Gumtree Automotive has today announced the launch of a new inventory and ad management system that will “change the game” for car dealerships in the country. The system known as the Gumtree Automotive Inventory Tool (GAIT) is modelled on what proved to be a highly successful platform for Canadian classifieds giant Kijiji.ca and is known to significantly bolster online car sales for dealerships and brokers.
According to Jeff Osborne, Head of Gumtree Automotive and former CEO of the Retail Motor Industry Assocation (RMI), has said that far from being a mere ad management tool on Gumtree, the product has the potential to resolve numerous issues that has plagued the car market for years. “The implications of signing on goes far beyond merely selling more cars on Gumtree. We wanted to give dealerships access to a tool that would be useful on a day-to-day basis,” says Osborne. “We believe that it speaks to issues as such staff and customer service management, national and regional store management in terms of stock control and even instore marketing efforts as well.”
Dealerships can now use intuitive dashboards to gain a comprehensive snapshot of their entire inventory and manage stock, with tiered access levels which mean that corporate management, dealer principals and even individual salespeople can tap into the system and use it during their day-to-day operations. “A corporate sales manager may want to a holistic view of the stock levels across branches to extract data and purchasing decisions,” Osborne explains. “If he notices that certain models or brands perform better in one province than the other, he can adjust their tactics or redistribute stock. A dealer principal may use it to drive a special promotion home with exciting graphic design overlays, bump-ups and eventually, videos. Information can also be exported or imported from any format for presentation purposes.”
However sales do remain at the heart of the product. “This is the first true online sales tool for dealerships in South Africa. They are able to upload their photos as per usual, but also overlay logos and text professionally to enhance brand visibility…A/B testing has already shown that this small change can impact online sales significantly,” says Osborne. “They can also view leads in realtime and plug into their existing lead management tools to see how effective their ads (or their sales people!) are, and adjust their budgets accordingly. Best of all, everything is controlled via a central online dashboard, granting visibility and control over the entire process and allowing dealerships to access their portal from anywhere in the world.”
Osborne also says that it removes human error and the painstaking process of typing out individual ads through built-in access to information such as vehicle specs. “There is an extensive list of pre-populated fields to select and use to your advantage. Effectively, Gumtree becomes another salesperson on the floor.”
Although the platform is monetised, Osborne says the pricing compares quite favourably to dashboards on other car sites that has much less functionality and significantly less traffic than Gumtree.co.za. “A common complaint with dashboard systems that have been launched in the past is that it becomes difficult to manage spend or measure effectiviteness, which is why we’ve built GAIT to do both. There is no contract, no commitment to a fixed monthly spend and dealerships have full control over the ads in terms of content and visuals. The entire process is transparent: they can see how effective their ads are, and make informed decisions based on that information.”
Gumtree is currently the largest automotive site in South Africa, housing over 200,00 car ads and attracting several million views every month, and the site was named the largest website in South Africa by Effective Measures.