Article

Online Sales Go Full Circle: Tips And Techniques To Making Sourcing Inventory Online As Easy As Finding A Buyer

June 2007, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

by Rob Chesney - Also by this author

Most dealers have made selling online a significant part of their daily business. Yet when the time comes to rebuild inventory levels, most are also missing a big opportunity—buying. The traditional stand-bys of trade-ins and auctions have held on as the familiar methods for bringing in new vehicles. As the marketplace changes due to new pricing and leasing structures, vehicle longevity demands, and evolving consumer needs, these methods are quickly losing their ability to supply the right amount and selection of inventory for most dealerships. In today’s world, too little selection means too little attention from customers.

Fortunately, the solution to finding the right inventory is the same as the solution to finding the right buyer. Just as it does for any buyer, the Internet offers dealers a chance to find the best deal on the best selection of vehicles from across the country and around the world. As most active sellers on eBay Motors will attest, the Web makes sourcing the right inventory for any dealership a breeze.

Why Buy Online?

Consumers today are shopping online because they know they can find and buy just about anything on the Web much more easily than they ever could going from store to store. For auto dealers, there are five big reasons to do your shopping online as well.

•     Efficiency: Instead of spending time at auctions and private sales, the Web offers the opportunity to shop 24/7. On eBay Motors, dealers can even save searches to monitor the inventory they are seeking more quickly and conveniently.

•     Affordability: The Internet makes comparing prices simple and helps make the best deals easy to find. Sites also offer dealers the ability to bid on vehicles or negotiate prices with sellers, in order to get the best value.

• Selection: Right now there are thousands of vehicles for sale online—virtually every make and model and in any condition. Keeping the right selection on hand is important for maximizing sales at any dealership, and the Web offers the best way to find it.

•     Service: Every dealer can tell the story about customers ready to buy with cash-in-hand that walked away because they couldn’t find what they wanted. Today, entrepreneurial dealers can find that customer’s dream car online, bring it to their lot and close the sale before that customer has a chance to get away.

•     Experience: All dealers should make an online vehicle purchase to better understand the process, develop new customer service ideas and further enhance their own sales online.

How to Buy Online

It’s just like selling online. If buyers follow the following four steps, buying a vehicle on the Web is easy.

•     Find the right vehicle. Search for the models that sell best on the lot. Most dealers are surprised by just how much selection there is online.

•     Find the right seller. Check feedback ratings to learn more about the seller and their transaction history. Along with feedback, it is always important to speak with the seller to ask any questions that come up in the process.

•     Find the right price. Dealers buying online often begin by calculating all the costs of purchasing a vehicle online (including transportation) and comparing that figure to their own estimated selling price. When the margin is right, the price is too.
•     Complete the sale – Since most sellers expect a down payment to be made quickly, online services like PayPal are convenient tools to begin closing any sale. After making the first payment, have the vehicle checked by a certified mechanic. When everything is set and the vehicle’s condition confirmed, complete the payment in person or through a certified transaction system online. Never use Western Union, MoneyGram or other instant cash transfer methods to purchase a vehicle.

Dealers using the Web to both buy and sell inventory put themselves in the best position to get the most out of their sales, both online and off. Active dealers will find that the Internet allows them to easily meet demand, source inventory, build profitability, and even take advantage of the pricing and selection of their local market to earn more nationally online. As the Internet continues to expand, new services are creating additional opportunities for dealers to not only enhance their sales online, but the rest of their business as well.

Vol 4, Issue 5

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