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Successful Best Practices Selling Cars on the Internet

Community  /   /  By Justin Petrovay

Attract more customers by enhancing vehicle details page with engaging content

Merchandising means “presenting a product to the market by carrying out organized, skillful advertising, using attractive displays”. There are a set of rules and required skill sets to merchandise vehicles to those who are able to touch and feel, experience a car first hand. There are also a separate but related set of strategies that ought to be followed when displaying a car to those shopping on the Internet. To be successful in engaging buyers, you need to provide a “virtual test drive” via a well designed Vehicle Details Page (VDP). Having more than 90% of vehicle buyers starting their car buying online, vehicle sellers need to get savvy at creating compelling VDPs, and understand how to build confidence in their buyers’ mind about their business practices.

There are many examples of nice looking, comprehensive listings on eBay Motors, but most still think of online listings as static replicates of old classified print ads with a few pictures, two sentences and a phone number.

As we work with the most successful dealers on the site we see what works and what doesn’t. Let us share a few best practices on how you need to position your cars and your dealership on eBay to increase your chances of success. This will not be all encompassing but it’s a start:

1) Almost goes without saying, but high number of quality photos do more for engagement of a potential buyers attention more than anything. Having close ups of details (console, rims, scratches), as well as your wide shots tells the buyer you are transparent and there will be no surprises when you get the car. Our research shows that listings with 40+ images are 70% more likely to sell than those with less. If the car has a moonroof, take a picture of it closed and open, to show that’s in working order. Same with navigation units, DVD screens, convertible roofs etc. if you have keys, owners manuals, service receipts take a picture of those too.

Good example of successful listing (detailed description, large gallery of quality photos): Rotisserie Restored 1970 Challenger HEMI Convertible

2) Don’t expect an options list to sell you the car. Tell as much of the story of the car as you can, think about what type of person might be interested in the car; your description of the vehicle should paint a picture of owning the vehicle. Think about how would the car be used e.g.: “this minivan will provide the comfort and safety for weekly your trips to Grandma’s house”, “boost the credibility of your success with this luxury sedan”, etc…

3) Intersperse your VDP with what we call Digital Call to Action features. These are not just your phone number or email addresses presented at multiple places in the listing. They also address the buyers’ possible questions or concerns and prompt to act on those. Imagine as the looker is scrolling through the 40+ photos and getting more and more captivated by your car. Now instead of making him or her scroll back to the top to find your phone number, why not insert a photo of you or your dealership with a call to action and phone number e.g.: “If you would like to find out about how to obtain low rate financing for this vehicle, call Justin at …”. You will want to put the buyers’ at ease about things like help with shipping, warranties, third party inspections. This could also be a good way of vaunt about your dealership, e.g.: “Buy this car from the most recent President’s Award winning Ford dealership, call …” or “Our low overheads allows us to sell this car to you well below book value, call to find out our Reserve price”. Another good thing to keep in mind that the buyer may have a car to trade in, if you are interested in buying their trade, do mention it.

Selling cars online is still in its infancy but we already have data on what sort of things are working, and how our processes and mindsets should be evolving. Dealers should be versatile in making adjustments to their online merchandising strategies as engaging buyers has always been a moving target.

To learn more about listing strategies visit the eBay Dealer Hub by clicking the link.

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