Industry Trends

TradePending Vs. Kelley Blue Book

We’re frequently asked by our future customers, consumers, and our friends, what’s the difference between TradePending and Kelley Blue Book? The answer is simple: transparency, simplicity, and branding.


As every industry becomes more digitized, valuable data within those industries becomes more available, visible, and actionable. In many cases, it’s data that forms the foundation of the entire transaction. Buying a new home requires comparable transactions, detailed data about the health of the building and property, and knowledge of market health and supply. Consumers flock to sites like Zillow and, feasting upon all of this instantly available and amazing market data.
Unfortunately this level of transparency still isn’t industry standard in the automotive industry.
Trade-in valuation tools like Kelley Blue Book still primarily focus on “book values”, with the data behind their price ranges hidden to the consumer. Here we arrive at an important consideration when thinking about data and transparency. 
The value to the consumer isn’t just having data and making it available to them, it’s visualizing the data so that any person can easily interpret what the data tells them.
This data visualization is an excellent differentiator compared KBB and their peers. Our SNAPShot report provides easily readable reports, backed with nationwide data on over 8 million listings, refreshed daily. The transparency these reports offer build trust with your customers, and result in more leads, conversations, and sales.



While the process to receive a trade-in value with Kelley Blue Book Instant Cash Offer takes minutes, TradePending’s takes about 10 seconds. We’re 60x faster, but why does that matter?
Our role is to help dealers quickly capture more website traffic while helping consumers get their trade-in values. We typically increase trade-in leads by 300% because of our simplicity.
What does simplicity mean? It means ridiculously optimized for mobile, since over 60% of a dealer’s website traffic comes from mobile devices. In four to five clicks, consumers have their trade-in valuation.
Simplicity also means we don’t ask tons of questions, nor require a shopper to go find the VIN on their car and enter it in the form. These extra steps kill conversion rates.


When we hear people say, “Yes, but KBB has the big name brand, and we want that”, and we ask for clarification, here are the two responses we’ve heard since 2014.
  1. “Their brand name is more recognizable than TradePending’s name, and therefore more people click on it.” The reality is we routinely generate 300-400% more leads.
  2. “People trust their name more.” The reality is that visualizing the market data trumps brand name every day. Plus, when consumers bring in valuations based upon book data, which no dealer uses to price inventory, and you can’t honor that price, the consumer may still trust KBB, but now they don’t trust you.
“The fact that TradePending isn’t some huge cookie-cutter brand is a huge plus. Customers accept Trade and trust it more. They see they’re going to get accurate values, not some lowball number controlled by a corporate decision maker.” – Jim Congdon, Burritt Motors. Read the full post here.
Dealers must also recognize that KBB competes with them for the same leads. We don’t spend millions in advertising trying to build the TradePending brand to get consumers to shop for vehicles on our site. That’s not our business model.


Yes, the average consumer recognizes the Kelley Blue Book name but are consumers being issued accurate trade-in valuations? KBB builds their pricing based on book values, which poses a few issues. The lag time in their data doesn’t take into account economical conditions, industry issues, and location. 

Picture this, you have a lead that’s ready to buy and they have a car that they would like to trade-in. They go to your website to do a little research, because 80% of all car purchases begin online. After following the necessary, lengthy process of entering the details of their vehicle, they their trade-in value. That value looks fantastic to them so they print out their estimate and head into the dealership. Uh, oh…that estimate ends up not matching what their car is actually worth. Consumers may trust the KBB name, but when they come into your dealership and get a different value than how you price cars…well, now they don’t trust you. Speaking of trust…


Trust is a hot topic in the automotive industry. If you can gain the trust of a customer you’ll have them for life. Transparency, simplicity, branding, and accuracy are all factors in building trust that will eventually deliver results in more quality leads, conversations, and sales.

Building Blocks of Trust: 

  1. Data transparency that provides your customers true market values based on the temperature of the market and location. 
  2. Simple forms that take seconds to fill out and seamlessly captures a lower funnel lead. 
  3. A valuation tool for your dealership that doesn’t compete with your brand and keeps your customer on your site.
  4. Trade-in valuations that equip your dealership for better conversations and your customers with accurate information.
Ready to see a demo of Trade? 


Updated August 11, 2022