In today’s incredibly competitive and increasingly digital automotive market, dealerships need to do whatever they can to set themselves apart from their competition. Chances are there’s a dealership a short distance away that also sells the same vehicles you do, and at similar prices.
So, how can you make sure shoppers come to your dealership when it is time to buy? That is where having a strong automotive merchandising strategy comes in.
What is Automotive Merchandising?
The most simple definition of merchandising is any behavior taken to promote and sell a product. This includes more than you think, as every form of contact between your dealership and your customers, from ads and your website to speaking to your sales staff, fits under that umbrella.
A strong automotive merchandising strategy means optimizing as many of these interactions as possible.
Why is Strong Automotive Merchandising Important to Your Dealership?
Unfortunately, your cars don’t sell themselves, and others are trying to sell similar vehicles to your potential customers. Employing a strong automotive merchandising strategy helps you by:
- Helping your dealership be discovered by shoppers
- Convincing those shoppers to come into your dealership
- Converting prospective buyers into customers
- Encouraging those customers to return to your dealership
What You Need to Know to Have Strong Automotive Merchandising
As we’ve mentioned, strong automotive merchandising encompasses many aspects of your business, including:
- Marketing and ads
- Your website content
- Your website’s design
- Sales-customer interactions
- Customer interactions with any member of your staff
Keep these in mind as you learn some strategies for strengthening your own merchandising
Consumers Make Their Decisions Online
People used to shop around at multiple dealerships to find the cars they wanted. Now 46% of people only visit one dealership. They’re not doing any less shopping. They’re just changing the location. The average buyer spends more than 16 hours researching their automotive purchases online.
To be found by these shoppers, you need to be where they’re looking. Place ads on the third-party websites they research on, like Cars.com and Autotrader.
Consumers want transparency. Your online ads, VDPs, and other merchandising pages need to have thorough and detailed information on each vehicle. It is paramount that this content includes price justification, which lets customers know they’re getting a good deal.
Don’t expect this online shopping trend to slow down. If your dealership does not have an online component to your merchandising strategy, you will get left behind.
Trust is Important, Make Sure You’re Accurate
In past decades, auto salespeople have developed a reputation for being untrustworthy. Consumers just accepted dealing with this as an occasional part of life. With the increased emphasis on information and transparency, building trust has become a huge part of merchandising.
Customers can verify the information on your website, so make sure it is all accurate and up to date. They also expect similar accuracy and honestly from your sales team. If your facts are off, you run the risk of losing trust, and people will not buy from you if they do not trust you.
Visuals Can Be as Important as Content
It doesn’t matter how much online content you have, if your website looks unattractive or is difficult to read or navigate, potential customers will lose interest.
Web pages need to be well-designed and intuitive. The information should be organized in a way that is easy to digest and understand. Use of good photos and other visuals can also do a lot to enhance a page.
You Need to Make Each Vehicle Stand Out
Chances are, you’re not the only local dealership selling from your manufacturers, and you’re certainly not the only local dealership selling your class of vehicle. Give buyers a reason to choose your specific car.
People don’t shop based on price alone, and anyone can lower the price of a car. Shoppers want value, and by pointing out what makes your products unique, you demonstrate your value.
Mention unique attributes of the vehicles on your inventory. Maybe it has some luxury or tech package. Perhaps it has very low mileage. Include this information in your ads and website content. These details also help justify when a vehicle has a higher price than a competitor’s.
Make Your Automotive Merchandising Stronger with MAX
No one said strong automotive merchandising would be simple. Fortunately, MAX Digital can make it much easier. Our online auto merchandising platform helps you enhance your online content, create informative ads, and turns your sales team into experts on every vehicle on your lot. Sign up for a demo and learn how MAX can help your dealership.