The classified advertising industry was initially killed by the internet, only to be quickly reborn in the form of online classified sites like Craigslist. Despite challenges faced by the website, it continues to drive buyers to dealers around the United States. Why hasn’t it fallen?
To understand the answer, one must look more closely at Craigslist and its history. Then, we must take a deeper dive into the psychology that makes it work for car dealers.
Underpowered and Still Going Strong
Craigslist started off with a bang, moving quickly up the list of most visited websites in the world. It was the system that worked. People still loved the idea of classified listings and Craigslist was the first major player in the market. Launched in 1996 (yes, it’s nearly 20-years-old), the site gave people the classified feel while online.
By the time it was at one of its peaks in 2000, they had 9 employees. If you think that’s low, consider how underpowered they are today with around 30 total employees.
Thankfully, the site is very simple. It’s not like Facebook or other sites that require a tremendous amount of programming just to keep them afloat, let alone improving. Craigslist requires very little maintenance other than what’s associated with running a site with that much volume.
There’s another challenge. Craigslist constantly has negative press about it as people take advantage of it in ways that are nefarious, criminal, and often dangerous. One would think that with so much negative press, the site could not survive.
It hasn’t just survived. It has flourished. People are more skeptical, but the site is still an easy and valuable way to buy and sell goods. It’s this last point that makes it a great place for car dealers to sell their vehicles.
Trust in Business
The biggest reason that car sales are not affected by the negatives associated with Craigslist is the safety that comes with buying a car at a dealership. The inherent risks associated with classified advertising or any purchases that transact between individuals are non-existent for car dealers. People can search through, find the deals they want, and contact a dealership without worrying about the ad being a false front.
There’s another trust factor with Craigslist that should be discussed as it pertains to car dealers. Craigslist has a reputation of being a place where people can get great deals. Seeing a vehicle they want on Craigslist gives it a psychological boost over vehicles listed on the dealership’s website or third-party listing sites. The perception about Craigslist can make the same car at the same price seem more appealing on Craigslist than on other websites.
Companies like LotVantage and Homenet have built product lines around Craigslist posting for car dealers. It is something that has proven to be beneficial for car dealers and very helpful to their customers as well.