty, a five-day money-back guarantee, and an all-inclusive price with no hidden fees.”
Cheng said car sellers are given an option on their site for Carsome’s on-the-spot price offer, or put their cars up for bidding by a nationwide network of dealers.
“The entire transaction is transparent, where sellers have full visibility of the pricing and are able to sell their cars in 24 hours or less. In the traditional offline setting, it may take up to months to sell their cars, in which the seller might eventually sell at a disadvantaged price.”
According to Piyush Palkar, Carsome’s chief data officer, investing in technology and digitalisation offers new opportunities to boost agility, reliability and efficiency, which can provide more control and greater end-to-end visibility across the used car industry.
“To become a data-driven organisation, we need to establish an effective, deeply-ingrained data culture,” Palkar told Inside Retail. “Every organisation has data but democratising it in the right way, enabling a data culture and becoming value driven are the keys to success.”
Carsome’s data centre of excellence
Carsome recently established a data centre of excellence (COE) to, according to the company, revolutionise Southeast Asia’s used car industry through digitalisation and to empower decision-making in business.
Carsome’s data COE is a four-function team, which comprises experts in the fields of Business Intelligence, Data Science, Insights and Data Engineering, who help with the power of data at all stages to enable evidence-based decision making.
The team creates analytics initiatives that need to be run for business, be it understanding Carsome’s customers and their journeys by creating different user personas, understanding demand and supply to support our inventory acquisition and liquidation strategies.
“Essentially, the team’s focus is to ensure that we create an impact on revenue, operational efficiency and improved customer experience,” Palkar said.
“Internally, data digitalises workflows and processes,” he added. “When we improve internal products with artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) capabilities, various operations, such as car number plate masking and car scoring engine, become automated. This in turn reduces the time our inspectors take to inspect a car, subsequently promoting better efficiency internally while providing a faster car-selling process for consumers.”
Palkar said the company’s use of data COE cuts across various business and support functions which have a direct impact on their strategic drivers and levers.
“For example, marketing is a driver which helps us reach different channels. Data helps our marketing team in identifying the different user segments, as well as effective channels; these can then help them identify and create value propositions that matter to the right target audience.”
Similarly, Palkar said when talking about levers, operations, organisational and product levers help them understand which core services are working well in operations and what product services they need to build.
“An exhaustive use of data in these verticals will help us achieve our growth objectives,” he said.
Carsome’s deal with ASX-listed iCar Asia
Now with about 100,000 cars transacted annually on its marketplace, more than 460,000 live partner listings and over 13,000 car dealers in its network, Carsome recently announced its plans to acquire ASX-listed automotive listings platform iCar Asia in a transaction worth more than $200 million.
Carsome said the deal with iCar Asia will create an integrated automotive ecosystem that targets a region that trades over US$55 billion worth of automobiles annually.
With Carsome and iCar Asia combined, dealers will be able to source, advertise and sell cars on Carsome’s online marketplace and consumers will be able to research, sell and buy cars.
In the iCar Asia deal, Carsome has agreed to acquire 19.9 per cent of the listings and content automotive platform from Malaysia internet conglomerate Catcha Group. Catcha Group, in return, will become a shareholder in Carsome Group.
According to Carsome, they have made a joint proposal with Catcha Group to iCar Asia’s directors to buy the rest of the company, 80.1 per cent, from its shareholders.
“This transaction is an important part of our growth strategy to build the entire automotive ecosystem in Southeast Asia and part of how we are transforming the industry through trust, transparency and technology,” Cheng said.
“This is the first step toward consolidation to form the largest digital automotive group in terms of revenue, user base, largest live listing, and the best end-to-end fulfilment capability in the region.”