It was an empire. If you wanted to sell a car, then Autotrader was the place. Dealers paid huge monthly payments, and AutoTrader took home giant profits.
When Trade Me entered the market AutoTrader was unable or unwilling to react online – their online offering was appalling. Inside Trade Me we used to say we were blessed with incompetent competition.
Now, sadly, the AutoTrader print publication has ceased to exist, and that online market opportunity is long gone. If you want to buy or sell a used car in New Zealand, then the market is on Trade Me.
It’s a great lesson to incumbants across all industries – when discontinuities happen you must change or risk losing everything. AutoTrader should have known this lesson – after all they were the change that the previous marketplaces had failed to react to.
Change can mean serious revenue loss, at least in the short term, but at risk is the loss of everything.