Article

Selling The Alternative: Building An Online Dealership To Reach More Customers

November 2006, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

by Rob Chesney - Also by this author

Comfort and experience have helped make consumers more confident when shopping online, and with that comes the willingness to make even significant purchases online, unseen. Remember, two out of every three car buyers used the Internet during the buying process last year, according to the latest findings from J.D. Power and Associates.

The Internet allows consumers to search a vast selection of vehicles, read reviews, access reports, compare prices and look for deals. Most importantly, they can do it all at their own convenience. It is important for dealers to take advantage of this type of consumer behavior by establishing an online presence.

The ability to market and sell vehicles online is becoming more critical every day. Below are a few best practices from dealers using eBay Motors to help your dealership make the Internet leap.
 
Service is your business
Your online buyers demand the same kind of attention, service and responsiveness they receive on the lot. Dedicating staff to your online presence will enhance your dealership, put your customers at ease and increase your sales.
Dedicated Support

Most of the successful dealers have an assigned sales staff handling all online activities. One or more individuals should be selected to carry the responsibility for your online sales. They can establish relationships with potential buyers and close the deal without disrupting your existing dealership operations.

Two-way communication

Respond to questions from potential buyers promptly, whether it is through e-mail or phone.

Always pay attention to the feedback your customers are giving you to help you provide even better service in the future. If you are using an eBay Motors account, be sure to monitor your official feedback. Positive feedback is especially important, as it establishes credibility and helps comfort your prospective customers about making a large purchase online.

Take your brand with you online

Always present your company in a professional manner. Your online presence is an extension of your dealership; therefore it is critical to maintain your professional, trustworthy atmosphere in all your online listings. Be sure to incorporate the same logo, colors and graphic style in your listings that you use in your store signage and marketing materials.

Selling online: What’s new, what’s not

One principle that applies to all sales online and offline – know your customer. The key to boosting sales and getting real value from selling online is offering the right selection at the right prices and utilizing appropriate sales tools. For the most part, your online customers will be looking for the same things as the customers that come to your lot. There are a few subtle differences, however, and knowing these can help dramatically improve your online sales returns.

Selection is everything

One of the primary attractions for a consumer looking for a vehicle online is that they can expect a vast selection which helps them save valuable time. Dealers should not be shy about experimenting with their inventory and understanding what best suits the needs of the online consumer.

Price to sell

Your customers are looking for a vehicle that is competitively priced. If you’re pricing high and expecting to negotiate, your customers will likely rule you out altogether in favor of another vehicle with a lower starting price. It is important to price competitively, but be willing to negotiate. Dealers on eBay Motors have the option to add “Best Offer” function to each of their listings. Best Offer allows dealers to accept offers from multiple buyers, select the best offer and negotiate a final price, all through their eBay listing.

Merchandising

The golden rule of merchandising online is always: provide as much information as possible. This is even more important when it comes to big ticket items such as cars. Research shows buyers are more likely to purchase a vehicle online when they feel comfortable they have been given all the information they need. Providing detailed photos, disclosing even the tiniest defects and offering vehicle history reports will help make your potential customers more confident when buying from you. Also, be willing to go beyond expectations. Offer services or recommendations for third-party inspections, financing and vehicle delivery. A little extra effort to deliver superior service goes a long way.

For more information on tips and best practices, go to, http://pages.motors.ebay.com/services/dealers.html
 
Vol 3, Issue 9

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