Archive for August, 2002

Can the Internet do more for my dealership than just sell cars?

Monday, August 5th, 2002

Because JTZ Enterprise is a leader in website design and hosting, we constantly preach the importance of having a website to promote your business and your product. This is especially important for you, the used car dealer. With over a half billion people regularly using the Internet (and most of them driving cars!) it is easy to see how you are losing business if you are not represented on the Internet.

As a fellow car person, I can tell you there are many other tools available on the Internet that can not only sell more units, but also help you with many of the day to day chores of running a dealership. To maximize your potential I encourage everyone to check some of these tools out and see how they can benefit your bottom line.

When it comes to increasing the potential of your website, we always recommend aligning yourself with some of the other big powerhouses and your local advertising media. Everyone has heard of TraderOnline and while their costs are often high, the results are definitely verifiable. Several of our site owners have set up arrangements where their cars are included in Trader’s magazine and site and Trader also get provides a link from their site to the dealer’s site when a site viewer finds one of the cars belonging to that dealership. This kind of arrangement has proven to increase the hit count of many dealerships that have sites with JTZ Enterprise and they tell us it has also resulted in direct sales.

It is also important to take advantage of the exposure to your Inventory made available through your local newspaper. Most are now online and experience high traffic from surfers living in the immediate area. Again, by listing your cars in their classifieds, you often get along with the newspaper listing a separate listing on their website.

Another effective way to move cars is to list them on E-bay. This is the most widely recognized online auction site and one can find anything to bid on. You would be amazed at how many people are willing to not only buy a car or truck online, but also willing to travel hours out of their way to pick it up or pay to have it shipped to them. This usually requires a working knowledge of how the Internet works as it is necessary to take photos and describe the vehicle to a tee. Many dealerships are paying companies like JTZ Enterprise to provide this work and to design a professional web page for the auction. It is also necessary to have a separate page including up to 40 photos detailing every aspect, good and bad, about the vehicle that can be accessed by those showing an interest in the auction car. The average expense for an E-bay auction is about $80 and to have someone create the auction presentation averages $75-$100, I can tell you it works! With the right vehicle you can experience average to high profit margins and you will reach a much broader audience. At our dealership, E-bay is the place to turn to with a 60+ day old unit and best of all, all sales are cash!

For BHPH lots, a most useful tool I recently discovered is www.Accurint.com. This is a website to utilize for skip tracing ‘lost customers’. Due to the Gramm-Leach-Bliley act, it is necessary to prove you are a dealership and you must sign up as a member. But, unlike Equifax and other similar companies, there is no monthly fee and no minimum number of searches. I found four lost customers before the free trial period was up and I can tell you the information available on anyone will blow you away!

There are a number of other tools available to you online through companies like Manheim, Kelly Blue Book, NADA Appraisal Guide, and many others. The Internet is here to stay. To think it is a fad that will go away is the same as sticking your head in the sand. Don’t let your competition run away with your sales. Explore the Internet and see how it can improve your bottom line.