Article

Best Practices Can Boost Sales

August 2006, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

by Rob Chesney - Also by this author

People all across America—and beyond—have been buying and selling vehicles on eBay Motors for more than five years. It has become a popular tool for dealers, and eBay Motors has a special section dedicated to supporting dealers. This section, located at http://pages.motors.ebay.com/services/dealers.html, offers essential information about how to get started selling your used-vehicle inventory on eBay Motors and provides a comprehensive collection of best practices that can increase online sales and profitability. The dealer pages provide tips on the most successful ways to sell vehicles online, covering such areas as selecting inventory, competitive pricing, communicating and building trust with buyers.

Selecting Inventory
Be sure to select the right vehicles for the eBay Motors channel. These include:

  • Aged inventory that would normally be slated for a wholesaler or dealer auction
  • Vehicles likely to sell well in other regions and climates
  • Vehicles with a strong following, such as performance cars and discontinued models
  • Hard-to-find vehicles, like diesel pickup trucks and certain SUVs.
  • Unusual cars – specialty, niche, collector and exotic vehicles.
  • Low mileage, older cars

Find a niche that works. On eBay Motors, dealers can be confident that the market will reflect the most current pricing and consumer demand. Don’t be afraid to experiment with different niches, and be willing to try a different type of vehicle to see if you can find new markets to use to your advantage.

eBay Motors is a good place to offer trade-ins and vehicles you would otherwise sell through wholesale channels. If you accept trade-ins that don’t fit your local market or your franchise branding, sell them nationally on eBay Motors. Setting your price at wholesale gives you the chance to boost your profitability while still offering a great deal to buyers.

Creating Listings

Before you list a vehicle on eBay Motors, inspect it. You need to provide considerable information about the vehicle to gain the online buyer’s trust, especially since they’re buying it without inspecting it personally. eBay Motors’ research shows the principal reason buyers don’t bid on a vehicle is that they cannot inspect it or are skeptical about its description in the listing. Have a certified mechanic (your own or a third party) carry out a thorough inspection. Then specify this in the listing and disclose everything, even tiny defects. This policy will work in your favor to overcome concerns potential buyers may have about the accuracy of the description.

The eBay Motors site offers a standard checklist to gather information on each vehicle. Use the same complete checklist for all your vehicles. If you use listing software, entering the VIN will populate many of the vehicle features in your listing automatically.

Photographs are essential; the more you use, the more likely the vehicle will sell. Some sellers use as many as 30 photos for a listing. However, make sure photos are not so large that they take a long time to download.

Each eBay Motors listing automatically includes the vehicle make and model, so when creating your listing subtitle, consider using attributes like “Low reserve,” “Warranty,” or “Smoke free.”
Competitive Pricing

Veteran dealers know to set the minimum price or reserve price on eBay Motors as low as possible. This helps prospective buyers meet your lowest price and gives them an opportunity to bid a higher price. A low starting price will also attract more eligible bidders, which means it will gain more attention and create momentum.

While listings with reserve prices are an effective way to ensure against a loss, “no reserve” listings usually drive a higher number of bids and create a positive bidding emotion among buyers.

You can use the “Buy It Now” (BIN) feature and provide customers with an option to immediately purchase the vehicle. The BIN price should be somewhere between wholesale and retail prices, no more than $1,000 above your minimum price. If it’s too low, buyers will jump on it and you lose the option of achieving potentially higher prices from other interested buyers. If it’s too high, it will discourage buyers.

Communicating with Buyers

To establish trust in your listings and avoid negative feedback, dealers should get to know the individuals bidding on their vehicles and build relationships with them. It’s important to designate a qualified salesperson to manage your listings and initiate contact with bidders through e-mail or phone calls during the auction. Don’t allow prospects to leave “your lot” without communicating with them.

Building Trust

Just like in the offline world, no one wants to shop on a run-down lot full of potholes. Present a professional appearance online. Use tools like CARad (www.carad.com) to create clean and attractive listings, and be sure your photos are sharp.

Use the “About Me” page to present your credentials and experience and share a little about your business to reflect your positive reputation. It becomes your own personal Web page to market your business.

Consider becoming a “Condition Guarantee by Seller” program member. By agreeing to fair dealing, working in good faith on issues and mediation, you give buyers the confidence they are purchasing from a quality, long-term seller who guarantees his or her vehicle descriptions.

Building positive feedback on eBay Motors is essential to creating trust. Exceed your customers’ expectations of customer service and encourage happy buyers to provide feedback through the site.

Employ these best practices, and you will begin to see the benefits of how eBay Motors can be a
premier, complementary sales channel to your online and offline business.
Vol 2, Issue 12

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