6 Takeaways from the Autotrader and Kelley Blue Book Dealer User Summit

Sep 28, 2021
The Autotrader Team

Estimated reading time: 5 minutes

The 2021 Cox Automotive all-virtual Dealer User Summit was a packed three days of instructional sessions for clients, providing the tools and best practices to enhance user experience, master your digital solutions and deliver better customer service.  

In case you missed the Autotrader and Kelley Blue Book Marketing Innovations and Solutions sessions, here are 6 takeaways from the event plus the video sessions below. You can watch all the on-demand sessions here

Car buyer expectations have changed — and dealerships stepped up. 

With two-thirds of car shoppers reporting they’re more likely to purchase a vehicle 100% online today than pre-pandemic1, digital solutions are no longer nice-to-have options. They’re must-haves, and they continue to change based on technology advancements and customer needs.  

Autotrader and Kelley Blue Book have always been trusted consumer resources, with more than 70% of shoppers coming to our sites to find you and your vehicles.2 And since the onset of the pandemic, these two brands have answered the expectations of today’s shoppers — from offering more digital retailing options, personalized payments and at-home services (like test drives and vehicle delivery) to surfacing the right car for the right price even if it’s outside a shopper’s market or DMA. These innovations help the consumer, but they also offer you the opportunity to reach new customers and deliver a superior car-buying experience. Watch Jessica Stafford, SVP and head of Autotrader and Kelley Blue Book, kick off the User Summit, sharing industry and consumer insights.  

Digital retailing is good for car buyers AND good for dealers.  

You’re online. Your customer is online. People want to buy cars online. To put it plainly, dealerships need to enable more of the car-buying process online if they want to gain and keep market share. Not only is that what your customers want, but it’s also beneficial to your business, driving more qualified leads and allowing you to close more leads and sell more cars.  

This is where Autotrader’s My Wallet and Accelerate My Deal come into play. 67% of car buyers want to see personalized payments when shopping, and 63% of them will provide more information online if it means a more personalized experience and less time at the dealership.3 My Wallet, a free consumer tool, lets customers shop by budget, entering information like trade-in, credit score and down payment amount early in the process and throughout their shopping experience. That information integrates seamlessly with our digital retailing product, Accelerate My Deal, which delivers more-qualified leads further down the purchase funnel. Since launching My Wallet earlier this year, we’ve seen a 435% increase in enhanced leads. 

Watch Director of Product, Paul Paridy, share a few ways you can make My Wallet and Accelerate My Deal work even harder for you, helping you close more deals.

RELATED: Personalization is key to a better car-buying experience 

Car shoppers are highly satisfied with at-home services.  

People have spent a lot of time at home lately, and they’re doing more from the comfort of their couches than ever, which is one of the reasons we launched our At Home Services (formerly known as Dealer Home Services) last year, including video walkaround, at-home test drive and at-home delivery. 

60% of consumers say they’ll use an at-home service during the car buying journey —and when they do, they’re reporting higher satisfaction with the overall process.5 21% of Autotrader and KBB.com leads turn into a sale when entered through at-home services.5  

Learn more about how you can create a better experience for customers with Autotrader and KBB.com’s complimentary At Home Services listing features

VDPs matter more than ever, and they need to advance with the times.  

You’ve heard us say this before — they’re basic, but they’re basic for a reason. Especially as more buyers are shopping outside their market and transacting more online, an accurate and best-in-class vehicle detail page (VDP) can make or break you.  

Vehicle listings checklist:  

  • Several custom photos (interior, exterior, damage hot spots, etc.) 
  • Videos and 360-degree spins 
  • Comprehensive vehicle descriptions and features 
  • Accurate and transparent pricing 
  • Digital retailing options

See more Merchandising 101 Best Practices and tips: 


Data can drive a more efficient marketing strategy for your dealership

As Kevin LeSage, director of digital marketing at Autotrader, says: “not all data is created equal.”  

Nobody knows more about car buyers than Cox Automotive, and we connect the dots between all of our websites and services, measuring consumer behavior down to the page, search and click. Because we have so much data, and the intelligence layered on that data to connect behaviors to intent to buy, we’re able to find areas with “ready-to-buy-shoppers” who are 15 times more likely to buy. This is how you make your data actionable, and leverage the real-time data and insights to create a more effective marketing strategy. 

Our analytics platform, nVision helps you find the right audience and reach the right audience. It also helps you maximize your daily operations by analyzing your inventory, delivering custom reports and insights and more. Think of nVision as an extension of your operations — there’s a lot to discover and it’s included for all Autotrader clients. 

Watch our nVision experts give you the tips to find your audience and optimize your operations: 

Service demand is growing — and it’s time to focus on fixed operations.  

Demand for vehicle service and repair is growing; 22 million vehicles were recalled in 20206 and 1 in 3 people say they’re putting more miles on their car in 2021 compared to last year7. People are holding onto their vehicles longer and getting back into maintenance routines. 

We’re not just talking about the single oil change here; we’re talking about lifetime customer value. Especially during the inventory shortage, fixed operations and your service department are key to your success. This stable and long-term revenue opportunity isn’t going anywhere. Autotrader Director of Analytics Jade Terreberry has more insight and tips on how you can grow this segment of your business. Watch the video below and get more fixed ops strategies and tips on the Kelley Blue Book Fixed Ops Advantage blog.  

As consumer needs evolve, so do we. That’s how Autotrader powers what’s next. Watch the full recording of the Marketing Innovations & Solutions sessions for insights and tools you can use to drive your business forward.  

12020 Cox Automotive COVID-19 Digital Shopping Study 

22020 Nielson Content Influence Study commissioned by Cox Automotive 

3 2021 Digitization of End-to-End Retail Study 

4 2021 Autotrader website data 

5Q2 2021 Autotrader Dealer Home Services Research, Cox Automotive 

62020 NTSHA Recall Annual Report 

72021 Cox Automotive COVID-19 Consumer Impact Report