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Friday, August 25, 2006
Understanding what vehicles are being searched for in the major search engines is valuable data for dealers.
If you're just getting started shopping around for a web design company to handle your car dealer site you've probably realized one thing already. There are a ton of companies out there. Several major players exist in the market, and even more smaller players. Just look at these search results on MSN and you'll see there are (at the time of this post) over 161,000 results for "independent auto dealer websites). Good, bad, and everything in between. Most offer the core features you'll need for your site, and then each company seems to have their own "secondary" products that are available.
My advice to anyone looking for decent web design, especially for an auto dealer website, is to focus on the features you need. I'm a believer in keeping things simple; if it works, don't change it. There are of course things that can increase dealership profits on the online side of things, just make sure if you're spending money on these things that they actually provide a significant return on your investment.
It's always worthwhile to ask the companies you check out how much customization they're willing to do. If they have features in their packages that you just don't see yourself using, ask for a price without those features. If you're looking for cheap web design, my advice is to shop around, narrow it down to 2-3 companies that you're confident can handle your account, and see what each is willing to do to earn your business. No great secrets here, just like if you were buying a car you'd shop a few dealerships and not spend extra money on a convertible when you don't like the sun.
Tuesday, August 15, 2006
eBay says it themselves on their site. It's meant to be a wholesale marketplace. They recommend using their site for vehicles that a dealer would normally take to auction or wholesale. With the few cars I've sold through eBay I've noticed that most of the people are looking for a deal and do not want to pay retail for the vehicles. Some cars I've still managed to make money on, while others I've taken quite a hit. I recommend following eBay's own recommendations, because when you put a car up for auction, it's a legally binding contract and you have to sell it once it hits your reserve.
Autotrader.com and Cars.com are more retail-oriented. On these sites you can expect customers who are willing to pay retail for your vehicles. There is more opportunity to practice your traditional car-dealer tactics....sales and negotiation...whereas auction sites are more of a "put it up, let the car sell itself, and get what you can get" type mentality.
The bottom line is that there are sites out there for your vehicles, however you want to sell them. Move them quick for wholesale or hang onto them a little longer for more money. Each site has its own style, traffic numbers, and ultimately sales. Prior to trying any out, make sure you talk with some other dealers to see what seems to work best for the type of vehicles you have and your particular area. The biggest complaint I do hear from dealers that use heavy online advertising is that they are required to enter the same vehicles on multiple sites. If you have a website provider for your dealership it's worthwhile to ask about inventory feeds. This will eliminate double and triple-entry, and save you a lot of time.