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4 ways third-party sales channels drive sales and generate leads

By Justin Di Vilio

I've never met a marine dealer who would turn down the opportunity to sell a few extra boats each month. With more shoppers than ever turning to the internet to begin the hunt for their next boat, the easier you make it for them to find your in-stock inventory, the easier it will be to make those extra sales.

One easy way to draw extra attention to the models you have for sale is to list them on third-party sales channels, like Craigslist, eBay, Boat Trader, MoreBoats.com and BoatDealers.ca. Listing your inventory on these third-party sales sites can help you reach more potential buyers and generate more exposure for your business.

These websites are some of the first places shoppers search when they're in the market for new or used boats, with thousands of shoppers browsing them each day. Shoppers can easily browse boats from multiple dealers (and, in some cases, private sellers) to find the right fit for them, compare pricing and find a place to buy in their area.

There are four easy ways you can take advantage of all that third-party sales websites have to offer.

1. Create detailed inventory listings

Just like the inventory detail pages on your website, your inventory listings on third-party sales sites are your chance to grab shoppers' attention and make them want to buy what you're selling. Instead of using manufacturer images, take pictures of the boats you're selling from a few different angles out on your lot to show shoppers what they look like in real life. Write a description that highlights each model’s features, specs and pricing to help potential customers decide if a particular boat will fit their needs.

2. Keep your listings up-to-date

When you're running a sale, be sure to update your third-party listings with your sale pricing. Many of your shoppers are likely bargain hunters, so seeing a reduced price could be just the incentive they need to make a purchase. Then, set a reminder to change the pricing back once the sale has run its course. Keeping your listings up-to-date with the current pricing will ensure you're always providing the most accurate information to potential customers. Any time you adjust pricing or sell a unit, update your third-party listings to reflect the changes.

3. Include your contact information

The last thing you'd want is for a shopper to be interested in a boat you're selling but not know how to get a hold of you to buy it. While many third-party sales sites have features that allow shoppers to make an offer or request a quote on models they're interested in, include your contact information (including name, address, phone number and email) in your seller profile or in each listing. Also, be sure to link your listings to the corresponding inventory page on your website! Driving traffic to your dealership's website can help you generate more leads for your newfound shoppers.

4. Use a management tool

Tools like ARI Inventory powered by LotVantage and ARI Mobile can make managing your third-party sales listings a whole lot easier. If your days are too busy to manually update your third-party listings, look for a tool that pulls data directly from your website or allows you to quickly and easily upload inventory photos from your phone to save yourself the time and effort of making updates by hand.

Taking advantage of third-party sales sites can help you drive exposure for your dealership and generate more sales. Some sites, including Craigslist, allow you to post your inventory for free, so all it takes is a bit of your time to get set up and start reaching more potential customers.

For more information about ARI and the products and services it offers to help dealers manage their digital marketing and online presence, reach out to Justin Di Vilio, business development manager for ARI’s marine division, at 414.973.4460 or by email at Justin.DiVilio@arinet.com

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