I am curious as to how everyone out there is utilizing Craigslist. Their website is one of the most viewed on the Internet. Problem is they don't allow batch uploading listings like most other automtive classified websites.
Is anyone have success with Craigslist and how are you creating your listings? Are you doing them manually one at a time or are you using some software to help streamline it?
Each of our Internet Sales Managers at our Dealership utilizes Craig's List on a daily basis, putting one or two listings up per day. Yes they are manually loaded one at a time - kind of sucks - doesn't it. We've had spotty success as we will usually put some speciality pre-owned vehicles, very inexpensive CASH and vehicles along with others. One of the main thing it does is put our Dealership Name and our Internet Sales Manager's name
You might also check out kijiji.com. I understand that they are very similar to Craig's List. Hope that helps.
I have spoken about this to Craig Newmark, the founder of Craiglist.com and can assure you that the "one posting at a time" schema is by design and may be part of the reason why the site is so overwhelmingly popular... BTW, Craig's photo and title slide at the Google conference I was at are in my photo library on ADM... I can also assure you that listing used cars on www.Craiglist.com is VERY effective at driving sales opportunities to dealers! I know of at least a half dozen dealerships where ISM's are taking the time and effort to "copy and paste" into multiple Craiglist postings, resulting in their enthusiastically reporting great results. It seems that life on the job in a dealership is based on day to day decisions on where to focus time and effort in order to sell more cars... In the case of Craigslist, the results are worth the efforts. Yes, it does suck that the posting must be created one at a time, but it is free and it works... That's not a bad trade-off in my opinion!
I was using CL years ago for dumping wholesale and as-is units and was very successful with it. eBizauto has a nice CL tool for posting. It's not fully automated but it shaves a few steps off the process. I also used a small company called vFlyer.
I just sold my old Sony Vega TV on CL using vFlyer. Not that anyone really cares, I'm just happy to have gotten ride of it. Ha.
Sorry, to finish. If a dealership is not using Craigslist or as many of the No Cost listing sites as possible they are missing out. There are a few products on the market that are less than $300 a month that allow you at a click of a button launch a car to Craigslist in a FULL template with up to 60 photos. I would be happy to pass on my experience and dealer success stories in an educational enviorment if anyone has detailed questions.
We use eBiz autos for our inventory photos and data collection. In their back-end system, they have an option for posting to Craigs list. It is still one posting at a time, but it puts it into a nice format and keeps our banner on the top, etc.
The problem I have with it is that it kicks out what it thinks to be "duplicate" listings - so I can only list one 2006 BMW 325i instead of all of them. If I go in and mess with the HTML, I can sometimes get it through.
Because of these issues, I tend to post my off-brand inventory more often than my normal inventory.
I love Craigs List and the people I get from it - so any way to streamline this would be great!
Matt - Dealer Specialties has a pretty good tool for uploading vehicles one-at-time to Craig's List. Like what Kate said about eBiz, it allows a nice format and shaves off a few steps. It does break from time to time because CL changes their screens - you've just got to stay on top of it.
That being said CL will still block certain IPs or accounts that post too much or too frequently, especially if they use the dealerships URL in the ad.
We hear great things about sales through CL... makes the pain worth it.
I have utilized Craigslist for approximately 4 years selling a few cars privately. I have tried to list multiple vehicles and have been "kicked" back with some listings. As Matt has stated, VinSolutions is the correct option when posting to Craigslist. You may also want to try the site Kijiji.com for listings (this is owned by Ebay) and is new in the U.S. (2007). It has been utilized overseas and was introduced here last year. I just thought I'd throw that in if anyone is interested in checking t out.
We also have tools that help prevent FLAGGING and GHOSTING on Craigslist.
What is Ghosting? This is a trick used by Craigslist that from your "computer" IP address you see your listing on Craigslist and think that it is posted. However, if you use a computer from a remote location you would see nothing as the listing does not exist.
Anyone can list your cars on websites for you and even with fancy HTML and templates. I would suggest in anything you do in your eCommerce efforts you work with industry experts who understand all the issues surrounding any service they offer.
We have been slowing working Craigslist into our process. Currently we are placing ads for 3 or 4 of our stores from our centralized internet sales center as a test. We are manually doing each one using a company called vFlyer to build the ad. So far our success rate has been very good.
There are a few concerns regarding Craiglist that we are still trying to work out:
First, the difficulty of posting a large quantity of vehicles. I believe that Craigslist would prefer dealers not to list their entire inventory. So we are concerned that if we get too aggressive, it might back-fire.
Also, because Craigslist is not tied to our DMS, when a vehicle sells the ad does not automatically come down. We have concerns that if missed, we could be falsely advertising a vehicle that has already sold.
Finally, because there is no rules about "who" can advertise and "what" can be said, we have concerns about allowing store personnel access. Several of our stores are in states with very strict advertising rules. To allow anyone in our company to say anything opens the door to problems.
That said, we know that customers use Craigslist more and more each day.
There are tools out there that have the ability to limit a users ability to change a listing. This would allow a store or auto group to set up an APPROVED marketing message while only allowing a user to launch a car to Craigslist or Backpage.
DO NOT list your entire inventory on Craigslist. You WILL get black listed and have your IP ghosted. Email me and I will tell you some was to stay in good graces while posting to Craigslist.
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