You don’t have to be a techie to realise that one of the terms all too easily thrown around these days is that of being a disruptor. It seems every company wants to be known as one – and for a good reason.
Think about the likes of AirBnB, Uber, and others who have changed the way people go about their daily lives. But what does it really mean to disrupt an industry?
Co-founders of auction.co.za, William Miller and Renaldo de Jager (above) are uniquely positioned to provide insight on this as their business has reinvented the way cars are sold online in South Africa.
How would you classify being a disruptor?
Even though the terms disruption and innovation have become interchangeable, a distinction must be made. When it comes to innovation, it is about introducing a new, more effective way of doing something. However, disruption fundamentally changes an industry by providing customers with more cost-effective (and significantly different) ways of doing things.
For our part, auction.co.za has introduced the concept of ‘brick & click’ vehicle offering to the market that has radically transformed the automotive approach in the country. So, while people have traditionally used the internet for research prior to visiting a dealership to buy a car, they stopped short of using the technology to fulfil the deal.
Thanks to the growing millennial market, buying high-value items online have become business as usual. Using a site such as ours, we are providing customers with an all-in-one service from ascertaining vehicle information to buying one. Everything is done in one user-friendly environment.
“Thanks to the growing millennial market, buying high-value items online have become business as usual.”
How important is the millennial market to becoming a disruptor?
The buying force of millennials cannot be ignored. They are living the connected lifestyle, reliant on mobile devices, apps, social networking, and streaming services. Millennials want to be entertained and engaged in different ways than their parents.
For them, car-buying is an experience that needs to blend their offline and online worlds. This extends to just about every service offered today from insurance to banking. The link between what happens in the virtual world and the real one must be completely seamless. Millennials do not want to buy their cars from a dealership that does not even have a website or provide any relevant information online. It is all about being a one-stop-shop whether this talks to car buying or ride-sharing, ordering food or watching movies.
Why should people use an auction site and not a traditional dealership?
Traditionally, most online platforms work with dealer networks and car manufacturers. Even though they provide for a hassle-free car-buying experience, the power of auction sites like auction.co.za cannot be discounted. These sites are more cost-effective and not beholden to any brand or manufacturer. For us, it is all about putting the digital customer at the centre of our value proposition. And by going online to make a purchase, consumers are saving on all the associated ‘middle-man’ fees.
What was your disruption journey?
To become what many consider to be the Uber of car sales, we come from humble beginnings. The company started by focusing on delivering a desktop valuation app. This expanded to include digital inspections and quickly snowballed from there to introduce new ways of overcoming the traditional obstacles of car ownership.
Throughout this journey, our focus has been on using digital to simplify the vehicle buying and selling process. Using our platform, there is no need for any person to ever even visit a dealership. It really is about simplifying it to the extent of doing everything with the swipe of a finger.
“Using our platform, there is no need for any person to ever even visit a dealership. It really is about simplifying it to the extent of doing everything with the swipe of a finger.”
What advice can you give others who want to disrupt?
Disruption is not something that happens overnight. It takes a lot of hard work, thinking out of the box, and a willingness to sacrifice time (and money) to be a disruptor. However, it also requires an appetite for risk which many might not enjoy doing.
Most importantly, being disruptive is only part of the journey. You still need a foundation in solid business principles. Just because you are the first to do something does not automatically mean you will be the winner. It is about consistently delivering a high-quality customer experience while making up the rules as you go. There will be naysayers, but it is all about persevering and being focused on what you set out to accomplish.