Small Business Brief

Auto Dealership

Ecommerce for Autos: What You Need to Know About How to Sell a Car Online

A recent survey showed 52% of people feel uncomfortable or anxious at a car dealership, and 61% feel taken advantage of while they’re there. With statistics like this, it’s not surprising that buying and selling cars online is growing in popularity. If you’re thinking about selling a vehicle in the near future, knowing how to sell a car online will give you a huge advantage.

Money and business concept car

Selling a car online is very different from selling one through a newspaper ad. Classified ads mostly appeal to local buyers who will eventually come to see the vehicle before making their purchase. Online vehicle purchases, on the other hand, almost always occur across state lines.  

Since it’s likely your car will sell without the buyer ever seeing or driving it, you’ll need to put in a bit more work to make the sale. Here are some of the best tips for making it happen.

How to Sell a Car Online: 7 Critical Tips

It doesn’t take a ton of knowledge to sell a car online, but it does require certain skills. Here are seven of the most important things you need to know.

1. Make the Commitment

Selling your car online does need some effort. Before you decide to move forward, make a commitment to put in the necessary work. Approach it as you would an important project at work and you’re far more likely to succeed.

2. Do Your Research

The internet is a vast universe, so it’s likely your vehicle listing will have to compete against hundreds of others almost exactly like it. Do your research and make sure the price you’re asking is competitive. When deciding on a price, consider not only the market price but also the condition of your specific vehicle.

3. Write a Great Description

Since you’re competing against so many similar vehicles, a great description makes a huge difference. Help your listing stand out from the crowd by personalizing the description and getting creative. Instead of listing common features like power windows, tell your personal stories about how the car makes life easier and more fun.

If you’re selling a convertible, talk about how great the wind feels in your hair while you’re driving to the beach. A mini-van description might include a story about how you were able to move a ping-pong table with almost no effort. Put the time into doing this right and it will pay off ten-fold.

4. Pay Attention to Keywords

Search engine optimization (SEO) is critical for successful online sales. Make sure your title and description include key phrases people are likely to look for. This might include features like:

  • Booming audio system
  • Super-low mileage
  • Single-owner vehicle

Research shows other keywords that typically resonate with buyers include:

  • Luxury
  • Power
  • Performance
  • Comfortable
  • Quiet

Incorporating these words and phrases into your listing is the best way to sell your car online quickly. It works by increasing the chances that your ad will be seen by the right people.

5. Include Plenty of Photos

It’s said a picture is worth a thousand words, and this is never truer than when you’re selling something online. Make sure your car is as clean as possible, then take a ton of pictures from many different angles.

Pay attention to lighting, and don’t try to hide any imperfections. Your car doesn’t have to be perfect to sell online, but you do need to be honest about its actual condition.

6. Respond Quickly

When it comes to selling a car online, response time matters. Don’t ever forget there are plenty of options for buyers. Make them wait to talk to you and there’s a good chance they’ll move on to the next ad.

If you’ve listed a phone number, make sure you answer instead of letting it go to voicemail. Check your email a few times a day and respond to inquiries within a few hours.

7. Communication is Key

Purchasing a big-ticket item sight-unseen is stressful for the buyer, so do your best to ease his or her anxiety. Make sure you communicate regularly and clearly throughout the process.

Making some extra effort right up until the very end will ensure things go smoothly for all parties involved.

You’ve Sold Your Car Online: Now What?

Once the excitement of making your sale wears off, you might start to worry about what to do next. Here are the most important things to remember.

1. Finalize Delivery Details

If your car is heading out of state, you’ll need to finalize the details of how it will get there. Now is the time to discuss whether you’ll use a car transport service, or one of you will drive the car to its new location.

Make sure you get everything in writing and stay in touch with each other throughout the process.

2. Complete the Necessary Paperwork

Do your homework and check with the DMV to confirm what paperwork is necessary to transfer ownership of your vehicle. Some documents you might need include:

  • Bill of sale
  • Release of liability
  • Vehicle title
  • Tax documents
  • Registration

Make sure you complete everything properly before you release possession of your vehicle. 

3. Remove Your License Plates

Your car’s license plates are connected to your license and registration, so make sure you take them off the car before handing it over to someone else. When the new buyer registers the vehicle in his or her name, new plates are assigned. 

4. Cancel Your Insurance Coverage

Once your online car sale is complete, make sure you remove the vehicle from your current insurance coverage. This is often as simple as calling your insurance provider and letting them know you’ve sold the car.

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