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Boycott the Third Party Sites like it's 2010!

Mar 21, 2012
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Ryan
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Lately, I’ve been hearing a lot of dealers speak out against third-party classified websites like AutoTrader, Cars.com, CarGurus, etc by stating that dealers hold all of the power with their inventory.

Is it 2010 still? Let’s be real, that ship has long since sailed. The third-party sites now hold the power with millions of in-market eyeballs and the power of scale. If you’re not on it, your competitors will be and will gain that ever-elusive competitive advantage.

Let me frame it a different way: Amazon, Expedia, Kayak, etc are all third-party marketplaces. Consumers love the convenience of these third-party marketplaces. Don’t you?

Imagine having to check 6 airline websites to find the best flight? Talk about a painful experience.

Now imagine consumers having to check hundreds of car dealer websites to find the best car. Real PITA.

It’s naive to expect consumers to use third-party marketplaces everywhere EXCEPT automotive.

Let me say it again, it’s naive to expect consumers to use third-party marketplaces everywhere EXCEPT automotive.

And if that were the case, it would further accelerate consumers’ desire for disruption in our industry. Let's not add fuel to the fire.

Let’s make car buying as frictionless as possible for shoppers. If that means partnering with a great dealer-friendly marketplace like Cars.com, then so be it. They are going to continue to innovate and help dealers stay competitive in today’s ever-changing market.

Boycotting third parties is taking a step backward in the consumer experience. Sure, it may work for a few dealers, just like the anti-marketplace strategy works for Southwest Airlines. But they are the exception to the rule.

Heck, even the disruptors like Carvana and Vroom list their inventory on all of the third-party marketplaces! Why? Because it works.

And what about the argument that I can use Google Ads to eliminate the need for third parties? Ha, as @brianpasch demonstrated in his most recent report, Google Ads is generally an incredibly expensive and ineffective way to reach in-market car shoppers. If your agency is suggesting you cancel third parties and shift your entire budget to their google ads campaigns, they do not have your best interests in mind.

I admit, I used to be part of the anti-third marketplace crowd, but I’ve come to the realization that for most dealers they are now a necessary and effective digital partner against the disruptors and OEM overreach. In the end, I’m pro customer experience.
 
Dec 19, 2018
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Bill
I always love the dealers that say that they can't prove sales from the 3rd party vendors. You can't because of the vendors or because of your handle your own data? I get so tired of dealers blaming vendors for their own shortcomings.
 

Rick Buffkin

Sausage King of Chicago
Oct 29, 2009
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Rick
I always love the dealers that say that they can't prove sales from the 3rd party vendors. You can't because of the vendors or because of your handle your own data? I get so tired of dealers blaming vendors for their own shortcomings.

Ummmm... Ok!
 
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Jeff Kershner

Founder
May 1, 2005
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I ran across a discussion like this happening on LinkedIn. I'm like "REALLY? Are we still having this discussion?"

My ROI/Cost per sale with Cars.com has always been at the top of our list for best performance.

If your agency is suggesting you cancel third parties and shift your entire budget to their google ads campaigns, they do not have your best interests in mind.

Amen to that!
 

Rick Buffkin

Sausage King of Chicago
Oct 29, 2009
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Rick
Bill, base on your response to my response to your response, you're not reading between the lines!
 

DrewAment

3rd Base Coach
Apr 30, 2009
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Drew
Agreed, but we also need to better manage what inventory and/or how we are sending inventory feeds. Esp since those sites charge based on inventory level. Have you reviewed your packages with your vender lately? Still paying for a 100 new car package and only have 20 in stock? ;)

Maximize your USED inventory dollars! Don't be the dealer that tells them you have 120 vehicles, when you actually only have 90 front line ready at any given time. You can change your feeds on used:

- Exclude vehicles with no photos from your feeds.
- If you "pre-photo" with 2-3 before front line for your website, exclude those from feed.
- Have a 140 inventory, but only want to pay for 100 "listing package" - have your provider send the 100 oldest in your inventory, or 100 lowest priced, or ??.
- etc, etc.

Tons of ways to do it. Made some of these changes at a large 10+ store dealer group, around $23K/month saved, and inventory turn/travel rate wasn't affected.
 
Jul 21, 2020
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Richard
- Exclude vehicles with no photos from your feeds.
- If you "pre-photo" with 2-3 before front line for your website, exclude those from feed.
- Have a 140 inventory, but only want to pay for 100 "listing package" - have your provider send the 100 oldest in your inventory, or 100 lowest priced, or ??.
- etc, etc.

Tons of ways to do it. Made some of these changes at a large 10+ store dealer group, around $23K/month saved, and inventory turn/travel rate wasn't affected.
Yes... great rec's to make.
 

jscole86

Boss
Mar 2, 2011
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Josh
- Exclude vehicles with no photos from your feeds.
- If you "pre-photo" with 2-3 before front line for your website, exclude those from feed.
- Have a 140 inventory, but only want to pay for 100 "listing package" - have your provider send the 100 oldest in your inventory, or 100 lowest priced, or ??.
- etc, etc.

Tons of ways to do it. Made some of these changes at a large 10+ store dealer group, around $23K/month saved, and inventory turn/travel rate wasn't affected.
good ideas! If you have 2-3 photos before front line, and you excluded those, you didn't find that slowed your rate?