Selling successfully on car dealer platforms: Tips for ideal photos and descriptions

by Doris Bauer

Over seven million used cars change hands in Germany every year. For professional car dealers, the large, well-known dealer platforms offer many opportunities. Because already from under ten euros per vehicle, KFZ dealers can reach many millions of potential buyers here. The enormous reach is the biggest advantage of the large platforms: records twelve million visitors every month, Autoscout24 over seven million. These are potential end customers and buyers of other dealers from all over Germany who research their next vehicle there.

In addition, thanks to numerous functions and information for end users and dealers, the major market leaders are far more than just exchanges for classified ads. There are handy tools to create, analyze and manage ads, features like videos, 360-degree photos or the application features. At the same time, the competition there is enormous: the two largest platforms for new and used cars have around a million sales ads or more online at any given time. In other words, the popular platforms are a very large pond, but also full of fish.

Here we show you how to ideally present your vehicles on these large platforms and receive qualified purchase inquiries.

The cost of commercial listings

The platforms offer different prices, packages and options for dealers. At, commercial offers cost from around 30 euros per ad. The costs for the dealer account are staggered according to the number of advertisements. The account costs from 60 euros per month. At Autoscout24, the price scale is similar, starting at 39 euros for two vehicles. With high sales volume the price per vehicle sinks with both offerers on clearly under ten euro.

To advertise vehicles correctly

How can one stand out here as KFZ dealer with its announcements positively and convince prospective customers to take up contact to the car salesman? Contact because of simple inquiries only cost time, we want as a car dealer concrete inquiries and arrange viewing appointments, instead of incessantly answering questions about previous history and condition of vehicles. A good online listing of a vehicle accomplishes two goals: first, it gets found in the first place, and second, it draws attention away from the price and toward the vehicle. Why this vehicle and not one of the many comparable ones?

Doubt, open questions and skepticism scare prospective buyers away to other offers. We need to actively avoid this.

An ad doesn't have to be perfect, but the goal should be to be more attractive and clearer than those of comparable specimens.

Buyers - whether private or dealer - don't like surprises. Every open question suggests a potential problem, lowers interest and depresses the achievable sales price. With the platforms' abundant supply, there is always plenty to choose from and the next ad is just a click away. The more detailed the ad shows the vehicle and the fewer questions are left unanswered, the more confidence potential buyers have in the vehicle.

Offers have plenty of competition on the major platforms. Here dealers must stand out with their offers from the competition, so that not only favorable prices provide for attention to the own vehicles.

Smaller portals as an alternative?

In addition to the big top dogs, there are other auctions for used cars and search portals for used cars through which car dealers can offer vehicles to private customers. Examples are, or Overarching search portals such as complement the ways in which buyers can find vehicle offers today. General portals for classified ads or auctions such as ebay, ebay Kleinanzeigen or Facebook complement the platforms on which vehicles can be offered. However, as a dealer who wants to achieve ideal revenues, you should avoid classified ad portals. Often you offer no added value through better services or smooth processing and have only a limited circle of potential customers.

Tips for the perfect vehicle photos:

It is especially important that you show the vehicle from its best side. This starts with the cleanliness and care of the vehicle itself, goes to the environment and lighting of the pictures to photographic tricks and the quality of the shots. For example, you should choose a green corner in the yard or a bright, spacious area indoors as a backdrop.

Good photos create clarity and answer many questions. Bad photos sow doubt and raise questions.

Photo checklist

  1. Always take only your own photos, no pictures from the manufacturer, from the Internet or from the previous owner (copyright)
  2. The vehicle should be sparkling clean. This applies to the paint, but also for windows, brakes and rims
  3. Make photos at about chest height, no frontal views, but angled perspectives
  4. No photos with the winter steel wheels, if also higher-quality aluminum rims belong to it. If steel rims, then always with hubcaps
  5. No photos with mounted attachments and accessories, or only as additional photos: child seats, roof racks, cell phone holders or similar should be disassembled for the most important pictures. Buyers want to see the car
  6. No price tag on the picture, preferably no references to the season (both are quickly out of date)
  7. The car should live in the detail photos: Turn on ignition, turn on nav/infotainment
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The right image arrangement for sale ads

The sales platforms allow numerous images to be uploaded for a vehicle. The limit is around 15 images, depending on the provider. If there is not enough space for all the important perspectives and equipment highlights, we have to focus on the most important features. But beware: leaving out always stirs up mistrust. If we show the car from the right side, we should also show the left side, otherwise a prospective buyer might suspect that there is a reason to leave that side out.

We recommend arranging the pictures logically: first a tour from all sides around the car from the outside with four or more pictures, then the details from the interior. This way, prospective buyers get a feel for the vehicle and can inspect it via the pictures almost as if it were real. This includes showing important features: Convertibles should be shown with the roof open and closed. We should also show variable interior features such as a fold-out third row of seats or front/rear armrests in action.

Optimize the key image

The first image is the key image that appears in the search results. This is therefore the most important of all images. Here the car should be seen as a whole, classically from diagonally in front. The goal here is to be able to clearly recognize the vehicle model even in the small preview view. Detail photos, on the other hand, are not well suited as key images. A photo showing our car from diagonally in front has proven best.

Logos and text on images?

With a writing on the key image, the offer could stand out among all the search results. "Two years inspection free", "HU new" or "1st hand" could be good arguments, depending on the vehicle segment, why the own offer is better than the competition and increase the click rate on the offer. A logo of a brand representation can also create trust. One should make sure that the lettering is large enough to be still readable in the small preview size and at the same time does not cover the vehicle image.

Here, however, the problem remains that the dealer platforms do not like to see this. Autoscout24 prohibits it in the terms of use to upload photos with inserted logos. Instead, only the vehicle should be shown. In practice, this is tolerated as long as the logos do not obscure the car. At, the rules are somewhat looser - here logos, picture frames and lettering are also tolerated.

Transporting information with images

Many car dealers rely on inserting general information about the dealership as images in each image gallery: The dealership's location on a map, photos of the sales contact, or service awards from the dealership. This can help create recognition and raise awareness of the dealership's brand. However, for the actual sale, this plays a lesser role compared to the car photos. In case of doubt, concrete photos of the car are more important.

A well-made collage with general information and pictures of the house can help to create trust. Especially if it can be seen here that it is a large house with high-quality inventory. Pictures can show even more than the car or the dealer's operation: photos of the checkbook and invoices of major repairs can also ensure that prospective buyers find our offer more trustworthy than others.

Easy mistakes to avoid:

1. Poor photos (too dark, blurry), missing perspectives

2.         Not listing important equipment features

3. uploading equipment lists only as images

4. publishing ads without (complete) photos ("pictures follow")

The right title

The free-text search helps users find exactly matching vehicle variants and equipment. If we already use this in the ad title, our ad will show up there in the results. However, space is limited, because only one or two special features find room in the title. Few miles, sports package, timing belt new? Focus on the really important aspects suitable for the model and age, the rest prospective buyers will find in the description.

Be found: Description and Special Features

Incomplete descriptions enable bargains, we want the opposite.

Commercial buyers look for good opportunities in specific vehicle segments. Also, often work with automatic alerts for matching segments. For example, vehicles that are poorly described but where the knowledgeable eye can spot attractive features. Or vehicles that need work that depresses the value but is easy for the dealer to calculate.

In contrast, private buyers often use very specific search criteria such as the age, model or even specific features they are looking for. Here, the descriptions of the car dealers can not be too detailed. If poor, incomplete descriptions make bargains possible, professional dealers should do the opposite.

For maximum visibility and appeal, all relevant features should be found in the ad. This helps to be findable via the search function and attracts prospective buyers who are looking very specifically for features, color and equipment packages. At the same time, meaningful descriptions reduce inquiries that can cost a lot of time. Private buyers are interested in more than just the key data, they weigh several copies of the desired model against each other.

Professional car dealers must not make the mistakes of many private sellers: These often do not know the specific equipment or do not perceive interesting extras as something special. Even experienced car dealers often do not have the specific details of a model in mind: Is this the millionfold delivered series seats or is it the rare comfort seats?

If such details do not emerge from the existing documents, a FIN, and/or VIN inquiry can give concrete information about the series and special equipment of a vehicle. Thus dealers do not miss any detail of the equipment. After all, rarely ordered optional equipment can significantly increase the value or attractiveness and thus reduce the service life. Even the specific factory designation of the color variant helps to leave no customer questions unanswered.

Dispel last concerns

When prospective buyers are interested in a particular model, they have often already researched many details. What are typical weaknesses, what to look out for, what expensive maintenance might be due? Classics such as timing belts are self-evident, but the connoisseur will have found out much more specific problem areas and will be concerned about them.

The profit lies in the purchase

As the old merchant's wisdom says, the greatest profit potential lies in the right purchase. Here, both the purchase price and the difference between target and actual condition play a role. At CarOnSale you can buy objectively tested dealer vehicles at low prices. Sign up for free and start worry-free shopping via CarOnSale today.