By Chris Damico
The Internet is a big place. Today, more than 81 percent of shoppers navigate the online maze to find research before buying a product; and once shoppers find what they want, 88 percent of them make their final purchase in store. Want to get more online leads and drive traffic to your dealership? Of course you do! Make it as easy as possible for your next potential customer to search your in-stock inventory online by mastering third-party sales channels.
Your website is an important tool for your dealership – it’s where your customers and prospects go to find out what you have in store. But it’s only one corner of a very large online marketplace. Listing your inventory on high-traffic sales channels draws attention to your inventory, helping you reach more potential buyers and gain more exposure for your dealership.
Websites like Craigslist, eBay and even Facebook are some of the first places shoppers visit to find new or used outdoor power equipment. With millions of shoppers visiting these websites daily, it’s a no-brainer that listing your inventory on these Internet powerhouses will help you generate leads and drive sales.
There are a few simple ways to master these third-party sales channels:
Create in-depth inventory listings
Like I said before, shoppers begin their buying journey online to research products, so give them the information they want. Include every detail you would on the inventory pages of your website, including model, year, price, specs, multiple pictures and more. Instead of using stock manufacturer pictures, take pictures of your inventory from a few different angles right in your dealership to show shoppers what they look like in real life and add a personal touch. Finally, write a description that highlights each model’s features and benefits to help shoppers decide if the equipment will fit their needs.
Update listings to keep them current
Your inventory changes day to day, so keeping your inventory listings up to date is important. You don’t want shoppers to find something they want to buy from you only to find out it’s already been sold. Anytime you adjust pricing or sell equipment, update your third-party listings to reflect the changes. And when you have a sale going on, put your sale pricing on your listings as well. Everyone loves a deal, and it will help you stand out from – and beat – the competition. Seeing a reduced price might be the incentive a shopper needs to make a purchase from you or find out more about your dealership. Once the sale is over, create a reminder to change the pricing back.
Make your dealership easy to contact
The same rule that applies to your website applies to your online listings: make it easy for customers to get in touch with you. It’s important to include your seller profile and contact information (name, address phone number and e-mail) in each listing to make reaching you a breeze. Don’t forget to link your listings to the inventory page on your website to help drive traffic and generate more leads for your dealership. Plus, many third-party sales sites have features that allow shoppers to make an offer or request a quote on models in which they are interested. Make sure you respond to those inquiries quickly to capture leads while they’re still hot.
Test to find what works best
Maximize the investment you put into posting your inventory online by finding what works, testing, and changing your strategy. Think about creating A/B tests for some of your larger-ticket items. Maybe you have a new tractor model and you’d like to see what drives more interest. Create two version of your online posting: an A version and a B version. Use different pictures and different copy and find out what sells faster. Do this with a few pieces of equipment to come up with a tried-and-true marketing strategy.
Keep testing year round. Like most products, your outdoor power equipment has a seasonal sales cycle, and some equipment might move better during one season than another. You’ll find the best formula to move the most amount of inventory in no time.
Use an inventory syndication tool
A what? You read that correctly. An inventory syndication tool helps you manage your inventory, and posts your equipment on top social media and shopping sites such as Craigslist, Facebook and eBay. If your days are too busy to manually update your third-party sales listings, inventory syndication tools such as Auction123 make managing your listings a whole lot easier. It pulls data directly from your website and allows you to quickly and easily upload inventory photos and information to save your staff the time and effort of making updates by hand.
Taking advantage of third-party sales sites can help you drive exposure for your dealership, capture more leads and generate more sales. Get your outdoor power inventory found across the entire Internet, and start reaching more potential customers today.
Chris Damico serves as marketing manager at ARI Network Services. He’s helped hundreds of dealers across the country with their digital marketing, including the content and search engine optimization (SEO) of their websites, social media presence, and advertising and e-mail marketing campaigns. He’s dedicated to the mission of helping dealers improve their operations through the implementation of ever-evolving best practices paired with ARI’s suite of award-winning data-driven software tools and marketing services that help dealers “Sell More Stuff!” online and in-store. ARI removes the complexity of selling and servicing new and used inventory, parts, garments and accessories for customers in the outdoor power equipment, powersports, marine, RV, automotive tire and wheel, and white goods industries. More than 23,500 equipment dealers, 195 distributors and 140 manufacturers worldwide leverage ARI’s website (www.arinet.com) and eCatalog platforms to “Sell More Stuff!”