Facebook Marketplace, while new on the scene, has quickly turned into a valuable sales channel for dealerships. Many dealers are finding great success in engagement as well as sales with consumers. Not just another third-party listing site, Marketplace has capabilities many other platforms don’t have. Chief among them is the ability for interested car buyers to communicate with dealerships in real time through Facebook Messenger.
Listing Pre-Owned Cars on Marketplace
Manually listing cars on Marketplace can be an arduous and time-consuming process. That’s why many dealerships pick and choose the vehicles they think would be most attractive to shoppers on Facebook. The problem with that is dealers are missing sales. As we’ve seen, car shoppers are interested in a wide variety of vehicle makes, models and price ranges.
Alternatively, dealers can have vehicles listed automatically just as they are already doing with their inventory. However, dealers can only list inventory on a larger scale via Facebook approved vendors. And, even then, some vendors have limited capabilities regarding what they can actually automate. For example, some vendors can automatically send inventory but not rich content like images.
How Inventory Partners Help Dealerships
There are more than a few Marketplace inventory partners available, but dealers should be asking these partners which services and features they are able to automate and service. Also, just being able to upload inventory isn’t satisfactory. Today’s consumers want the ability to communicate with dealers about specific inventory listings – and they want to be able to do that without the need to leave Facebook. This can only be accomplished via Messenger or via live chat. Yes, consumers can use Facebook Messenger without the need for live chat, but the problem is that someone at the dealership needs to be monitoring Messenger for incoming inquiries and the only people that could do that need to be admins of the Facebook page.
Dealers also need to be aware that they can only list certified pre-owned inventory, not new vehicles. The listings will only appear on Facebook Marketplace, not on the dealership’s Facebook page. Dealers should understand that, in Marketplace, car buyers will start conversations with dealers that lead to sales. Of course, today’s auto shoppers won’t wait very long for responses before they move on to the next potential vehicle. So paying attention to messages and interactions is a key component to success on Marketplace for car dealerships.
Good-to-Know: Marketplace for Car Dealerships
A great feature of Marketplace for car dealerships is car buyers are only shown available vehicles within a 40-mile radius of a car shopper’s location. This allows a dealership to know that inquiries are coming from local shoppers and not out-of-state individuals. Consumers can change this filter, but the majority will be in a dealership’s area aside from some rare vehicles.
Facebook’s advice is that dealers should avoid working with multiple Marketplace partners, so dealers should not be relying on multiple vendors to put together the puzzle pieces (i.e., one vendor for the actual listing while a separate vendor for images or chat services).
Keep these things in mind when beginning to explore how to use Facebook Marketplace to your dealership’s advantage as a new sales channel. Facebook Marketplace offers unique capabilities and can be a very successful sales channel if properly implemented and monitored.
Keep an eye out for part two of this series where we’ll discuss how to engage customers to increase conversions.