Dealer Marketing Magazine – You can get It, and your new car, on eBay

By Mark Burack
DALLAS – Nov. 9, 2006

There are 19 million items available on eBay today with 2 million items added every day – they’re bound to have what you’re looking for. But what most people overlook is that eBay is more than just a site for auctioning off your original “Star Wars” action figures: Last year, eBay Motors facilitated more than 400,000 vehicle transactions. That means eBay Motors sold more vehicles by 9 a.m. each morning than most new car franchise dealers sell in one year.

The Internet is changing the landscape of the used vehicle automotive business and this, coupled with the explosion of the used vehicle market on eBay motors, should be more than enough to convince any dealership that the time to begin selling on eBay is now.

Today, eBay reaches more than 203 million registered users in more than 45 countries on five continents. Even dealerships located in major metropolitan areas have access to only one to three million people. By putting your used vehicle inventory on eBay, you’re opening your dealership to the world, 24/7. eBay connects buyers with specific needs to specific sellers that have the specific product that buyer wants. No other Web site can create this kind of incremental business.

So, if you’re looking to get on eBay, here are a few things to help you get started. The first step is to determine a game plan. You need to know what you’re doing and everyone needs to be on board with it.

Once, you’re ready, it’s time to get to know your buyer. eBay users are extremely savvy. Simply put, if they feel that they don’t have enough information or if they don’t trust the seller, they’re not going to bid on a vehicle. Knowing this, it’s a lot easier to create listings that will entice buyers to purchase from you. There are a number of keys that will lead to success, but perhaps the most important is to have full disclosure in your listings. Include a thorough, complete and honest cosmetic and mechanical inspection of a vehicle. Have a standard checklist on each vehicle listing the condition. Utilize VIN decoding to ensure accuracy. And provide a number of clear, crisp photographs that are sized to account for slow connections and best viewing.

You should also be familiar with the key terms that the average buyer is entering into a search engine when they look for a car. About 90 percent of searches on eBay only search the title or subtitle. If you use these keywords in your descriptions, your vehicles are going to be the first ones to pop up in the results.

Communication with the buyers is vital, not only to the seller, but for lead management as well. Taking time to assist and get to know your bidders during the auction leads to increased customer satisfaction and positive feedback, which in turn leads to increased sales volume, increased average sale price and reduced non-paying bidders. Even if a buyer loses an auction, direct communication can entice him to continue watching your auctions.

Dealerships also need to protect themselves from fraud. Cashiers’ checks should be pre-inspected and verified by the bank. When handling wire transfers, never give operating account numbers, and always use a sweep account. As for e-mail and account protection, never allow a user name to be shared, monitor the account daily, never answer questions that seem fake and use eBay ‘Safe Harbor,’ it’s available 24/7.

All of this is a lot of work for a single dealership – particularly those with small or non-existent Internet departments – but the benefits are invaluable. And that’s where a third-party provider can help. Third-party providers offer any number of services, including photography, inspection, inventory analysis, automated listing, listing management, lead management or any combination thereof. With the ideal partnership, the provider will do all of the work, and your dealership will reap all of the benefits.

The online automobile market is changing, and the time has never been more perfect to jump headfirst into the eBay game. By preparing your dealership and enlisting the help of a third-party eBay expert, your dealership easily can take advantage of this new market.

About Liquid Motors (
Liquid Motors Inc., a Dallas, Texas based corporation, offers automobile dealers a comprehensive Internet marketing solution designed to maximize lead generation. We provide a variety of software and services that create a competitive advantage for automobile dealerships by generating and capturing more cost effective Internet leads using no-cost Internet classifieds, eBay auctions and listings, leading pay classifieds and dealer websites through the implementation of strategic pricing analysis, search optimization and marketing, and compelling multimedia.
Jill Givens, Director of Marketing

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