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.
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.
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:
As we’ve mentioned, strong automotive merchandising encompasses many aspects of your business, including:
Keep these in mind as you learn some strategies for strengthening your own merchandising
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The most important automotive tools are not a socket wrench or tire jack. They are the ones used to acquire, appraise, merchandise and sell cars.
Below is just a sampling of the many automotive tools you’ll find at MAXDigital.
The key to the MAXDigital automotive toolbox is also the key to maximizing your marketing and sales strategies. Explore some of our other tools, or better yet — schedule a free demonstration to see these tools in action.
Research suggests that nearly 80 percent of consumers read online reviews before making a purchase. Close to 90 percent of people trust those reviews as much as they do friends or family.
Today’s business owners have less control over their reputation than ever. But there is still plenty you can do to monitor and shape your digital image. Below are five of the best places to seek feedback about your online reputation.
So many consumers begin their search for your business with Google so it only makes sense your search for what they’re saying about you begins in the same place.
If you have a Google account for your dealership, use Google’s “About Me” or “Me on the Web” tools. These resources provide a comprehensive snapshot of almost everything on the Web containing your business or personal name.
Yelp! has become a go-to resource for many consumers to post and read reviews, and it’s a prime destination for a dealership owner to seek out what those customers are saying. Yelp! also has instructions for how to respond to a review so you can take back some control of your reputation.
What your own employees say about you has as much to do with your online reputation as what your customers have to say. Glassdoor is an opportunity for employees to post reviews about their work environment, and it’s a good way for dealerships to see if any bad reviews may be an inside job.
SiteJabber is centered largely around reporting scams and fraud and is unique in that, unlike some review sites, businesses cannot pay money to remove negative reviews. Business owners are free to respond and manage their online reputation, though.
A huge percentage of online reviews exist not on dedicated review sites but on social media, where people go to tell their friends and followers about their experience with a particular business. Social Mention collects real-time information about your business from over 100 social media channels including Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.
MAXDigital helps car dealerships create and cultivate their online reputations through a variety of proprietary tools. We can even integrate your website with Dealer Rater to show your online ratings directly on every vehicle display page.
Schedule a demonstration to see how MAXDigital can help you gain control over your online reputation, boost your brand image, and improve sales as a result.
Dealerships face a constant struggle to sell in a digital marketplace that continues to grow. The vast majority of consumers research vehicles online before ever stepping foot inside a dealership. On average, they spend 12 hours researching vehicles online, and many times are still researching while in your showroom. This new buying process means it is time to reevaluate and adapt your sales processes to make sure you win over today’s digital consumer. Where to start?
MAXDigital SVP of Strategy and Innovation, Patrick McMullen, will outline how to understand today’s consumer. How do consumers search? How do consumers buy? Can they be separated? Today’s consumers purchase based on a combination of quality and value and consequently want to know they are buying the vehicle at a fair price, but they are not buying based on price alone.
Building trust with your consumers is a crucial step to winning them over and you can only do this by being fully transparent across all information sources.
To hear more from Patrick about how to sell in an increasingly digital marketplace, attend his NADA session:
Thursday, Jan 26
Co-op programs have a reputation in the automotive industry — and it’s not always clearly understood. Too often when we ask someone how a co-op works, they respond: A manufacturer gives a dealership free money to increase their advertising budget.
In reality, it’s not that simple. The money supplied by manufacturers for co-op advertising often comes with guidelines because, by definition, a co-op is a cooperative society, business, or enterprise. Basically, when a dealership opts to enter into a co-op with an OEM, all advertising efforts become a joint enterprise with benefits to both parties.
Find out how co-op programs can actually benefit your dealership when used effectively.
Anyone with an outgoing personality can be a car salesman, right? While it certainly helps to have a lively disposition when selling cars in person, merchandising your inventory online takes a whole different skill set.
Below are five features of an effective automotive marketing initiative.
If you work at a car dealership in 2016, you’re in a good place. The most recent NADA Data Report says that “the past six years have been the longest period of new-vehicle sales growth since the 1920s,” and this year’s outlook shows the trend continuing.
Here are some of the milestones attached to that assessment:
Perhaps more exciting than growth for the auto industry is growth for local economies. Almost 150 new dealerships opened in the past year, and more than 1.1 million people were on a car dealership’s payroll. That’s a 4.3 percent increase over 2014. Dealerships employed 67 people on average last year.
These numbers are compelling, and they say good things about the health of the auto industry overall, but we know that dealers are always looking to do better. Where is the next big opportunity?
Today, savvy car shoppers do most of their research before they stop by your showroom. They narrow down a selection of cars they want, investigate trim levels and feature lists, and carefully consider option packages. Customers want to figure out the mental math behind a vehicle’s price tag before ever hopping in for a test drive.
Now more than ever, the importance of pricing awareness hits home not just with consumers but with dealerships.
As consumer behavior evolves, so too must that of salespeople. Executing precision in the pricing of a vehicle is becoming a critical step in closing the deal. There are three major reasons why car dealerships must be extra careful with the way they price their vehicles.
The car-buying process has moved online. Most customers are doing research on a combination of OEM, third party, and dealership websites. Once they visit a dealership, they spend time showrooming, comparing the cars on your lot to your competition across town.
If you want to adapt to the digital age, protect your margins, and stop the drop, you’ve come to the right place. MAXDigital is the only provider that can help you improve your sales process every step of the way. Our software and tools use real-time data to bolster your acquisition, pricing, merchandising, and sales procedures.
When you’re doing car appraisals for your pre-owned inventory, you likely have two goals:
Further simplified, you’re looking for the right car at the right price. How can you guarantee that these goals are in line with one another? Those are two birds just waiting to be taken care of with a single stone, but you need the proper tools and strategy if you want to pull it off.
MAXDigital offers just the solution you need: an exclusive Cost-to-Market Appraisal tool that lets your dealership effectively leverage data.
Let’s take a closer look at what we mean by cost-to-market appraisal and why it’s vital to your success in the digital age of car-shopping.