The Car Dealer’s Guide to Selling Cars Online

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Car dealers are missing out if they don’t list at least a portion of their inventory on an online listing site. Today’s car buyers are accustomed to checking out deals from the comfort of their favorite device before heading to a dealership and taking a test drive. Here are the key things to remember about online car selling.

Benefits of Selling Cars Online

Listing your inventory online used to be something that just a few dealers did. Nowadays, having online inventory exposure is considered essential for any successful dealer because millions of people shop for cars online. Modern buyers are used to browsing online and taking their time with major purchases. This applies to young, middle-aged, and older consumers, many of whom have been making online purchases of big-ticket items for more than a decade. The many advantages of selling cars online include: Your inventory is available for car shoppers around the clock and on holidays. 

It’s relatively simple to write a short, compelling ad for a car. You don’t need any technical or computer expertise to add your inventory to a listing site or to your own dealership’s website. The cost to list hundreds of cars is minimal. You can generate leads from online shoppers who inquire about certain models. Your geographic reach can be extended significantly. You can run “online specials” and run ads on car-related websites. Properly done, you’ll build a regular “audience” of online shoppers who want to check out your new arrivals and online discounts. You can place inventory photos, prices, and terms on your own website as well as the popular listing sites.

Best Places to List Cars Online

As a dealer, you have a wide variety of places to list your inventory. The best part of having so many options is that you get a lot more exposure compared to just showing your inventory at a physical location or brick-and-mortar dealership. There’s a definite sales synergy when you use your dealership, your own website, a couple major listing services, and maybe even an auction service. Whatever brings customers is a productive channel for selling. Cars.com is one of the leading providers of automotive pricing and research tools, with an estimated 15.5 million unique site visitors each month. There are dozens of other major listing sites, like Edmunds, CarGurus, Hemmings, Autotrader, AutoTempest, and KBB.

Selling Online Saves You Time and Effort

Many dealers are learning that having a major online inventory listing, either on their own website or somewhere else, is a good way to avoid time-wasting phone calls and to weed out uninterested shoppers. If all your deals are displayed online, you’ll begin to notice that most of your walk-in business consists of people who are ready to buy cars. Because they’ve already spent time looking at your cars online, they have likely narrowed down their selections and figured out what they want. Some big city dealers report that virtually every customer who walks through the doors these days has already spent at least an hour shopping online and has a particular car in mind. That’s a far cry from decades past when customers showed up primarily to shop. Now they show up to finalize a deal and buy a car.

Don’t Forget the “Online Auction”

If you have unusual, exotic, high-end, or classic cars in your inventory, consider using an online auction site. Some of the pricier versions of internet car auction websites have been around for decades, but the auction market is slowly opening up to more mainstream models. For unusual inventory items, an auction website can bring in many more bids and cost you less than a traditional, live auction sale might.

Spend Time Creating High-Quality Listings

Quality listings sell cars faster. Buyers look for aspects such as easy-to-scan spec sheets, key data points like mileage and condition, price, and financing options. But the center of any vehicle listing is the photo section. Without high-quality photos, you can potentially leave money on the table. Learn to take good pictures of your inventory, and if you don’t know how, hire a reliable professional. 

Dealers can boost their bottom line by leveraging the power of online sales. There’s a whole world of consumers out there who are ready, willing, and able to check out your goods if you put your inventory online. The internet offers car dealers the ability to sell around the clock, every single day of the year.

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