Messaging Car Buyers using OfferUp Live Chat: Tips and Tricks

Learn how to get the most from every chat and message

Messaging through OfferUp

In 2021, every 7 out of 10 used car buyers say they are more likely to buy from a dealership if they can start the process online (Source: COX Automotive). Did you know 1 in 10 used car purchasers are now completed entirely online? Not only that, in the past 12 months, used car purchases completed entirely online via smartphones soared by almost 50%, compared to only 22% for desktops (Source: Automotive Management).

In 2020, Millennials equaled 32% of 2020 car buying shoppers. Millennials are twice as likely as Baby Boomers to buy a vehicle entirely online, especially on their phones! (Source: New York Times) These purchasers are much more often than not reaching out through chat-based services. This means your first point of contact with a buyer will most likely be through live chat, and through a phone at that.

Given how buying cars through your phone is the clear industry trend, we have compiled a few tips and tricks below to help you develop efficient and effective messaging practices through your mobile device. 

1. Respond Quickly 

We encourage sellers to respond to buyers as quickly as possible. If you respond within 0-2 minutes, the likelihood of a buyer responding to you is 62% compared to just 35% if you respond after 3+ hours. A quick response displays professionalism and makes a great first impression on the buyer.

While 79% of customers prefer live chat because of how quickly they can get a response, 1 in 5 will stop using a product or service because of slow response times. The average response time for emails is 12 hours. For social media, it’s 10 hours. By using live chat, your customers can get answers to their questions in minutes, but only if you respond! (Source:

If you and your team are looking for an easy way to respond to leads from your phone, did you know about the text replacement/shortcut feature?


For iPhones: tap Settings > General > Keyboard > Text Replacement


For Android: tap Settings > General management > Samsung Keyboard settings > More typing options > Text shortcuts

Text replacement will enable you to send prepared or canned responses off much faster, saving you time and providing consistent messaging! 

If you find you are unable to keep up with all the messages in your inbox, consider OfferUp’s very own Concierge Chat Service to handle all inbound chats! OfferUp is also partnered with third-party chat responders, Hammer and Gubagoo.  

2. Notifications 

Make sure your notifications are turned on! If you notice you aren’t receiving notifications from the OfferUp app, you can follow the steps below to ensure you are alerted when you receive a message. 


From your device settings:

  1. Open your device settings

  2. Tap Notifications, then OfferUp

  3. Toggle Allow Notifications on or off

If OfferUp isn’t in your notifications settings yet, enable in from the app:

  1. Open the app

  2. Tap for My Account

  3. Tap Enable Push Notifications

  4. Tap Enable and Allow when prompted


From your device settings:

  1. Open the Apps & notifications settings

  2. Tap OfferUp

  3. Tap App notifications and toggle notifications on or off

From the app:

  1.  Open the app

  2. Tap Account

  3. Tap Enable Show Notifications 

  4. Check Show Notifications

Keep in mind, some data-saving and power-saving settings on your device can also affect notifications. 

3. Tone

It’s important to be welcoming in your messaging. People want to shop where they feel welcome or appreciated. Consider thanking the customer for their interest in your initial response - being polite goes a long way over messaging where the tone of voice, body language, and facial expressions cannot be picked up. 

4. Content 

Try your best to avoid one-word responses in your messaging. With each chat you send, think about what the end goal is and how you are trying to achieve that. If a customer reaches out regarding a specific vehicle that has recently sold, encourage them to check out your other inventory options that are a similar model or price. Just because that specific vehicle is no longer available, by no means indicates they wouldn’t be willing to purchase something similar. Ask the buyer clarifying questions - if they provide an offer you deem too low, consider asking the customer if that would be a down payment or their cash price.

It’s always a good idea to encourage test drives if you have the capability - urge the customer to come in and get a first-hand experience of the car if possible. Lastly, don’t be afraid to reach back out to older leads! They may still be in the buying process, especially if the vehicle they were initially interested in wasn’t a fit. 

5. Ask for help

Every Verified Dealer at OfferUp has a dedicated manager and is ready to help you review your current messaging practices and give you practical, next steps to help you engage and convert more car buyers. Simply email OfferUp, or contact us here.