It takes a lot of chutzpah for an online vehicle retailer to try and compete with online giants like eBay, Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace, but in recent years, that’s exactly what OfferUp has been doing. The company launched in 2011 in an effort to build local marketplaces for buying and selling vehicles online, and it recently announced it has now surpassed 2,000 paying dealers that participate in its auto sales program. It’s a stunning growth rate: this represents a five-fold increase in dealers from just a year ago. In fact, it’s now believed that OfferUp is now the largest mobile marketplace in the U.S. for local buyers and sellers: nearly 10 percent of used car sales in the U.S. last year took place on OfferUp’s marketplace, resulting in billions of dollars in auto sales.
Anecdotally, the company is getting business from dealers departing online selling sites such as Craigslist, which many dealers say is becoming impracticably expensive.
The company’s verified auto dealers program gives dealers a suite of digital tools designed to broaden their exposure and manage leads coming from OfferUp’s marketplace. The tools were created to reach buyers and sellers who respond well to digital customer service. Using the platform, dealers can automatically list their vehicles by connecting to their inventory feed; show a vehicle’s Carfax report; and enable instant communication with car buyers via chat and click-to-call technology. They can also access the Top Lead Indicator, which provides visibility into leads that demonstrate high intent to purchase given the web browser’s shopping behavior; increase their visibility through advanced advertising solutions; and take advantage of custom solutions for “Buy Here Pay Here” dealers.
“More than 44 million people use OfferUp annually to buy and sell locally, and we see millions of views every week from people looking at listings in our Cars & Trucks category,” said Nick Huzar, OfferUp co-founder and CEO, in a statement. “We created the Verified Auto Dealers Program after realizing many dealer sales reps around the country were posting vehicles in our marketplace as their ‘secret weapon’ to generate more leads.”
Earlier this year, OfferUp announced new partnerships with inventory management vendors Hammer Corp, AutoSweet, TapClassified and DealerFront to allow dealers already taking advantage of these services to seamlessly list their inventory in OfferUp’s marketplace.