Kijiji Autos is investing heavily to add greater value to its online services for dealers

Dealer-Talk-FlyerFor dealers, the idea of being able to showcase your inventory in front of as many eyes as possible is one of the key drivers in helping generate new business. Do it effectively and you’ll often see the results with more showroom traffic, more deals on the table and a better bottom line at the end of the year. Get it wrong and you might find yourself hearing crickets while your finances take a dent.

Helping dealers get the most bang for the buck when it comes to online advertising, is something Ryan Thompson and his team at Kijiji Autos focus on each and every day. They’ve also been actively listening to their dealer clients and introducing services and features that have been discussed or requested.

“Since 2010, our team has rapidly expanded from just a few people on staff, to a team of 20 including external sales forces that service Ontario, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Quebec,” says Thompson. He also says that today, Kijiji’s auto section reaches over four million unique visitors.

He’s also keen to point out that as Kijiji Autos’ presence has grown, the type of vehicles listed on its service has changed. “When we first were established, a lot of Kijiji’s inventory was made up of cars of five years and older offered by small independent dealers and private sellers. Today, with a large (and growing) number of brand franchised dealers using our
service, we’ve seen a major shift and now most of the vehicles listed are late-model cars and trucks.” He also says that despite nationwide coverage, Kijiji Autos is also looking to further cement its presence and expand its service in major markets across the country, the latest focus being B.C. and Quebec.

That growth has also necessitated further changes in house. “With more dealers to service, we’ve needed to add more staff, so we now have account managers specifically responsible for a select number of dealer clients, to help service their needs,” says Thompson. Additionally, that growing list of franchised dealers (now more than 1,500) has also provided Kijiji Autos with a lot of feedback, particularly on three key topics. “Social media, how to handle E-leads and how to merchandise inventory online are areas where we got a lot of comments from dealers,” says Thompson, “so we decided that in order to help them learn how to achieve these goals, we needed to put together information sessions.”

To do this Kijiji Autos took a two-pronged approach. “One method was to make online webinars available where dealers could learn from the comfort of their own stores. So far we’ve hosted two and the response has been great. One of the webinars focused on how to make effective ads, such as guidelines for taking pictures, how to add keywords and headlines to boost searchability,”says Thompson, “while the other was about practices on Facebook. We got digital marketing specialist Paul Potratz to work with us for that one.” Thompson is keen to point out that Kijiji Autos’ strategy moving forward is to build relationships with dealers. “We’re really in it for the long haul,” he says. “We want to be their partner in this, not simply a company which they write cheques too.”

To that end, Kijiji Autos is also stepping up, hosting its first dealer conference on March 7 in Toronto at the Sony Centre. “We want this to be an exceptional event but we also want to ensure that dealers see it as value for money.”

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