Posted on by: Adam Stone

Why and How to sell more off-brand used vehicles

Do you stock off-brand used vehicles at your franchised dealership? How many? Do off-brand vehicles represent 30% of your inventory? Maybe 40% to 50%? If not, I believe you are missing out on a major opportunity to drive a broader range of local car shoppers to your dealership and missing out on incremental profit opportunities in sales, finance, and service.

Why sell off-brand used cars:

The first reason you should sell off-brand used vehicles at your new car dealership is that it will bring more shoppers for new and used to your dealership. Customers shop multiple brands and easily switch their consideration between new and used in their purchase process. By only stocking mostly one brand of new and used, then you are likely missing out on customers who would like to compare a Camry to an Accord, an Explorer to a Grand Cherokee or a C300 to an A4 when they get to your lot.

Additionally, you should stock up to 50% of your used inventory as off-brand because it allows your sales staff to learn the competition by test driving competitive makes frequently. The more familiar they are with your competition, the more confident they can be when selling your new vehicle products.

Lastly, by selling off-brand used vehicles you are likely to increase your volume since the market for all of these brands versus just mostly one brand equals a bigger pond to fish in for new customers.

You will reach a broader audience and increase your ability to serve everyone in your market.

How to sell off-brand used vehicles:

I have spoken to many dealers during my career, especially in the last five years or so, who would like to sell more off-brand used vehicles, but they claim it is difficult to get off brand shoppers to their websites and on their lots.

I always like to say that new vehicle shoppers are shopping for a dealer and used vehicle customers are shopping for a particular vehicle, with specific options and in a specific color. What that means is that online search (Google, Yahoo and Bing) are great for finding dealers whether organically or paid, but not quite as good at helping connect you with used car shoppers. Specifically, it is very difficult to rank and convert on off-brand used cars on search engines whether it’s paid or organic search results. Most people searching for a Nissan will not choose to go to a Toyota dealership website to find the Nissan they are looking for; it just doesn’t happen easily.

I always like to say that new vehicle shoppers are shopping for a dealer and used vehicle customers are shopping for a particular vehicle, with specific options and in a specific color.

More likely is that they will rely on credible 3rd party online marketplaces like Cargurus.com, Autotrader.com or Cars.com. There they can search and compare thousands of vehicles close to them at many different dealerships or used car lots. These 3rd party sites can be a valuable part of your used vehicle marketing strategy, but I don’t think they should be the FIRST dollar you spend because these sites do a poor job of converting visitors to internet leads and phone call leads. And even when you do get leads from 3rd party sites the sold ratio on these leads likely is somewhere from 3% to 10%.

So how do you get more off-brand shoppers to your website (by the way, your website is where you should be getting the majority of your internet leads and phone calls and where you should be converting internet leads to sales anywhere from 15% to 25%)? The answer is Octane Marketing’s Dynamic Inventory Ads.

How do these ads work?

Well, it is very simple. We place a code on your dealership website and on credible 3rd party inventory and review sites. Then we build an audience of shoppers who are looking for a quality used vehicles like the ones you have on your lot and your website. Additionally, whether they have been to your website or not, we can target them with a dynamic ad that features your used inventory that aligns closest to what they are searching for online.

So, in essence, we are taking shoppers from 3rd party sites and through the use of dynamic display ads all over the internet we are deep linking them directly to the vehicle detail page (VDP) of your used inventory.

How do these ads perform?

What’s really impressive about our Dynamic Inventory Ads is that the bounce rate averages in the 50% range, the time on VDP averages between 2 and 3 minutes and the quality of the online shopper is significantly better than any other online display visitor you will see on your website. And once they are on your website they aren’t looking at competing dealer’s ads.

Over 90% of our clients are using Dynamic Inventory Ads as part of their used vehicle marketing strategy, and many have used it to replace at least one of their substantial investments they have in sites like Cars.com or Autotrader.com.

If you would like to learn more about how Octane Marketing’s Dynamic Inventory Ads can help you sell more used cars and especially more off-brand used vehicles, please contact me anytime.

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