Cox Automotive - MUVIT
Building and scaling Cox Automotive’s MUVIT platform from $0 to $150M+ in auto sales
Amazon Web Services (AWS)
Backend & Infrastructure Development
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About MUVIT & Cox Automotive
Manheim, a division of Cox Automotive, is the world’s largest wholesale auto marketplace. They approached Lazer with the goal of designing, building, and launching a platform that would take their offline, in-person car auctions and put it on the internet.
Connecting Lazer's background in building and launching great consumer and automotive products with Manheim’s extensive automotive knowledge resulted in a match made in heaven, and huge wins for Cox Automotive and the MUVIT platform. While we built and operated the platform, we helped scale it to sell over $150,000,000 within a year and a half - all with a nimble team of A+ Lazer executors.
Transitioning seamlessly from offline to online
Because Manheim already had over 100 locations and sold several million of cars a year, the product needed to feel like a seamless transition from an in-lane car auction to an online one.
To pull this off, Lazer built deep integrations into Manheim's systems which required no manual intervention whatsoever. As soon as a vehicle was checked into the physical auction, its details, images, and photos were automatically pulled into the Marketplace platform ready for sale.
Understanding the buyer
Auction buyers are power users by nature. Vehicles sell in a matter of minutes, so buyers need to be able to quickly sort through the inventory, find the vehicles they're interested in, and have all the data they need to decide if they should bid or not. With this in mind, we designed MUVIT to support hundreds of core features.
Instead of querying MongoDB directly, a custom Elasticsearch integration allowed for an indexed, fast search infrastructure that allowed MUVIT buyers to find and filter vehicles based on hundreds of properties such as year, make, and model, to nuances such as distance from me, engine size, transmission, and Autograde score.
Custom SMS, email, and in-app notifications
An online auction can be better than an in-lane auction because it happens 7 days a week, 24 hours a day. To further give buyers an edge, the Marketplace platform supports custom notifications.
Buyers can set constraints like "Hondas that are red and newer than 2012 with manual transmission" and as soon as a vehicle that hits those constraints is listed, they get a notification wherever they want it.
At a traditional in-lane car auction, a buyer can only bid on one vehicle at a time because they have to be present to outbid other buyers.
With MUVIT, we gave buyers the ability to create a "Proxy Bid" which is essentially a max bid. As others bid on the vehicle, a buyer could set a proxy which would outbid the others in increments of $100 to ensure they get the lowest possible price below their maximum proxy.
Yes, the proxies can even bid against each other!
It's all in the cards!
One of the hardest parts of managing an auction is the abundance of state. A vehicle could be in a negotiating phase after the sale, it could be sold but not paid for, it could be listed but not yet started… the list goes on!
In order to manage all this state, but still keep a consistent interface for a vehicle we created a vehicle card which is an isolated component that can exist anywhere on the app -in the purchases section, search area, under related vehicles, and so on.
A two-sided marketplace
You can't have buyers without sellers! Sellers trust Manheim to store their vehicles at the auction, and now with MUVIT they have one place where they can manage all their inventory, launch their own sales events, or add vehicles to Manheim's pre-created sale events.
One platform, multiple applications
MUVIT isn't just a website - it's a complete white-label solution. With one codebase, and one deployment, Manheim's sellers such as BMW and RepoDepo were able to launch auction platforms of their own, powered by MUVIT.
For instance, RepoDepo was able to send their customers to Repo Depo Connect - their exclusive online auction for repossessed vehicles: https://www.repodepoconnect.ca/
Because MUVIT exists as one codebase, when RepoDepo's auction gets new features - those same features are immediately available to BMW, Honda, or anyone else who launches their white labelled auction, backed by MUVIT!
By launching quickly, doing daily production releases, and having a small, focused team of Lazer engineers, Cox Automotive & Manheim were able to add hundreds of features to the MUVIT platform within months of launching.
With open-marketplaces, multiple auction types, admin management, CarFax, vin decoding, transportation integrations, and more, it would take a 1000+ page novel to elaborate more on all the features we built into this product to grow MUVIT from $0 to $150,000,000+.
At the end of the day, both Lazer and Manheim remain committed to the growth of MUVIT and are excited to see it grow to billions in revenue!