Encar is a clear leader in the online automotive space in South Korea by inventory and traffic with one massive difference from carsales – it had no lead attribution for its paying Dealers.
A Dealer would list their inventory on Encar with the Vehicle Detail page showing all the Dealer’s details (address, phone number, etc) and no email lead form. The phone number was the Dealer’s so there was no tracking or recording of the calls. Therefore Encar had no way of knowing how many people were making contact with a Dealer meaning there was absolutely no lead attribution to Encar from the Dealer. This makes it hard to charge for the true value the website is delivering.
This of course flies in the face of the carsales’ business model which, being a lead based model, relies on lead attribution to carsales from the Dealer.
Even if we were never going to introduce a lead model into the Encar business, lead attribution has to be an important facet to ensuring Encar can show the Dealer real value by way of selling cars.
So planning was put in place to insert a lead form into the Vehicle Detail page and setup Call Connect which would see Encar supply the Dealer’s with a phone number where the call details can be tracked, recorded and stored in a database.
I think it was fair to say that the Koreans weren’t sure if Korean consumers would insert their details into a lead form or if Dealers would accept a phone number from Encar that would record the phone call.
We made the website enhancements towards mid 2015 and the first month saw tens of thousands email leads and phone calls logged as Encar leads. In the 12 months after the number of leads multiplied by a factor of 4-5 and still rising.
The next phase is to introduce the Dealer’s to Lead Management to ensure every lead is treated as a car buying prospect and for the Dealer to sell cars from Encar.com.
Introducing a lead model does not necessarily have to be the panacea to driving growth but the steps required to be in a position to be able to switch to a lead model are vital in ensuring a strong, viable online auto vertical leader.