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.
The holiday season is the biggest time of year for retailers and the automotive industry shouldn’t be excluded. The end of the year is a busy time for dealerships as they rush for yearly sales goals and quotas, and the current year’s inventory needs to be moved to make room for next year’s models. These factors have led December to be a prime car shopping time for consumers.
So how can dealerships take advantage of the holiday rush? Here are five ideas for automotive marketing for the holiday season that will bring the holiday shopping rush to your showroom.
Put Some Holiday Spirit in Your Dealership
Your dealership should always be a warm and inviting place for customers, and this is especially true during the holiday season. Don’t just string up a couple lights and call it a day. Get the biggest tree you can find, set up a train that moves throughout the showroom, and pass out free hot cocoa. Bestowing the spirit of the holidays on your customers will bring out their spirit of shopping.
Get Interactive on Social Media
The Holidays are a great time to be interactive on social media. Have some fun by holding a contest for the ugliest Christmas sweater or funniest family holiday photo. Give some concert tickets — perhaps Trans-Siberian Orchestra — for the winner.
Send a Holiday Card
Holiday cards are a perfect opportunity for some direct mail marketing. Put together a card featuring your staff and some inventory and toss in a coupon for a service.
Run a 12 Days of Giving Sale
Run a 12-day sale with each day offering a different type of incentive for a different vehicle on your lot. Start small and gradually build up to a blockbuster sale on the 12th day.
Have a Toy Drive
Hold a toy drive at your dealership and offer an incentive to anyone who brings in a toy, such as a discounted service or increased trade-in value.
Schedule a Demo
It’s the season of giving, so how about a bonus idea? No matter the time of year, you can always schedule a demonstration to see how MAXDigital can enhance your automotive marketing efforts and optimize your sales.
A vehicle details page (VDP) is the page on your website that provides specific information about a particular vehicle in your inventory. And it’s also the most important page on your website.
Visitors to your website will land on a vehicle details page after clicking through from an inventory search. For example, if a visitor uses your search criteria to look for used Toyota Corollas from model years 2008-2013, they will be presented with a list of vehicles in your inventory that match that criteria. Clicking on any of the results will then take the visitor to the vehicle details page, which will offer up in-depth information about that particular car.
Some of the items to optimize your VDP include:
Your vehicle details pages are critical to your business because visitors to these pages are lower in the sales funnel and more serious about making a purchase. They have already narrowed down their search criteria and are now zeroing in on specific cars in your inventory — and likely that of your competitors.
The VDP has shown to be a proven indicator of sales activity. Research suggests that an increase of just 0.14 VDP views per customer can lead to a 62% boost in conversion rate. In other words, a poor VDP will likely cause a website visitor to be a “one-and-done,” leaving your site after experiencing an unsatisfactory VDP. But a visitor that enjoys a positive user experience with one of your VDPs is more likely to click another, thereby drastically increasing the chances of a conversion.
MAXDigital turns browsers into buyers through the implementation of better vehicle details pages. Our VDP’s go beyond the basics to include:
You can even use your smartphone to take pictures of inventory the second it rolls onto the lot, upload it to your listing and have it instantly distributed to over 300 websites including Autotrader and Cars.com.
Schedule a demonstration with one of our team members today to see what a vehicle details page could look like on your website and what sales should look like on your lot.
Haggling. It’s an age-old process every dealership is intimately familiar with. But why do customers feel like every visit to the lot will be a battle? It’s a sad and simple truth: they’ve lost trust in car salespeople.
While that may be hard to hear, there are steps you can take to make your customers more comfortable — and ultimately increase your bottom line.
It’s time to learn the ins and outs of the digital customer’s car-buying process.
When your used car inventory needs to be re-stocked, there are only so many places you can turn for quick, cost-efficient cars. Whether your dealership’s turnover is greater than projected or you’re having a hard time closing trade-ins, you need a reliable source of pre-owned inventory to meet your goals. If you’ve ever been in this situation, you’ve probably relied on a wholesale auction to fill in those empty spaces on your lot.