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Jared Hamilton
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Russ Chandler

Russ Chandler Product Marketing Manager

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AutoTrader Takeover Equals Savings

Hello again my friends I'm back to talk about yet another survey I participated in. This time around AutoTrader was the one signing my checking for giving my feedback. I received the invite via email just like the others and was actually able to conduct the survey at my own leisure using an attached link. After they profiled me and my dealership they began asking questions mostly pertaining to bundles of there products. What made this interesting was the products were from separate companies they've bought out over the last year or so.

What AutoTrader has that no one else can compete with?

I mean lets be honest they are sure trying to make this a monopoly having there hand in a lot of the major players out there. Vauto, KBB, Real Deal, and VinSolutions are just some of those players and that's just the short list. With that type of reach it only makes things easier since they start to bundle products together, after all a lot of us are paying for several of these services already. If we could receive a discount for what we are already doing that would sure be nice, right? Nothing like freeing up some advertising dollars which they probably hope to talk us into spending on anyway. At this point AutoTrader has hit just about every part of both sides of the sale process.

So what?

This type of takeover means a lot of things to us dealers and the consumer to. The setup and integration to a lot of the these very different products should be nearly seamless being they are familiar with each other and that worth something in itself. We've already learned the value in going with all-in-one website companies but going with a all-in-one marketing company? The benefits are large when you start talking about discount multiple marketing efforts in combination with dealer website services. Benefits from setup to customer experience come to mind, a consistent platform and data-set for the customer is going to make the online shopping process quicker and easier. I feel like we should be doing the same thing on our end as well. Customers want to get in and out quickly, we should be helping them do that as well by giving them more opportunity to handle more prior to the store or online. Keep mobile in mind as well, I mentioned this in my last post, "New Products" where I took another survey with, they were bringing a lot of mobile features to the customer. The goal being, help them shop faster and more efficiently.

The Survey

The survey consisted of nearly all bundle questions until the end. Repeatedly matching different products from all different area's of services. Almost all of them were connected to the main AutoTrader service, makes sense being everyone is already using it. Discounts ranged from 0% to 30% so I think the 2nd question here is what different products could quickly become one? With this mess of different services and software it would prove wise to slim the list and consolidate a few. Controlling the survey myself I was able to grab some screen shots to check out. I love the one where they ask, "Would you rather purchase products individually at full retail price or receive a discount for purchasing bundles of products?",  are you seriously asking me that?

Miles and points and cash OH MY!

Anyway they go on after the bundles to talk about the possibility of working a awards program into the mix. They explained things to be almost identical to credit card awards where we get miles, points, or cash back. I thought that would be nice but I'm not sure where I would put my vote but I did go with 5 extremely interested. Any kind of bump in benefits I can get for conducting this online circus I'm in. Great idea though and a way that nearly no one can compete with on the same level. Makes things interesting when start to include benefits like this. It would be most appealing to the guy influencing these type of decisions the most. Your first reaction would be to think of the owner/president of the company but in reality its generally the guy just under him that weeds through all the crap before taking something serious to the final decision guy. These type of benefits would probably buy their way into that meeting and salesman know there is always two sales to every deal, one sale to the customer(which is the influence guy) and then another to your own manager(final decision guy). Pretty smart move on there part thinking of spending awards, I like it.

Thats all the feedback I got today, I would love to hear more on if you guys like hearing about these surveys. I'm either way into my job or find some pretty valuable and influencing info on what's just around the corner for dealers. Ok so maybe its both, either way I would like everyones take on these type of posts and if its something I should keep doing?


Signing off,


Russ Chandler


Blog- Tricks-for-Trade



Craig Waikem
Interesting. I took the survey a few days ago, and they did not mention bundle discounts or a rewards program. Simple questions, if I was happy with the ROI, etc... We currently are a premium dealer on most stores and also are a Buying Center for T.I.M. We also signed up for the KBB T.I.M. leads. We are very successful with Autotrader TIM leads (closing 6-8% in addition using the service in the showroom), but NOT KBB TIM leads. Avoid the KBB leads, we have sold 1 in over 100 and the territory is just too large.
Russ Chandler
Craig, Thanks for the feedback. We are currently utilizing just about every feature AT has to offer except T.I.M. which we have looked at but not committed too. KBB has just came available to our DMA and we did sign up for their classified listings but it doesn't go live until June 1st. Hopefully we have more success then you are, no offense. What do you think is the key to your success with their Trade-In Market Place service?
Jim Bell
I have such a hard time with AT and their monopolizing of the industry. We have been on KBB for over a year and they came in wanting to 'upgrade' us and would cost us 72% more! It seems that the scare tactics that are used are being used on all fronts and it is frustrating. "If you don't do it, then it will be bought by someone else in the market." I have a real hard time with that. #justsayin
Jeremy Alicandri
Excluding AT's other services, I'm experiencing diminishing returns with my vehicles listings in AT's marketplace. For the $4500/month I spend, I'm not seeing the return. is generating much more activity.
Winston East
We have been with AT for 7 years, they used to be a very humble, helpful group of people, but now they are trying to monopolize all aspects of the marketplace. We just got squeezed into a 30% increase, and I have never felt so much like a piece of meat. Yea, they are stronger than Cars, but I sure hope Cars becomes the stronger player someday. We are trying to push our own websites to hedge against the bet that they become too greedy ( like they are not already )

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