Few weeks ago, we had a chance to sit down and talk to Frankie and Danny, the co-founders of Autodeal.com.ph, one of the most successful online automotive sites in the region. We at Expat.com.ph are very interested to meet with highly successful expats running successful businesses in the Philippines.
Matt Stuart (Expat.com.ph) (E): What brought you to the Philippines?
Daniel Scott (D): Chris and I didn’t know each other back in the UK. I came here on New Year’s day 2008, whilst completing my MSc at University and took part in a volunteering project in Tacloban.
Christopher Franks (C): Yes, we met in Tacloban City after 6 months, whilst backpacking, Eventually, volunteering with an NGO in Tacloban.
E: How did you come up with the idea of the website?
D: We both ended up working within and running a US technology company in Tacloban and we were looking for a company before car dealerships had really landed in Tacloban. We looked online, and there was very little information, and what information there was was usually out of date. From this experience we discussed about building a similar platform to autotrader.co.uk, which was successful in the UK. So we built a used car platform called Pinoyautotrader.com.ph, which was our first company.
E: Tell us a little about your history here, we understand you started Pinoyautotrader.com.ph prior to Autodeal.com.ph.
D: Pinoyautotrader.com.ph was built between 2011-2013. It was acquired by sulit.com.ph / OLX.com.ph in 2012. We worked with OLX for a year, moving from Leyte to Manila. Then in 2014 we started autodeal.com.ph which was specifically for the new car market, unlike PinoyAutotrader, which was used car classifieds. We aimed autodeal at new cars, and received our seed investment from FutureNow ventures, a prominent early stage investor in the Philippines.
E: Its much different from OLX?
E: Can you give a brief overview of how Autodeal engages with users?
D: For consumers we empower them to shop around dealers for quotes on vehicles, and by assisting them from start to finish on the purchase of their new vehicle. We also offer surrounding services like financing and insurance. For our brand and dealer clients we provide access to potential car buyers, technology to help them manage their leads and ultimately more sales.
C: We are not looking at other markets and totally committed to the Philippines, extending our capabilities after a sale has occurred to help the consumer manage their car ownership and eventual sale of their vehicle.
E: We would be interested to know how Autodeal Lead Management System interacts with dealers.
D and C: The Customer shops around our new car offerings and selects the vehicle of their choice and can send an inquiry to up to 3 local dealers. The registered dealer sales agents app and receive the lead on their AutoDeal for agents app, from where they can reply and manage their leads. The dealer and manufacturer are then able to view the following:
- Number of inquiries received by the dealer
- Average time for inquiry to be replied to (National average is just under 3 hours)
- Sales agent reply quality
- No. of sales made each month
- Lead to sale conversion
E: What is your monthly activity looks like?
C: Average 2.7 million visits/month and 8.6 million page views/month. They are not all from the Philippines, as around 20% of our audience is OFW, coming from the Middle East, US and Europe. We usually generate 25,000 leads a month. Last year, we tracked 15,000+ sales and looking to increase this year to 25,000 – 30,000. Right now, we have 300+ dealers registered with us.
E: Who’s your competitors in the market?
D: We have competitors in different sectors. For used cars, its OLX.com.ph. Otherwise, it’s topgear.com.ph with re: to media, but in terms of new car lead and sales generation there is no direct competitor.
C: We are unique in providing performance matrix’s to dealers and manufacturers, which are collected through the sales agent app. How many people have inquired, had a test drive, received car financing and ultimately purchased a vehicle. We have had to educate the dealers the value of leads and how to communicate in a digital environment. Transparency is at the core of AutoDeal, providing brands with agent, media and sales performance.
Autodeal app screenshots
E: This information should be gold to all the stakeholders.
D: We have very good relationships with our key manufacturers that we work with and many ways work not as a provider of media but as a consultant helping to interpret the data that we provide and suggesting recommendations to enhance their business.
E: What are your biggest challenges so far?
D: Our main challenges are educating sales agents and dealers to interact with customers in a digital manner. To help combat this we help agents keep track of important leads and provide various tools to help them communicate with customers efficiently.
C: It is important to engage with the inquirer as quickly as possible, with the information they expect, yes or no answer is not good enough. Traditionally dealers have always aimed to call their leads, but more and more users expect a digital response as they are shopping around, and will look for a phone call once they are more sure about the car they wish to buy.
E: Outside of your work, what are your hobbies?
D: I used to play golf back in the UK so I would like to get back into it. I also enjoy playing tennis a few days a week. With a young family my kids like to keep me busy as well.
C: Before AutoDeal I really enjoyed traveling, and I definitely will look to get back to that over the next few years, with South America on the top of my bucket list. On a day to day basis I like to hit the gym, do some boxing and take my Golden Retriever for walks around the lake.
E: Is there a plan on expanding your website to other countries?
D: I don’t think so. Each country is very unique, especially in South East Asia and networks take a long time to cultivate. When you are working with such in depth industry products you really need to focus on getting right in your first country before even thinking about expanding to another.
E: What are your short and long terms goals for Autodeal?
D and C: Short term goal is to win the new car market and we probably have around 60% market share as of now, and we probably have another 12 months to go to be clear leaders. We will be looking to expand and really establish ourselves in the used car market. Long term goal would be to manage the whole life cycle of a car from purchasing to ownership and sale of the vehicle.
Founded in 2014, AutoDeal enables car-buyers to simultaneously request multiple quotations from brand new and used car dealers. These requests are managed seamlessly with their dealership lead-management technology, enabling smooth and hassle-free transactions with accredited agents from AutoDeal Partner Dealers throughout the country.
With a wide-variety of automotive content on hand and multiple ways to transact with dealers, AutoDeal continues to find new ways to deliver on the promise of “Car Buying, Simplified.”
Go visit their website at https://www.autodeal.com.ph/