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Visits to CycleTrader.com making ‘dramatic turnaround’

Views of motorcycles and other powersports vehicles on CycleTrader.com, the industry’s largest classified marketplace, are increasing in both frequency and scope, according to CycleTrader.com vice president Jack Webber.

With a cold and rainy Q1 in the rearview, consumers are visiting CycleTrader.com in record numbers. In fact, annual visits to CycleTrader.com reached more than 38.2 million in 2013, a significant leap from the 25.7 million in 2011 and double the 16.5 million annual visits in 2009.

“Things are looking up for 2014,” Webber said. “And how the consumer will view our units this spring and summer will be dramatically different than just two years ago.”

The dramatic upswing shown by the data reveals that consumers over the five-year period from 2009-13 are continuing to show growing interest in motorcycles.

“In 2009 and 2010, what we saw at CycleTrader in terms of overall visits to the site, interest or enthusiasm from the consumer segment, really hit a very low point for us,” Webber said. “That makes sense, knowing the economic situation. There just weren’t an awful lot of people coming to CycleTrader thinking about spending money.”

Click image to view larger (Source: CycleTrader.com)
Click image to view larger (Source: CycleTrader.com)

“Then what we saw beginning in 2010 and ending in 2011 was a real dramatic turnaround in those consumer tendencies, in terms of interest. Without question, on CycleTrader.com, there’s been a dramatic return and increase in the overall enthusiasm. The last three years have seen significant year-over-year growth.”

With pre-owned sales continuing to rise annually and new unit sales stabilizing, it’s a combination that has shown promise.

“New unit sales are no longer falling, enthusiasm and interest on the consumer side has returned in a big way, and our hope is that the combination of those things results in new unit sales coming back,” Webber said.

Mobile usage on the rise

Not only are more consumers viewing bikes on CycleTrader.com than in the past five years; they’re doing so via mobile. Webber said that 45 percent of traffic to CycleTrader.com comes from mobile devices such as web-enabled smartphones and tablets. That number was less than 15 percent in 2012.

“One thing that has happened in a very significant way is the channel in which consumers are conducting that search or that exploration today, in comparison to how they were doing it just as recently as two years ago — the advent of mobile as a search channel for consumers,” Webber said. “Mobile has exploded in the motorcycle industry in terms of consumers adopting that channel as a way to conduct and spend time doing their research and exploration.”

Similarly, CycleTrader.com has taken action to ensure that the user experience is both informative and efficient for consumers.

“That’s become an important part of our business, understanding how to serve content to mobile consumers, and it’s different than it is on desktop. We understand that when mobile shoppers are going through that experience, they want speed and stability,” Webber said.

CycleTrader’s race team sponsorship has provided an ideal marketing partnership for the brand.
CycleTrader’s race team sponsorship has provided an ideal marketing partnership for the brand.

CycleTrader.com has spent much of the past year pushing its content into the cloud, so that regardless of geographic location, the consumer experiences “lightning-fast, sub-second” results after each click, Webber said.

Perhaps most interesting from an industry standpoint is that CycleTrader.com’s mobile growth has been incremental.

“It hasn’t come at the expense of desktop traffic,” Webber said. “It’s new consumers whose preference for shopping is via mobile devices, and they’re coming and finding our content there. The net result is that the traffic result, much of it via mobile, is leading to increased leads for dealers, and ultimately leading into more unit sales. Because of the advances that are happening with mobile as a search channel and what we’re doing from a technology standpoint, we are delivering significantly more leads to our customers today.”

Marketing push

CycleTrader.com’s sponsorship of the Rock River Powersports Yamaha race team has provided the brand with on-site marketing opportunities at Supercross and Motocross events.

At the Supercross race in New York, CycleTrader.com teamed up with the Motorcycle Mall in New Jersey to host a race team event at the dealership. The autograph signing party reportedly attracted 1,000 consumers to the dealership.

“We do that in each race city,” Webber said. “It’s allowed us to reach audiences that we may not have been reaching through our existing channels. Based on the demographics, it’s a great chance to bring CycleTrader to a younger generation of future riders.”

In addition to old-school marketing tactics, Webber added that the company is now paying nearly 300 percent on paid marketing that bolsters search engine optimization enhancements.

“That balance of SEO and SEM continues to drive our efforts on the digital and mobile marketplace,” he said.


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