The company hopes the changes, launched this week, will help it win more business from franchised dealer groups and smaller retailers as competition in the online services sector intensifies.
After a year when the number of dealers advertising on its website tripled to more than 1,000 (they now account for two-thirds of the 100,000-plus vehicles advertised), Ebay has embarked on the next stage of its vision to become “the ultimate online selling tool for dealers”. This requires a website with functionality, high volume of buyers and cost-effective ad rates.
The pricing package has been revised to better meet the needs of smaller dealers, says Ebay.
Replacing the £150 monthly fee for advertising up to 100 vehicles is a £99 fee for advertising 20 vehicles per month. The next price step is £149 for 50 vehicles.
“A lot of small dealers didn’t need the 100-vehicle package,” said Angus McCarey, Ebay Motors Pro senior manager for dealer business. “Now they can go on the site for £99 a month.”
Functionality for dealer groups has been overhauled. They can now set up central accounts for admin, uploads, billing and leads for as many dealership sites as required. Previously, each site was treated as a separate account and priced accordingly.
Using one of six Ebay template options, dealers can also set up their own showroom page for no additional charge. Logos, company details and a link to their own homepage will complement stock listings, giving them better brand presence and identity.
Ebay has also added a scrolling panel of vehicles that rolls across the page. The final addition to the new site is an 0844 number for each dealer that buyers can call at a national rate. It will also enable Ebay to report traffic numbers.
Additional reporting functions are available, such as user locations, though few dealers request them.
According to McCarey: “All of the changes are in response to dealer feedback. We expect them to attract more groups.” He also expects a greater share of market from existing users.
McCarey said Ebay wanted to be “two to three times bigger than we are now in order to be the leading site in the sector”.
Further developments are due, although a move to a pay-per-click model that has been trialled in some other markets is not planned. Ebay believes dealers are not yet effective enough at processing and reacting to leads to make it worthwhile. “It’s one for the future,” added McCarey.