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3rd Party Data Feed Setup Procedures
Chances are, the company who had been servicing your new dealer client before they signed on with you, was sending the dealers vehicle inventory and photos that they collected to all of the 3rd party classified sites that the dealer has accounts with. Example: Cars.com®, AutoTrader®, etc.
At the very least, the dealer may have an account with a 3rd party who hosts their web inventory, and perhaps that 3rd party is sending the inventory to the additional sites on their behalf.
Whether it be the first case where you will need to have us send the dealers inventory to quite a few sites, or the latter where you will need us to send the inventory to just one 3rd party, your company in most cases is going to be expected to send the dealers inventory and photos that you collect "somewhere".
Now for pricing reasons, it's probably a good idea that you get an idea of where, and to how many sites the dealers inventory is going to need to go prior to signing the dealer on with your company. At the very least, you are going to need to collect this information after the dealer has signed on with your company so that you can proactively get busy getting those data feeds in place.
Normally, you will want to ask the dealer for:
- A list of all 3rd party sites their inventory is going to. Now by this, we do not mean free sites per-se. Some sticker companies will send a dealers inventory to a various free, and often barely heard of classified sites as a means of making the dealer "think" they are getting something worthwhile for free, when they actually are not, as rarely will the dealer even get any leads from these sites. What we are talking about is sites that the dealer knows they have, because they have created an account with these sites and normally pay quite a bit of money each month for listings on them. Examples, once again, Cars.com®, AutoTrader®, etc.
- In addition to collecting the list of sites, you are going to need to know who to contact at these companies. The dealer will normally have contact information for their account representative with each of the 3rd party classified sites. The account representative is generally the best person to make contact with in order to get the ball rolling in regard to getting an inventory data feed established.
- In some cases the 3rd party will ask to send you (or the dealer) an authorization form that the dealer must sign and return to them, or they may request a letter on the dealers letterhead signed by the dealer authorizing your company to make the request on the dealers behalf. Some of our clients have created "generic" authorization forms/letters that they have the dealer sign at the same time the dealer signs on with them. These generic letters seem to be sufficient for most 3rd parties. Over time, you will see enough commonalities between authorization forms/letters to where you can come up with a generic one of your own that should work for most 3rd party classified sites.
for an example of an AutoTrader.com authorization letter.
You will need to make contact with each of the 3rd parties and let them know that your company is now handling collecting the inventory data and photos and that you will be sending it to them on the dealers behalf.
Now, these are the most important steps:
- Let them know that your company is using WalkTheLot.com to send vehicle data feeds on you and the dealers behalf. The vast majority of 3rd parties are already familiar with us, and chances are, either currently receive feeds from us, or have at some time in the recent past.
- Have them send a "feed request" 7along with any "data feed specifications" and FTP login credentials to support@INSERT_OUR_DOMAIN_NAME_HERE_TO_STOP_SPAM_ROBOTS.com.
- If for any reason you would prefer to have 3rd parties email feed requests to you rather than us, that's fine, just forward the emails to us. Keep in mind, it is still best that they know you are using WalkTheLot.com, otherwise, complications and confusion can arise.
After we receive the feed request, we take it from there. Feeds are normally setup anywhere from within 15 minutes to up to 1 business day, depending on when the request comes in. Keep in mind, delays may occur as a result of slow communication by the 3rd party. Also keep in mind that some 3rd parties only process incoming feeds certain times of the day, such as once daily at 5AM. Therefore, even though we send the feed out very quickly, the inventory may still not appear right away on the destination site due to circumstances beyond our control.
As always, if you have any questions, feel free to contact us.