Are Your Vehicle Comments Helping or Hurting?

Published May 19, 2016
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By now we’ve all heard (read: been beaten over the heads with) how important vehicle comments are to car shoppers.  In all honesty, they are one of the 7 must-haves that consumers expect when researching vehicles online¹.  Still, 53% of Used Car online listings lack comments on third-party sites².  And, of the dealers today who are diligent about putting some type of comments onto their vehicle listings, the question remains: Are they helping or hurting?

In a study conducted by CarStory in 2015, less than half of the consumers polled thought vehicle descriptions had an adequate amount of information to allow them to make a purchasing decision².  This doesn’t mean that car dealers need to write a novel for each vehicle on their lot.  Quite the opposite, in fact, because consumers generally do not respond well to large blocks of text.  The best comments are informative and concise.  They contain relevant facts like condition, accident history, service history and any other details that can set the vehicles apart from similar cars in the marketplace.  This is especially important within the first 250 characters as that is what most website Search Results Pages will display.  The most important aspect of creating an engaging comment is supplying information that differentiates the vehicle, not the length of the comment.

Once you distinguish your vehicle, you should work to differentiate your dealership.  Dealership reputation is one of the top 10 things that consumers research when shopping for a vehicle².  If you have great customer service, be sure to say that!  Running a fun or interesting contest with great prizes?  Write it!  If there are any reasons a customer should shop with you instead of a competitor, it’s important to mention that in your vehicle comments.  Building a connection and differentiating your dealership through vehicle comments will help customers make the decision to purchase with you.

Finally, you’ll want to reinforce the value of the vehicle with any industry awards it has received.  Many of the vehicles on your lot have been named most fuel-efficient, editor’s choice or the best buy for their model year, so why not let your customers know?  Kelley Blue Book, JD Power and Car and Driver accolades are eye-catching pieces of content that can serve as icing on the cake to some or a deciding factor to a buyer on the fence.  Reinforce the value of the vehicle by including awards and accolades from respected industry publications in your vehicle descriptions.

1. Online Merchandising in a Multi-Device World, Autotrader 2015
2. How to Convert Used Car Shoppers to Buyers, CarStory 2015