Facebook Marketplace: A Dealership Primer - Part 3: Vehicle Merchandising

Leveraging Facebook Marketplace to help you sell more cars isn’t difficult if your dealership does it the right way. In part 1 of this series, I talked about the importance of choosing the right partner to maximize success. In part 2, I discussed why effective communication is vital to optimizing that success. But, unless your dealership sells rare cars, your listings will be among hundreds available to consumers. That’s why, to sell more cars on this platform, it will be crucial to understand the abilities, limitations and best practices of Facebook Marketplace to both optimize your listings and make them stand out.

 

One of the most important things that help any vehicle stand out — no matter which platform — is detail. Consumers aren’t going to browse through hundreds of Honda Civics to find one that appeals to them. The edge dealerships have over private sellers is that there is more trust from consumers knowing that dealerships will have performed inspections and repairs before putting a car up for sale. Some dealerships will even offer warranties on purchases. Peace of mind is important to consumers, and while private parties may be willing to sell a vehicle for less, consumers are willing to pay more for a car that’s more mechanically sound.

Consumers Trust What They Can See

When car buyers are searching for used vehicles, they can sometimes get overwhelmed by the sheer number of cars available in their area even if they’re searching for a specific make and model. Although Facebook Marketplace’s default search setting is within a 40-mile radius of the consumer, that search can result in hundreds of vehicles that include dealership, independent, and private party listings.

 

In order to compete with all of the other franchise and independents in their area, dealerships need to ensure their vehicle listings are as attractive to consumers as possible. Dealers should be just as vigilant in merchandising their inventory on Facebook Marketplace as they are on their website and their third-party partner sites. By doing so, they will be leaps and bounds ahead of any private party listing that merely exists because private party sellers aren’t as knowledgeable in merchandising and the dealerships offer more confidence in quality.

Best Practices for Facebook Marketplace Merchandising

When talking about best practices on any third-party site (including Marketplace), we need to include the capabilities of the site as well. The following are the merchandising abilities Facebook Marketplace currently offers:

  1. A Single Listing Partner - Facebook recommends1 that dealers leverage a single approved partner for Marketplace to optimize listings. By choosing multiple partners, Facebook advises that dealerships could get subpar results and inaccurately attribute sales.

  2. Don’t Limit Inventory - Some dealers choose to only list unusual, rare or inexpensive vehicles which limits the exposure of the dealer’s inventory. Facebook’s advice? List all used cars to gain as much exposure for the dealership as possible.

  3. Vehicle Descriptions - Many dealers either don’t include vehicle descriptions or only include information from the Monroney sticker. Shoppers don’t want to read through every option the car has, but rather the history and unique features included.
  4.  Pricing - Facebook suggests that dealers list vehicles with actual prices rather than down payment, payment of APR specials. That information can be listed in the description but is not appropriate for the price in that area of the listing.

What Can a Dealer Do to Merchandise Vehicles Effectively on Facebook Marketplace?

 

  1. Images - The automotive industry has quickly evolved from a single photo to today’s standard of 30-40 images. Facebook recommends 15-20 photos (2 photos minimum) with a resolution of 960x720 or better. My advice is to use those photos to highlight the exterior of the vehicle (from all angles) as well as all of the unique features the car has. Got navigation? Snap a picture of the navigation screen. The same goes for any feature. Consumers don’t want to have to read through a hundred features to find out if a car has whatever feature they’re looking for. And, as tempting as it may be, Facebook says that dealerships should NOT include any overlays or dealership branding in their photos. Let the vehicle speak for itself; consumers are more likely to look at it and consider it.

  2. Communication - Just as I advised in Part 2 of this series, the key to maximizing sales and motivating consumers to engage with your dealership is prompt and relevant communications via Facebook Messenger using an approved chat provider. Unless you have a full-time BDC that is trained and available at all times to interact with consumers who have questions, sales can be lost and captured by a competing dealership.

 

I hope this blog series has helped you understand the opportunity Facebook Marketplace offers dealers regarding increasing sales and inventory turn. While starting a new listing service can be daunting, it doesn’t have to be. The right partner can help you accomplish all of the things I’ve mentioned and assist your dealership by providing leads that are low-funnel and ready to buy.

 

 

  1. The Power of Marketplace: How to Achieve Success on Facebook Marketplace - Facebook

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