Marketing

Convertus partners with TRADER Corp.

VANCOUVER - 

One of the many expert speakers who shared valuable information to dealers and other attendees during this year’s AuSM Canada Conference made a major announcement on Wednesday.

According to a letter posted on the company’s website, Convertus co-founder and managing partner Kevin Gordon announced that the company has officially partnered with the TRADER Corp. “with the aim of creating the ultimate digital solutions within the Canadian automotive industry.”

Gordon indicated that Convertus will operate as a separate entity from TRADER, but will now have access to capital that will enable the company to innovate and grow at a faster rate than ever before.

“In less than five years, Convertus has grown from a lean start-up of two young (and devilishly handsome) co-founders operating out of a single bedroom in a downtown Vancouver apartment, to a team of over 65 strong,” Gordon wrote . “We stayed the course and defied the odds, becoming one of the fastest-growing and most disruptive companies in the industry.

"Both Nicholas (Williams) and myself will be staying with the company as managing partners, continuing to steer the ship from our Vancouver office alongside our amazing team,” Gordon continued. “We will continue to offer premium digital solutions and industry-leading support, as we have since our humble beginnings. All of the key elements which have led dealers to work with Convertus (and which made our company awesome in general) will remain intact.”

Gordon reflected back on why he and Williams started Convertus.

“We first created this company with a single goal in mind: to build best-in-class marketing and technology offerings, helping move the Canadian automotive industry forward in the process,” Gordon said. “Our vision was clear, our efforts relentless, and in many ways, we feel that we have been successful in accomplishing our objective.

“Continuing on with our rocket ship-momentum, Convertus is now entering a new chapter, with an incredible opportunity to further impact our industry in ways that would have been otherwise impossible,” he continued. “The combination of Convertus and Trader will benefit the client bases of both companies, in addition to the vast-majority of car shoppers across the country.

Gordon closed his update by giving a special mention to the firms that have helped Convertus grow.

“On behalf of the entire team at Convertus, it is with the most genuine sincerity and humble gratitude that we want to thank you, our loyal clients, for placing your trust in us,” Gordon wrote. “Everything we have been able to accomplish is a result of your believing in us, and your willingness to take a chance on Convertus, and for that, we are eternally grateful.

“Let’s continue to change the game together. The best is yet to come,” he concluded.



UCDA rolls out new website to boost sales in Ontario

TORONTO - 

The Used Car Dealers Association of Ontario (UCDA) is orchestrating a new online effort to connect shoppers and dealerships within the province.

The newest solution for Ontario vehicle shoppers — Ontariocars.ca — powered by UCDA members is designed to assure consumers that all vehicles listed for sale on the site come with eight specific elements, including:

—All-in pricing: Meaning the price you see is the price you get.

—Full disclosure: Vehicles listed on Ontariocars.ca are sold with full disclosure of all the important details about the vehicle's history.

—No liens: By law, registered dealers must guarantee there are no outstanding loans on a vehicle they are selling, including all vehicles listed on Ontariocars.ca.

—No illegal sellers: Only licensed, registered dealers are permitted to list their vehicles on Ontariocars.ca, which means consumers will never be duped by illegal, unlicensed sellers.

—Compensation fund protection: A product 100 percent funded by the industry, the compensation fund will compensate consumers with a valid, proven complaint if the purchase is made through a registered dealer.

—No clutter, just cars: Ontariocars.ca is focused on vehicle listings without flashy advertisements distracting consumers from the task at hand.

—Advanced technology: Built with the latest technology, Ontariocars.ca is simple to use from your desktop or mobile device.

—Regulated sellers: All sellers are regulated by the Motor Vehicle Dealers Act and adhere to the UCDA Code of Ethics.

Based on the premise that approximately 2 million new and used vehicles are bought and sold in Ontario every year, UCDA is hopeful for what this online shopping option can do for member dealers as well as their customers.

“Ontariocars.ca was created to ensure consumers can shop for a vehicle, secure in the knowledge they will benefit from the protections afforded to them by legislation,” said Warren Barnard, executive director of the UCDA and the sponsor of .

“Ontariocars.ca is the only online source that offers all these protections on every vehicle listed on the site.”

To promote the launch of Ontariocars.ca, a series of contests is open to residents of Ontario for a chance to win four driver-themed grand prizes, including an exotic car experience, an audio/speaker system, car mats, gas cards and more.

Consumers are invited to enter for their chance to win by following Ontariocars.ca on and .

LotLinx to expand into Canada on Dec. 1

CHICAGO - 

LotLinx announced Thursday its upcoming expansion across Canada on Dec, 1 to offer Canadian dealers its TURN platform, which features the company’s VIN-View Optimizer (VVO) tool.

The December launch will be by invitation-only and will include some of Canada’s largest and most influential dealership groups in key markets such as Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver, Quebec City, Edmonton and Calgary.

LotLinx said it plans to onboard additional dealers beginning in mid-October of next year.

Via the expansion, participating dealers will be able to employ automotive AI technology created to target and score shoppers based on their search behavior.

“We’ve been hearing pleas from up north about the need for alternatives to the digital tools currently available,” LotLinx founder Len Short said in a news release.

“As our dealers here know, we strongly believe in the importance of transparency. We’re excited to bring Canadian dealers these same data-driven solutions to them to better utilize their marketing spend. Most of our AI technology has been developed from our Canadian offices, so this is something of a homecoming for us,” he continued.

The VVO tool allows dealers to both measure success and optimize campaign performance in real time.

Via this technology, LotLinx said dealers can laser focus their omni-channel marketing efforts and gain valuable insights on ROI.

Leanne Kripp, head of autos at Kijiji, said she is eager for dealers on Kijiji.ca to access LotLinx’s VIN-level marketing tools.

“Our customers have been looking for new, targeted technology that better tracks the online buying and search habits of today’s consumer,” added Kripp. “With LotLinx coming to Canada, dealers will possess a new toolkit that provides deeper insights and greater transparency than they’ve ever had to help them spend smarter and focus investment on those media channels that provide the most value. I believe dealers across Kijiji will appreciate this clearer, real-time view into their marketing performance and how well their investments are being spent.”

PERQ brings its business to Canada

INDIANAPOLIS - 

PERQ has expanded its footprint to now offer its web engagement platform services in Canada, the company announced on Wednesday.

"Why shouldn't auto dealerships in the U.S., and now Canada, have the opportunity to offer consumers a personalized, Amazon-like experience on their dealership websites?" PERQ president and co-founder Andy Medley said in a news release.

"We believe this is the standard to strive for. Our data consistently shows a large percentage of dealership website visitors are still in the early phase of their shopping process and that this kind of approach increases conversions up to 200 percent. We're excited to bring this level of success to dealerships across Canada."

Currently, PERQ's platform is in the early stages of adoption in Canada. The company said it has already generated a 31-percent conversion rate for a British Columbia dealership it studied.

"The quality of the leads is much better. The people are more qualified buyers and we're having a higher success rate on converting leads to sales," Harris Mazda general manager Doug Culham said in the release.

Harris Mazda of Nanaimo in British Columbia is one of PERQ’s first clients in Canada. Other online tools the dealership previously adopted lacked compared to results delivered by PERQ, according to owner Tony Harris.

Additionally, Harris said he is pleased to not have experienced "cross-border" problems when adopting PERQ's web engagement technology.

"Usually, when we integrate with a vendor from another country, it doesn't go well and there are issues with the conversion and integration," Harris said. "I'm happy to say with PERQ, we haven't had any issues."

Shoppers demand trust & transparency during car-buying process

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. - 

CarGurus recently released a survey that found trust to be a leading factor for consumers when shopping for expensive purchases, such as cars. 

“Survey respondents indicated that the car shopping process is very much in need of increased transparency if dealers are to win the trust of Canadian car shoppers,” the car research and shopping site said in a news release announcing the survey.

When asked which major purchases, such as a car, home, mortgage or event tickets yielded the most transparent information on price, CarGurus said: “only obtaining a mortgage (7 percent) fared worse than car buying (9 percent).”

More than a third of Canadians' trust in a seller fades away if the store price is greater than what they read advertised online, according to the survey.

23 percent of respondents said a detailed cost breakdown would increase their trust in a seller and 31 percent said they determine trustworthiness by word of mouth.

Consumers use both price information and customer reviews to make their opinions and decisions, the survey found. 

Nearly half of Canadians rely on customer reviews to determine if a website is trustworthy, according to CarGurus.

Additionally, 40 percent of survey respondents said when researching expensive items online the appearance of both positive and negative customer reviews make the process more transparent and trustworthy.

"Establishing trust goes a long way with consumers, particularly those making big purchases," CarGurus senior vice president of consumer marketing Sarah Welch said. "In our experience at CarGurus, we've seen just how much transparency – providing reliable, easily accessible customer reviews, engaging with negative reviews and keeping updated price information across online inventory platforms – enhances the consumer shopping experience, and in turns benefits dealers."

Cox Automotive Canada unveils all-new website

MISSISSAUGA, Ontario - 

Cox Automotive Canada has introduced a redesigned website to the Canadian automotive remarketing industry.

"Knowing our clients spend more time online than ever before, our website has been redesigned from a ‘mobile-friendly’ perspective; delivering a seamless experience—whether you are on your desktop computer or mobile device," Cox Automotive Canada said in an announcement Wednesday. 

The website serves as an information portal that showcases Cox Automotive Canada’s operations, according to the company.

"The automotive remarketing industry is evolving towards an integrated online experience, and along with our enhancements, our new website will also provide key information that can benefit our clients’ business," Cox Automotive Canada director of marketing and corporate communications Jack Sulymka said in a news release.

Cox Automotive Canada said the new site’s advancements in functionality makes it easy for visitors to explore the people, brands and solutions of its organization.

"We’re excited about our new website experience, and how it will better serve the media, existing and prospective clients, and build our brands in Canada," Sulymka added.

OMVIC launches all-in price advertising consumer awareness campaign

TORONTO - 

The Ontario Motor Vehicle Industry Council announced it recently launched a province-wide multi-media campaign to increase awareness of all-in price advertising.

OMVIC said it started the campaign following research the council conducted that showed some Ontario car dealers continue to add additional fees to their advertised prices — though it is illegal and disadvantages law abiding dealerships.

“Since 2010 car-buyers have had right to all-in price advertising”, OMVIC director of communications and education Terry O’Keefe said in a news release. “That means dealers must include all fees, except HST and licensing, in any advertised vehicle price.”

The council said when dealers don’t include all fees it is unfair to car-buyers and non-compliant dealers get an unfair edge over dealers who advertise prices which include all fees and charges.

“If consumers know they have a right to all-in price advertising, they are able to protect themselves should they encounter non-compliant advertising,” OMVIC said.

The Ontario-wide campaign has used television, radio, online, billboard/transit and social media advertising to inform car buyers about advertising pricing.

OMVIC’s awareness initiative includes a TV commercial directed at consumers that says, “Buying a car? The fun is back! Ontario made all-in price advertising the law for Ontario car dealers — no more hidden fees. All-in price advertising: it’s your right!”

The campaign’s 15-second TV commercial along with a 36-second radio message is currently available on .

Below are examples of fees or charges that dealers must include in an advertised price, according to OMVIC.

  • Freight
  • PDI-PDE (pre-delivery inspection/expense)
  • Administration (Admin) fee(s)
  • Government levies (air tax, etc.)
  • Safety and e-test (unless the ad contains a mandated "Unfit Vehicle" or "As-Is Vehicle" statement)

For more information on all-in price advertising, visit .

Ackroo integrates reward solution with CDK’s DMS

OTTAWA - 

Ackroo announced on Tuesday its launch of Ackroo Anywhere, a platform integrated with CDK Global's dealer management system (DMS) that allows dealers to easily distribute rewards to customers in order to drive key marketing initiatives for their respective dealerships.

With Ackroo Anywhere, dealers who utilize CDK's DMS can issue rewards without relying on customers or staff to swipe or scan their account information following a sale, according to the gift card, loyalty and rewards technology and services provider.

The platform also imports consumer data regarding member vs. non-member spending and lets customers access and manage their gift card and loyalty accounts.

"Direct integration to CDK Global's DMS solution is yet another key advancement to further differentiate Ackroo in the automotive sector. As we continue to expand in this segment advancements like integration to dealer management systems is important,” Ackroo chief executive officer Steve Levely said in a news release.

Ackroo said it delivers its automated solution to dealerships through a SaaS based business model.

“At the end of 2016 we integrated to Authenticom's middleware solution which provides extraction from the majority of DMS's being used however that work did not cover the over 9,500 dealerships in North America that use CDK's platform," Levely said.

"We then made the decision to build a direct relationship with CDK Global to provide this option for all current and prospective Ackroo dealers. That work is now complete and so we are thrilled to be an approved partner of CDK Global and we look forward to expanding our combined solution with them across the automotive industry."

Additionally, Ackroo extends complementary marketing services to assist businesses utilizing the Ackroo Anywhere platform.

Kijiji adds 2 more partners to boost dealer value

TORONTO - 

Kijiji announced this week two new partnerships which will add even more value to its dealers and users. The new partners include a photo and video capture service as well as a dealer review add-on provider, resulting in greater transparency for buyers.

Officials said the new agreements — with Car Pics 2.0 and Mobials.com — will deliver Kijiji’s ongoing commitment to provide a safe and trustworthy, high-quality environment to Canadians looking for vehicles online.

“We’re making the Kijiji user experience considerably more effective, by delivering as much of the dealership experience as possible to the online shopper,” said Leanne Kripp, head of autos for Kijiji. “Through these new partnerships, our users will have the clearest possible views and understanding of both the vehicle and dealership they are considering before they even leave home.”

Oakville, Ontario-based Car Pics 2.0 provides its dealer clients with a complete online merchandising suite, which includes high quality image and video solutions for new and used vehicles for sale.

“Captivating media content is a proven business driver for vehicle sales, and under this new partnership, all dealers who are Car Pics 2.0 clients will have those images automatically and seamlessly uploaded to their Kijiji ads,” said Bart Tecza, managing director for Car Pics 2.0.

“Our goal is simple: get buyers excited about the car they’re looking for, because the best decisions in life are the ones we’re excited to make,” Tecza continued. 

To fully maximize the new vehicle capture service, Kijiji will also be expanding the number of photos which can be posted in a single vehicle ad to 40, up from 20.

Kijiji explained that helping dealers be more transparent in their advertising by sharing true customer-generated content within the dealer’s add-on was the impetus for a partnership with Mobials.com, creators of Reviewsii. The business review platform generates customer-written and verified dealer reviews, equipping users with deeper knowledge of the dealership and how they operate as a company.

“We are excited to extend the reach of Reviewsii and Google reviews to Kijiji, with early results showing that dealers with reviews have up to a 12-percent increase in lead generation,” said Marty Meadows, president and co-founder of Mobials.  “Now Kijiji and dealers have a solution for consumer trust that delivers both Reviewsii and Google reviews from the same platform.”

Kripp closed by saying, “Together, these new partnerships further enhance our users’ experience, increasing their ability to fully explore the vehicle they’re interested in, as well as the dealer with whom they are considering starting a relationship.”

OMVIC’s latest effort to explain all-in price advertising

TORONTO - 

Some consumers are being overcharged when they buy a vehicle, according to the Ontario Motor Vehicle Industry Council.

“Since 2010, all-in price advertising has been the law in this province,” explained Terry O’Keefe, director of communications and education for OMVIC. “Unfortunately, our research shows that a small minority of car dealers continue to add hidden fees or extra costs that exceed their advertised prices.”

For that reason, the regulator this week launched a 10-week consumer awareness campaign to help further educate Ontario car buyers about their right to all-in price advertising.

Details of the campaign

Picture a dog relishing a car ride — tongue lapping the air and fur flying in the wind. It’s a sight that exemplifies simple joy, right? And it happens also to be the imagery supporting OMVIC’s message: all-in price advertising. O’Keefe explained that it’s putting the fun and excitement back into buying a vehicle — not to mention, it’s the law.

OMVIC indicated the province-wide campaign utilizes TV, radio, online and social media advertising.

“While the message delivery is lighthearted, it’s hoped the outcome will have an important affect,” O’Keefe said. “That being, consumers will avoid dealers who break the law and instead buy vehicles from those dealers who provide the fair and transparent advertising required by Ontario’s consumer protection legislation.”

To access OMVIC’s TV or radio commercials, .

Understanding all-in price advertising

OMVIC reiterated all-in price advertising is the law in Ontario. If an OMVIC-registered dealer advertises a price for a vehicle (new or used), that price must include all fees and charges the dealer intends to collect. The only additional fees a dealer can charge are HST and licensing, which refers to the actual cost of vehicle registration and plates and it cannot include extra fees added by the dealer.

An advertisement is any inducement to buy or lease a vehicle. This would include — but is not limited to — ads:

—In print (newspapers, magazines, etc.)
—On the Internet (dealer site, online marketplace, etc.)
—On social media
—On radio or TV
—On signs (including those in or on a vehicle)
—What must be included in an all-in price advertisement?

Examples of fees or charges that must be included in an advertised price include:

—Freight
—PDI-PDE (pre-delivery inspection/expense)
—Administration (admin) fee(s)
—Government levies (air tax, etc.)
—Safety and e-test (unless the ad contains a mandated "Unfit Vehicle" or "As-Is Vehicle" statement)

If a dealer intends to charge for products or services they have already pre-installed on a vehicle, those costs must also be included in the advertised price. This includes, but is not limited to:

—Nitrogen/tire protection package/locking wheel nuts
—Warranties
—Security or theft deterrent products/services (etching, etc.)
—Fuel

OMVIC pointed out that all fees must be itemized individually on the contract.

OMVIC went on to mention it does not regulate vehicle manufacturers; therefore, advertisements placed by manufacturers do not have to comply with the Motor Vehicle Dealers Act and all-in pricing is not required in manufacturer ads.

“That said, some manufacturers voluntarily comply with the all-in pricing provision and commendably provide transparency to consumers,” officials said.

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