Rapid Time-to-Market, Brand Security and Transparency for Everyone
Even for Cox Automotive Australia CTO Jeremy Gupta, buying a new car isn’t painless. “There are fears that are inherent in the car-buying process, and for me not being a car enthusiast, it was understanding what is the right car for my lifestyle.”
To accommodate the safety and utility required by having two young kids, Gupta eventually took home a Hyundai Santa Fe.
But he’s quick to point out that he had people in the industry guiding him. It’s that same insight, understanding, and advantage that Gupta and his team are systematically building into their Autotrader Australia site, especially since recent Cox research shows that 55% of buyers turn to the web as part of their car-buying journey.
Autotrader grew out of the editorial brand CarsGuide, which offers reviews, news, and advice on car ownership. In 2016, Cox Automotive joined forces with more than 30 auto dealers to expand into the Australian market. The group is also taking on two strong brands currently dominating the classifieds marketplace with an app and site tailored for both buyers and sellers.
Australia, says Gupta, is catching up to the U.S. in terms of the car-buying transparency available through sites like CarGurus. “Autotrader’s a new challenger in the market,” says Gupta. “It’s built on trust and transparency.” Rather than a calcified business model, partnering with dealers means Autotrader can also offer the benefit of a marketplace tailored for both buyers and sellers.
Building the site and digital experience from the ground up meant starting with a sophisticated SEO engine that drives content based on audience intent, says Gupta. But in this competitive arena, getting to market quickly would give their David an edge on the current Goliaths. And that meant outsourcing identity to a trusted third-party — Auth0.
“[Auth0] enables the teams to move at speed,” says Gupta. “That gives the teams more focus on things that we can solve and things that we have in our own destiny. The second [reason] is the premium consumer experience that we can get through an identity platform like Auth0.”
That premium experience allows users to shortlist a car or save a search of a set of vehicles they want to see again. A wall between the user’s ability shortlist and save searches could lead to dropouts they expect to avoid thanks to Auth0’s flexible registration, says Gupta.
Auth0 also allows Autotrader to offer protection against fraud. “Marketplaces can be a heavily fraudulent space. A lot of scammers list fake cars and they have different mobile numbers and email addresses or whatever, and they try to convince people to wire transfer money.” Instrumenting Auth0 in the private seller experience allows Autotrader to verify mobile and email using out-of-the-box flows plus customization. “We also get some really strong moderation through the Auth0 platform, which allows our customer service team to jump on fraudulent users ahead of time,” says Gupta.
Because people don’t buy cars on a daily basis, Cox found they had some problems with “ghost users” who might have registered a year or more ago but were no longer active on the site. Auth0 offered a flexible pricing model that has Cox paying only for active users while offering Single Sign On across brands. “The ease of use of Auth0 and flexibility is actually the thing that we’ve taken advantage of the most. We’ve been able to take all the use cases and satisfy them with Auth0 out-of-the-box with little or no configuration or with bespoke code that we’ve been able to add in as part of the setup,” says Gupta.
In addition to a smooth engineering experience and rapid time-to-market, Gupta cites the ability to offload initial development costs and future maintenance as strong ROIs. Estimating that it would have needed a team of six many months to build an effective identity solution, Autotrader has saved potentially $255,000 AUD at launch, with additional savings to accrue through avoidance of maintenance costs. “[With Auth0] we’ve been able to go to market with a really premium consumer experience for Autotrader in days.”
Getting quickly to market increases the revenue-generating opportunities, says Gupta. But the hype necessary to build brand also brings risks. “The second business challenge is the brand, really, and protecting it. If three months later people find out that all our information that we captured has gone and got leaked, that brand and all that advertising and all that spend don’t really count for much,” he says, which is part of why it’s a relief to be able to rely on Auth0.