The internet has profoundly changed the way that people shop for cars; shouldn’t it change the way we merchandise cars?
In the past, shoppers made their decision after visiting several dealerships. Modern technology has moved most of the customer decision-making process online. So how can you use the internet to attract customers to your dealership?
MAXDigital offers several tools that can help you build a bulletproof automotive merchandising strategy.
The decision to buy any product doesn’t happen all at once. It is a multi-step process, with opportunities to optimize your merchandising at every step. MAXDigital takes this into account and has developed a tool to help you fortify your merchandising plan.
MAXDigital Tool: MAX Ad
At the earliest stage of the process the customer merely knows they need a new car. Your dealership isn’t even on their radar at this point and MAX Ad helps bring it to shopper’s attention.
The typical auto shopper may spend as many as 16.75 hours researching cars on third-party websites like Cars.com and Auto Trader. MAX Ad puts your vehicles in front of these consumers by distributing ads to over 200 third-party auto websites.
The ads are automatically generated based on your inventory. Each ad is filled with detailed information that answers all common customer questions.
MAXDigital Tool: MAX For Website
Once a consumer is brought to your website, your battle isn’t over. They’ll be looking at your VDPs, along with other dealership’s VDPs, to find the exact vehicle they want. In fact, a majority of customers have already narrowed their choice down to one or two cars before they stop in a dealership.
Is your VDP attractive and well organized? Does it show what sets the vehicle apart? If the answer to either question is no, shoppers are likely to move on to another dealership.
MAX for Website helps you optimize your VDP’s to draw in customers. MAX enhanced VDP’s offer detailed vehicle information in a simple and intuitive format. It also provides thorough price justification, letting customers know they’re getting the best deal on your vehicle.
MAXDigital Tool: MAX Digital Showroom
So your VDPs did the trick. The customer has decided they want your car and they come into your dealership to buy it. Your merchandising efforts have paid off and you’re in the clear. Right?
Not so fast. At this stage, the customer is going to try to get you to drop the price of your vehicle, and they’re going into the negotiation armed with hours of research. In many cases, the customer knows more about the car than your salesperson.
When salespeople are unable to defend the vehicle’s price, they drop it to make the sale.
The MAX Digital Showroom app arms your sales staff with easy mobile device access to detailed information on every car in your lot. This tool helps each salesperson demonstrate the value of each vehicle and justify the price point, helping them protect your profit margin.
Bring your automotive merchandising strategy into the 21st century. MAX Digital can help you attract customers at every stage of the decision-making process to help your dealership grow. Sign up for a demonstration to learn how MAX can help you.
Easy access to information through the internet has fundamentally changed the way people shop for cars. Ignoring these changes can mean massive losses in revenue for your dealership as you either fail to attract leads or need to drop your prices to sell your stock.
Fortunately, customers are looking for your products online right now. In a recent Driving Sales webinar Patrick McMullen, Senior VP of Strategy and Innovation at MAX Digital, and Chad Graves, Co-Founder and Director of Sales at Reunion Marketing, lay out strategies for increasing leads online and selling to the modern buyer.
Auto dealerships are starting to see radical new competition from industry disruptors like Carvana. These changes come with an increase in used inventory to create a shift that can hurt dealerships who don’t adjust their strategies.
In the past, customers shopped with physical visits to multiple dealerships before making a decision. Now, a majority of customer decision making is done online. The average consumer spends as much as 16.75 hours on third-party and dealership websites choosing their next car.
After doing their research online, the average shopper only visits one or two dealerships in person. Success in increasing leads is dependant on having the online presence to bring those customers in. McMullen said, “It used to be that our… physical front line was the most important place. Now it’s our virtual front line. Our virtual front line is the first time we have to make an impression on that customer.”
The first key to attracting leads to your lot is being where they’re looking. Graves described how utilizing SEO and SEM strategies can help you appear near the top of the results when people search for your vehicles.
Consumers want transparency and information. Once they arrive on your website, you need to make sure that your content is optimized to give them the information they need to convert and choose your dealership.
Your website should have dedicated pages for vehicles that demonstrate their value clearly. Most customers don’t buy cars on price alone, instead choosing the car that offers the most value and quality. Your VDPs should mention specific package information and answer any questions a visitor may have about the car.
Your work isn’t over once you get customers into your store. With the massive amount of research they do before coming in, buyers are likely to know more about the car they’re after than even your sales team.
The MAX Digital Showroom app puts information about every car on your lot at the fingertips of your sales team. By having access to this information, they can have the expertise they need to build trust with your customers. It will also arm them with the information they need to fight price drops.
By adapting your strategy to the now buyer, you can increase leads, store visits, and profits for your dealership. Listen to the full webinar below for more insights, or schedule a demo to see how MAX Digital can help you.
The modern automotive customer comes into the dealership armed with information consumers of the past didn’t have. These shoppers have been researching their decision for hours before they step in the door, and they know the market value of the car they want. Often they know this value even better than your sales staff.
Intimidated and unable to back up the price, salespeople often drop it to make the sale. These discounts add up over time and can have a huge impact on your business. MAX Digital can help you stop the drop and get higher profit margins on the vehicles you sell.
The first step to solving a problem is assessing the situation. How often are you experiencing the drop? MAX Digital’s “Assess Your Drop” quiz can help you see how well you’re currently protecting your profit margins. The quiz takes just five minutes and can highlight areas where you can improve.
No matter what your score is, you can always do more to prevent the discounts. The MAX Digital platform is full of tools that help you defend your price and stop the drop.
MAX starts fighting the drop before your customers even step onto the showroom. Our comprehensive merchandising tool and content generation engine create thoroughly detailed VDPs for your web page. These VDPs include price justification with several proof points, including market comparisons. With the knowledge that they’re getting a fair price, shoppers are less likely to try to lower the price more.
It is impossible for every one of your salespeople to know every vehicle inside and out. MAX puts the information they need to become experts at their fingertips. The MAX Digital Showroom app lets your team instantly access the vehicle information they need to hold firm on the price.
MAX can do even more to give you the higher profit margins you’ve always wanted. From sourcing affordable cars to providing powerful analytic tools, there’s something for you on our platform. Schedule a demonstration or contact us at (888) 841-0884 to learn more about what MAX can do for you
The unfortunate truth is, people just don’t trust car salespeople. They consistently rank as one of the least trusted professions in the US, and there’s one central reason why: people need to buy cars, but don’t like being sold to.
MAXDigital wants to help you change the narrative of automotive sales.
Innovations in information technology have changed the automotive market in profound ways. These same changes have created new opportunities for salespeople to build trust with customers. The MAX Digital Automotive Merchandising Tool lets you train your sales team to become automotive experts who can gain the confidence and sales of modern consumers.
88% of consumers use the internet to shop for cars, and increasingly, larger portions of the decision-making process happen online. These shoppers are looking for honesty and information once they make their way to the dealership. They’re looking for someone to facilitate their purchase, not a salesperson. MAX Digital gives sales staff the power to give consumers the facts they desire.
Today’s car buyer isn’t willing to just take your word on a car. They want to know the value of things before they buy. They’ll want to know what they can expect from the vehicle, and they’ll do much of their research before stepping through the doors of your dealership.
MAX for Website creates highly informative Vehicle Detail Pages, and MAX Ad distributes thorough ads to hundreds of third party websites, giving them all the information they need. These pages also list heavily supported prices, letting consumers know they’re getting a great deal.
With the amount of homework consumers do before they stop in the dealership, it is very likely they know more about the vehicle they want than you do. It is almost impossible for every salesperson to know everything about all the cars on your lot.
MAX Digital Showroom puts this information at your sales team’s fingertips through their smart devices. Consumers can easily take on any question or concern with confidence thanks to MAX’s effective platform.
A simple method of gaining trust is to connect with your customer on a personal level. Don’t just talk at them, but listen to them. By listening, you can get a better idea of what they want from their new vehicle. This helps you better craft the experience to the individual and helps the customer feel like you have their interests in mind. People in the digital age are having individualized buying experiences. Why should they want automotive sales to be any different?
Consumers need information. MAX Digital provides your automotive sales team with a unique tool to gain customer trust by providing transparent and thorough information. Schedule a product demonstration to see what our software can do for you.
Profitability begins well before cars are moving off your lot. The foundation of a solvent auto dealership rests with its ability to manage its inventory in a way that sets up both the customer and salesman for success.
Inventory management is an often underlooked component of profitability. Operating in the black involves more than just touting the features of a car and offering some generous financing.
There are several ways in which an inventory management system can provide a boost to your bottom line.
Knowledge of inventory
Having a complete knowledge of your inventory involves far more than simply knowing which cars are parked on your lot at any given time. It includes knowing which cars should be there based on your market demographic.
Different cars sell better in different areas, and an effective inventory management system can align your sales with the needs of your customer base.
Pricing a car on your lot is not just a way to tempt the customer. It’s a way of protecting your bottom line and ensuring profitability. Too many dealerships fall victim to the “double discount” due to inefficient pricing from the onset.
An inventory management system can leverage real-time market data to help you price your cars in a way that is competitive to the market, comparable to third-party applications and protective of your assets.
It’s easy to overlook trade-in values and used car acquisitions when speaking about profitability. Just offer the Kelley Blue Book value to get the customer on the hook, right?
You need the proper leverage to negotiate competitively and that entails granular details such as trim levels and upgrades.
Inventory management software from MAXDigital uses advanced analytics and intuitive decision-making tools to achieve increased gross profits by maximizing inventory turnover.
It’s never been easier or more efficient to acquire, appraise, and price inventory, all while tracking every vehicle that comes in and off the lot in real time. You’ll start acquiring the right vehicles for your market, pricing them appropriately and watching them practically drive themselves off the lot.
Automotive merchandising can begin like a bad joke, and, if done wrong, can end in a bad customer experience.
A man walks into a dealership. He tells a salesperson about a listing he saw online for a particular car. The salesperson leads the man to the car.
“But the car I saw online had more options and upgrades,” the man says.
“Well, yeah, but look — this one has an AM/FM radio,” the salesperson says enthusiastically.
“But the car I saw online was priced much lower than what this sticker shows,” the man says.
“Well, yeah, but that’s if you meet all the qualifying discounts and rebates,” the salesperson says. “But we have great financing!”
You know how this story ends: The man leaves the dealership disgusted and takes his business elsewhere.
The above is an example of poor automotive merchandising.
Automotive merchandising is the manner in which inventory is displayed. Effective automotive merchandising means complete transparency between both buyer and seller regarding pricing details, options and features, mileage, trims, colors, vehicle history, and more.
Some 88 percent of car shoppers use the internet during the buying process, where they conduct searches customized to their needs and sift through dozens of vehicles comparing prices, conditions and more.
With a wealth of information at their disposal, today’s car shoppers are more educated than ever. And if a vehicle is not effectively displayed, there’s a good possibility a shopper will pass it right on by for one that is.
With so much information now available to consumers, dealerships must work extra hard to gain their trust. And any inconsistency between the information a car shopper is getting online and the information they’re getting at the dealership can send them walking instead of driving off your lot.
At MAXDigital, we know automotive merchandising. Our merchandising solution allows dealers to:
Schedule a free demonstration of our automotive merchandising solution to see how you can turn bad jokes into profitable sales and great customer experiences.
Selling cars is a challenging yet rewarding career. And like almost any profession, there are certain skills that are shared by all the best employees in the industry.
Below are five skills all new car sales team employees should learn if they want to succeed in the business.
#1. Master Your Inventory
You don’t have to know every last nut and bolt under the hood, but a good car salesperson should be able to explain different trim levels, demonstrate various features, and talk intelligently about options and packages.
#2. Know How to Discount
Today’s car shoppers spend an average of 11 hours online compared to less than four hours offline during their buying experience. That means they’re showing up to dealerships armed with information about MSRPs and market comparisons and come to the table ready to negotiate.
A good sales employee will understand how market pricing works and will know what types of discounts and incentives can turn a knowledgeable browser into a dedicated buyer.
Just be careful that you aren’t discounting too much. You don’t want to eat into your store’s bottom line with unnecessary discounts.
#3. Read Your Customer
Sales associates need to know how to read their customer and respond accordingly to their needs. Family man? Time to talk safety. Recent college graduate? Let’s check out that Bluetooth technology. There’s a car for everyone, and your job is to be a matchmaker.
#4. Build trust
It’s no secret that car sales employees have to work extra hard to gain a shopper’s trust. In fact, car salesmen ranked at the bottom of a Gallup survey — along with politicians — of the least trusted jobs in America. Successful car sales employees know how to change a shopper’s mind within minutes of stepping on the lot.
#5. Ask the Right Questions
Ask a customer how you can help them and they’ll tell you they’re just browsing, then walk away. Ask them if they are thinking about a sedan or an SUV and they’re more likely to engage. Ask direct, open-ended questions that can get a conversation rolling.
In this digital age of car shopping, the most valuable member of your sales team can be MAXDigital. Our software will turn your sales team into product experts, provide real-time inventory and pricing information, vehicle history reports, market comparison and so much more.
Contact MAXDigital today and set up a free product demonstration to see what’s possible for your sales team.
If your inventory page is the bait, your vehicle display page (VDP) is your hook. And in order to reel your customer in, that hook better be sharp.
MAXDigital specializes in optimizing the online presence of car dealerships and among the many ways we help dealers better reach their digital audience is by refining their vehicle display pages.
Below are a few helpful tips for improving your VDPs.
Engage your customer with rich content.
An effective vehicle details page will engage a customer through well-written and informative content. Car shoppers don’t want another sales pitch. They want information, details and descriptions.
Show off your vehicle with high-quality photos.
Looks aren’t everything, except when it comes to car shopping. Make the investment to capture each and every vehicle in high-quality imagery that shows off both the inside and outside of the car in a quick-loading and easy-to-scroll fashion.
Highlight relevant information.
If you’re selling a truck, make the torque or towing capacity the lead item. For a minivan, highlight safety features and ratings. With SUV’s, make a push for cargo space and fuel efficiency.
Anticipate what your shoppers will be curious about for each respective vehicle and waste no time giving it to them.
Price accurately and accordingly.
The pricing of your vehicles is where you will either gain or lose the trust of your customer. Car shoppers lean on your competition and on third-party sites like Kelley Blue Book to see if they’re being offered a good deal. Price your inventory according to the market and keep your customer in the driver’s seat.
The tips above are just a few of the ways you can improve your vehicle display pages. When you entrust your VDPs to MAXDigital, we’ll help you welcome your customers to your dealership at the appropriate stage of the buyer’s journey. And because they’ll have all the information they need to kick the tires, customers won’t be leaving your site to investigate elsewhere.
Schedule a live, personalized demonstration to see how we help dealerships everywhere increase customer engagement and boost sales through enhanced vehicle displays pages. With a strong VDP, there’s no such thing as the one that got away.
With so much information available to today’s online consumers, auto dealerships have to work harder than ever to gain their customers’ attention. Studies show that around 60 percent of the car shopping experience now consists of time spent on third-party sites. This means a dealer’s online merchandising efforts must be properly aligned with the information customers are looking for.
Luckily, MAXDigital has done the research for you and identified the five things a dealership’s website must address on their vehicle details page. Answering these needs will help you effectively win over today’s digital consumer.
1. Explain why the car is right for them.
Your customer likely landed on the car that they did because of a filtered search. Filters can account for a wide range of criteria, and you want to give that person a clear sign that they found the right car.
If they selected a low price point, tell them about the great fuel efficiency and reliability. If they selected only four-door vehicles, talk up the roominess of the cabin.
Reiterate the fact that yes, this is the car that is right for them. These efforts begin by acquiring the right cars for your market and we have just the tool to help you with that.
2. Ensure them they aren’t buying a lemon.
Buying a lemon is the worst fear for any used car shopper. Make the vehicle history report visible and accessible with just one click<.
Go a step further by extracting some highlights from the history report, such as “no accidents” or “regular oil changes,” and putting that information in front of the customer.
3. Reassure the customer that it’s a fair price.
Have a market comparison readily available so customers can see how the price of the vehicle stacks up to both the competition and the Kelley Blue Book value alike. Our market-based pricing tool can give you with the precision you need to drive sales.
4. Convince the customer the car is better than the other ones they’ve seen.
Have a comparison tool on your vehicle details page that allows the customer to conduct a side-by-side comparison of features. The majority of online car shoppers visit a dealer’s website for the purpose of checking out inventory, so it’s important for them to know that this is where their search ends.
5. Tell them why they should buy from you.
It’s no secret that dealers have to try extra hard to win over someone’s trust. Highlight anything that makes your dealership trustworthy, whether it’s your number of years in business or online reviews or ratings. Better yet, utilize >our custom tool to do it for you.
Car shoppers want to test drive a vehicle before committing. So take a test drive of MAXDigital’s suite of merchandising solutions by scheduling a product demonstration to see how we can help you win over your customers.
Everything from professional sports teams to retail stores to news organizations are using analytics to gather data, measure performance, and make decisions that will influence their bottom line. Even Netflix uses analytics to determine which movies it will drop into the queue of a given subscriber.
A car dealership shouldn’t be any different. In fact, the nature of a car dealership’s business should place it at the forefront of analytics use. Here are just a few ways that analytics can help your car dealership.
Get a detailed measurement of your online marketing efforts.
Analytics can be used to see a page-by-page breakdown of how your online listings are performing. Which listings are generating the most traffic? What details are online shoppers most interested in? Analytics can answer these questions to help you shape your online marketing efforts accordingly.
Learn which models in your inventory are performing — and which ones aren’t.
Different models sell better in different markets and car dealerships can use analytics to identify which models are moving off their lot and which ones are taking up valuable space. This information can be used to invest in the right kind of inventory for your dealership’s demographic.
Calculate the impact of discounting on your bottom line.
Discounting can help you sell a car, but at what expense to your bottom line? An analytical report can pinpoint which types of discounts are beneficial and which ones are leaving your profit margin in the dust.
Improve your time to market.
The right analytics can track the average time it takes for a vehicle to get online and help dealerships better manage their inventory.
Know your cost per click.
Dealerships can use analytics to find out the average number of Vehicle Details Pages viewed as it correlates to the number of leads generated to help you better understand your true cost per click and how you should allocate your online investments.
MAXDigital provides powerful analytics to help car dealerships optimize their online marketing and merchandising efforts to maximize sales and profit margins. Schedule a demonstration today to see how our analytics platform can change the way you do business.