Kijiji Autos: Setting Sites on Shaking Up Canadian Online Sales in 2019

Kijiji Autos: Setting Sites on Shaking Up Canadian Online Sales in 2019
Leanne Kripp presenting the new Kijiji Auto at the Kijiji DealerTalkX 2018 in Montreal. (Photo: Caroline Morneau)

As the calendar begins to flip over to 2019, one of the leading players in online auto sales space is promising to shake up the paradigm.

Kijiji, Canada’s #1 online classifieds site, is leveraging the leadership and expertise it has built in the auto sector since 2005 by launching Kijiji Autos – a brand new, stand-alone online automotive marketplace, with its own app and website under the Kijiji brand.

“We draw over 17 million unique visitors a month to our Kijiji site,” says Kijiji’s Head of Autos, Leanne Kripp. “Our automotive business sees an average of six million unique visitors every single month. We have tremendous amount of traffic that is heading to the cars and vehicles section in order to find a vehicle, so we feel it’s time to give those users a uniquely tailored marketplace of their own.”

Stand-alone experience

Now in the soft launch phase, Kripp says Kijiji wanted to differentiate themselves in the market and saw an opportunity to create a stand-alone experience that sat beside the familiar Kijiji brand. “No one else has something like Kijiji Autos in the marketplace today,” says Kripp. “We have the unique ability to cross-promote and bring over some of those consumers that are on the Kijiji platform over to Kijiji Autos. By having the horizontal alongside the vertical, we have something that is completely unique and differentiates us in the marketplace.”

Kijiji Autos was built from the ground up based on research, with Kripp’s team speaking to more than 2,000 consumers and 500 dealers about what really matters to them. They found that consumers want three main things when it comes to the car shopping journey: convenience, abundance and trust. They also want a mobile-first, highly visual, curated experience in the online component.

“That fundamental research informed how we put Kijiji Autos together. When the new platform is available to all Canadians in the new year, they will see a clear focus on the idea of lifestyle discovery and transparency. Buyers who may be less experienced and need more guidance can get inspiration through browsing by needs – whether they’re looking for a family car, a commuter car or something more,” Kripp says.

At the same time, Kijiji Autos has also kept the needs and wants of dealers in sharp focus while building the platform as well. More than 500 dealers were consulted, 79 per cent said they wanted the focus to be squarely on the consumer experience. Response to the initial test site evolution has been very strong.

“Dealer feedback thus far has been exceptional,” says Kripp. “We’re having OEMs, dealer groups, single franchise and independent dealerships reach out asking to meet with us and get signed up to preview the site in its beta launch. It’s been exciting and overwhelming.”

Understanding users

Kripp says one of the core fundamentals behind developing Kijiji Autos is the understanding that people do more online research than ever before – before ever walking into a dealership – and therefore, dealers need to be mindful about what information they’re including online and how to help those less experienced shoppers discover a vehicle they might not have considered before.

“Do you need room for kids? How important is cargo space? Will you be taking the car to and from work on a regular basis? By utilizing lifestyle-oriented search parameters, all of those points can sharpen and tailor the customer search experience to make it convenient and easy,” Kripp says.

It’s also designed to help vehicle shoppers find their way, even if they DON’T know exactly what they’re looking for. Credible research shows that among some segments, two-thirds of prospective buyers have no idea of the make, model or trims they’re interested in. But what they do know are “body style,” “important features” (i.e. “I love my navigation and rear-view camera”), and, most importantly, colour – 100 per cent of the time, for a significant number of buyers.

Strategical partenership

A key feature is the price analysis tool, which speaks to the transparency pillar identified in the research. “We’ve partnered with CARFAX as our data provider to ensure our pricing guidelines are fair and accurate,” says Kripp. “It’s not just looking at marketplace pricing, the new Kijiji Autos vertical provides pricing guidelines along with vehicle history data. It looks at multiple market prices, vehicles sold data, and it also includes the vehicle history report,” says Kripp. “When a consumer is on the VDP or the search results page, the information comes back as a tag, identifying whether or not it’s a great price, a good price, a fair price or above average.”

Clicking on the listing and going to the VDP will provide more detail around that pricing. “There are multiple data points that are factored in,” says Kripp. “Even if it’s above market average, the consumer is encouraged to reach out to the dealer because there might be a reason why that vehicle is priced higher; maybe it has some extra options. It’s all designed to give that transparency to the consumer, so they know whether they’re getting a good price.”

Kijiji Autos is now available to consumers and dealers and can be found in the App store, Google Play Store and directly at kijijiautos.ca for Apple and android. Promotional marketing campaigns will be turned on early in 2019.

There has been extensive testing across Canada with consumers and dealers, and their feedback has been directly applied toward the new platform. “We’re very excited about this launch, but it will continue to evolve,” says Kripp. “This is just the beginning.”

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