In the modern auto sales environment, proper pricing can be the key to profitability for your dealership. Making sure your cars are appraised correctly at every stage of the sales process can give you a significant competitive edge. For quick and accurate pricing, more dealerships are turning to advanced dealership appraisal tools.
As the name implies, a dealership appraisal tool is software that appraises vehicles for acquisition, sale, or trade-in.
The appraisal tool included with the MAXDigital Inventory Management software pulls the market data for a vehicle and provides your team with a competitive price almost instantly. Although this function sounds simple, it can pay off big for your dealership.
You’ll have a difficult time making a significant profit selling your cars if you overpay for them yourself. The detailed market data used by appraisal tools helps you make sure that you’re getting the best wholesale price on your vehicles.
A good appraisal tool gives you significant authority during trade-in negotiations. You aren’t just giving them their price, but demonstrating the value of their vehicle.
Without a quality dealership appraisal tool, your sales team has to spend hours doing market research to reach a fair price on your vehicles. The appraisal tool speeds this process up considerably, giving your sales team more time to sell cars.
Our Inventory Management Software is a lot more than an appraisal tool. It also compares your store’s sales history with aggregate trends to determine which vehicles will sell in your dealership. It also helps you price your inventory to maximize profit.
To see how MAX can help your dealership firsthand, schedule a consultation of our software tools. You can also call us at (888) 841-0884 with your questions.
CHICAGO — March 22, 2018 — MAXDigital, a premium end-to-end software provider for automotive dealers, released new dealer research on the subject of turnover and sales processes. In conjunction with Erickson Research, MAXDigital surveyed nearly 400 dealers across the United States in January 2018.
Key findings from the research include:
“This study shows how dealers are re-examining their sales processes in order to align with the way customers want to buy,” said MAXDigital CEO Steve Fitzgerald. “Adopting a process that provides a streamlined car shopping experience will help dealers increase sales and profits and improve employee satisfaction and retention.”
Fitzgerald continued, “When salespeople are trained and equipped with product information, they’re more confident and able to do their job well. They’ll feel good and be more likely to stay long term.”
Nearly 400 U.S. dealers completed the survey in January 2018. Six 30-minute phone interviews were also conducted in February 2018. Respondents included General Managers, Dealer Principals, Used Car Managers, Owners, and Internet Managers.
Access the full report findings, including an infographic, here: www.maxdigital.com/turnover.
MAXDigital provides cloud-based software and mobile applications to the automotive industry. As the industry’s premium end-to-end software solution for automotive dealers, MAXDigital empowers thousands of dealerships across the U.S. to manage inventory, increase gross profits and sell more cars through digital retailing. Founded in 2001 with the FIRSTLOOK inventory management product, the MAXDigital suite of products includes the innovative MAX Ad®, a content generation and distribution system, MAX for Website®, a vehicle value and content creator for dealer websites, MAX Digital Showroom®, a real-time inventory and pricing tool for desktop and mobile that builds trust and transparency with customers, and MAX Path to Purchase™, an innovative software that removes hassle for customers and provides a streamlined car shopping process. For more information visit MAXDigital.com.
Online shopping and the growth of the accessibility of information have fundamentally transformed the way consumers want to buy goods. With all these changes, many auto dealerships are struggling to keep up and meet the changing expectations of customers.
To help dealerships keep up with modern sales trend, MAXDigital is pleased to introduce MAX Path to Purchase, a first-of-its-kind sales solution to help you align the way you sell with the way customers want to buy.
Today’s shoppers have become accustomed to a streamlined buying experience. When shopping for nearly any product, they’re looking for:
By the time most consumers drive off the lot in their car, they’ve spent up to five hours browsing lots, negotiating, and waiting. This current car-buying process is incompatible with the way customers expect to buy goods. If traditional dealerships want to stay relevant, something needs to change.
Dealerships are taking note of this. According to a January 2018 Dealership Process and Turnover Survey conducted by MAXDigital, 41 percent of dealerships are considering changes to the way they sell in the next 12 months.
MAX Path to Purchase lets dealerships rebuild your sales strategy to meet the needs of modern consumers and shave hours off the car-buying process. It offers customers a technology-aided way to find and buy the vehicle they want.
Using modern sales enhancement tools reduces haggling, making the sale easier for your customers and helping your sales team maintain your profit margin.
With this simple and transparent new process, you can also expect a higher CSI score.
Another issue facing dealerships is the number of salespeople leaving the industry. With 74% annual salesperson turnover rate, investing in a new salesperson seems like a riskier prospect every year. One of the most prevalent reasons people leave their sales roles is a lack of training.
MAX Path to Purchase helps you keep your sales team on board and successful by providing a simple and easy-to-follow process in which to train and retrain your sales staff.
Female buyers made up an estimated $445 billion of new car sales in 2017 alone. With women now buying 4.5 out of every 10 vehicles, the average dealership is selling 819 total new and used vehicles annually to this audience. The data doesn’t lie: women are making extraordinary differences in terms of gross margin dollars and sales achieved at car dealerships.
How can your dealership increase business with female buyers and referrals? One way is by leveraging new ideas in advertising and messaging.
Even in 2018, most dealer’s advertisements’ fail to speak directly to the female audience. There is an overemphasis on both gender neutrality and price point. This is because advertisements are focusing less on what she wants and more on what a dealership thinks she wants. Like price cuts. Does price matter? Yes, but only to the extent that it buys her more of what she wants: a positive pre- and post-sale experience.
One Size No Longer Fits All
Diversification isn’t just good for investment portfolios. It’s good for the car business. Consider this: University of California at Davis researchers found that women influence 85 percent of all car buying purchases. Advertising directly to women makes good financial sense.
Cast a Wider Net
Lawyers. Doctors. Financial Managers. Per the U.S. Dept. of Labor, women fill a wide range of professional roles. In addition, 38 percent—or more than one-third of them—are earning more than their male partners. It follows, then, that their overall purchase experience would reflect upon those achievements. Dealer ad campaigns can be more effective when they account for the diverse professional choices and delivers messages to this audience.
Use Your ‘Aha’ to Connect with Women
What’s your dealer’s DNA message and ‘aha message‘ that women will remember? Is it really through ads and campaigns such as:
For the most part, these gender-neutral, bland, catch-all statements don’t share what your compelling aha is, nor are they appealing to women.
Connect Dealership’s Message to Your OEMs
From Facebook to Pandora, zero in on your female audience and age group. Dedicate dollars to advance your market space by running monthly campaigns to reach a captive audience with sponsoring ads on mobile apps to women and family-oriented interests.
Be a Destination Dealer: Time to Progress
Understanding that female buyers are looking for a connection will help you and your creative team. Expand your message to be relationship-based with tangible value-adds. Think “What’s in it for her?” It’s not enough to have a female spokesperson or pitch woman.
1. Women use dealer reviews 50% more than men, and reviews influence women three times more than price, according to ReviewTracker. In addition to your current ads and promotions, include statistics about your reputation and reviews and show any Dealer of the Year awards.
2. Connect visually by including images of women and families’ car shopping at your dealership throughout your print and online marketing campaigns and website.
3. Communicate long-term service and maintenance care with a WiFi-enabled waiting lounge equipped with refreshments and desk stations for computer work. Loaner cars are the top concierge item requested by women, so if your dealership provides loaner cars, be sure to include this in your advertising. Other services that often appeal to women buyers include:
4. Develop relationships with guests and shoppers before they walk through the door through social media and informative articles designed to to engage and build trust.
5. Host educational seminars and advertise them via social media/newsletters.
Applying any one of these strategies can instantly position a savvy dealership as an authority and a trusted advisor. Dealerships that don’t begin targeting advertisements to the female decision maker are losing out on her lifetime value, which is estimated at $517,000. That’s a big miss!
The information era has transformed the way people buy products, and the auto industry isn’t immune to this revolution. Modern consumers have instant access to the prices and inventory of every nearby dealership. In this highly competitive market, improving your automotive merchandising strategy is the key to standing out and staying relevant.
“Showrooming” is a term used to describe when customers shop prices on their smart devices while in your showroom. They’ll test drive a vehicle at your dealership just to buy it cheaper from another dealer.
Trying to undercut every competitor is a losing strategy because there will always be someone who can lower their prices to beat yours. Dropping your prices too much will also destroy your profit margins.
When they showroom, shoppers aren’t really looking for the lowest prices — they’re looking for the best value. You can win these customers by using your merchandising strategy to highlight the value in your vehicles.
Your online ads, VDPs, and on-floor sales strategy should be built around price justification. Highlight features, packages, and other aspects of the car that show that it deliver the greatest value for the price, even if other similar models are priced lower.
The days of consumers going to their nearest dealership to find their next vehicle is long gone. Now most consumers do extensive online research to find the best dealership, and they’re willing to travel some distance for a great deal. Often, they’ve already decided which vehicle they’re going to buy before they step foot on your lot.
With older customers slowly aging out of the market and more people who grew up with information technology starting to buy their first cars, this trend will only increase.
Effective digital automotive merchandising is necessary if you want your dealership to stand out of the crowd.
But what should auto merchandising look like in the modern era? With most customers making their decisions online, you want to make sure your online merchandising gives them the information they’re looking for. This info should include:
Developing a marketing strategy that will help your dealership stand out isn’t easy. Ideally, any plan will have ways to reach customers at each stage of the car buying process. This includes taking actions like:
You can take a lot of the work and tedium out of the process by using MAXDigital’s suite of automotive marketing tools. We offer tools that help you optimize your online content, create relevant ads, and arm your sales staff with the vehicle information they need to make sales.
To see how our automotive marketing tools can help your dealership, sign up for a live demo of MAXDigital’s software platform.
Auto consumers are more informed and empowered than ever, and they are coming into your dealership armed with hours of research. In many cases, they’ll know more about the vehicle they want the salespeople on your showroom floor. MAXDigital’s innovative car salesman app gives your team the information they need to hold their own against customers looking to get a price decrease.
The internet has given auto consumers unprecedented access to product research, and they are using it. They expect detailed information on every vehicle they’re researching, and over the course of their shopping, they’ve come to know the car they intend to buy backward and forward. They will use this information to try to drop the price.
Compare this to your sales team. There are dozens of vehicles on your lot, each with its own specs, history, features, and packages. Even the best salesman can’t memorize every one of them. MAX Digital Showroom, a part of the MAXDigital merchandising app suite, empowers your sales team with the info they need to combat price reductions.
Through the MAX Digital Showroom car salesman app, your sales team will have convenient access to the vehicle information for every car on your lot through their smartphone or tablet. All they need is a quick scan to pull up an intuitively laid out vehicle information page (VDP.) This lets any salesman easily and quickly respond to customer concerns and field questions. By proving they know their stuff, your salesmen will also gain the trust of shoppers.
Showing off an impressive feature of your vehicle? Customers don’t just have to take your word for it. MAX Digital Showroom let your sales team send attractive, MAX for Website-optimized VDPs directly to their smart devices.
Customers are hoping that they can use their knowledge of your vehicle to knock some money off the price. MAX Digital Showroom fights this drop, by providing detailed price justification. Your sales team will be able to show how your car compare to market averages and demonstrate the value each unique feature or package adds.
This app also helps combat showrooming. If your customers show you lower-priced versions of the same car nearby, you can easily explain the price difference by showing what your vehicle has that the other doesn’t.
Stop lowering your prices on your vehicles. Let MAXDigital give your sales team the information they need to protect your profit margins with our convenient car salesman app. Schedule a product demo or contact us to learn about how MAX can help you.
Between the increase in auto customers using the internet as their primary source for research and the growth of industry disruptors, it can be difficult to keep up with the constant changes. One thing is for certain — dealerships can no longer afford to ignore the digital front when developing their marketing strategies. This is where MAXDigital comes in.
Our suite of dealership marketing tools can help you easily adapt your merchandising strategy to draw in digital-age customers.
Auto shoppers often spend as many as 16.75 hours researching their purchases on third-party websites like Cars.com and Auto Trader. MAX Ad, a part of MAXDigital’s platform, puts your vehicles in front of these potential customers by creating and distributing attractive ads to hundreds of third-party websites. These ads are designed to be eye-catching, answer any questions browsers may have about the vehicle, and bring customers to your webpage.
Modern auto consumers crave information, and they have little patience for dealerships who don’t make that information easy to access. MAX for Website optimizes your vehicle display pages (VDPs) to put this information in the spotlight in an intuitive format.
There are plenty of dealerships near your potential customers selling the same exact make and model you are. Why should they buy yours?
Our research shows that most people don’t want the cheapest car, but the one that offers the best value. This means they’re willing to pay more for a vehicle if they fully understand the value of it. MAX-optimized VDPs highlight any special equipment packages or features that set your cars apart from the crowd.
It is impossible for every member of your sales team to memorize full details for every vehicle on your lot. However, your customers will expect the salespeople to be able to respond to any question or concern they have. MAX Digital Showroom puts details about every car in your inventory in the palm of their hand, turning them into product experts. All they need to do is access the vehicle information through the easy-to-use smart device app.
By providing transparent, accurate information that demonstrates value, you start building this relationship before your customers even step in your dealership. You’ll also earn confidence on your showroom floor when your sales team can easily answer any question you have about your inventory.
In this incredibly competitive market, most dealerships already price their vehicles very close to or below market value just to attract customers. They often need to drop the price even further to make the sale. MAX helps you stop the drop and preserve your profit margin by giving you the support you need to stand firm on your pricing.
MAX’s dealership marketing tools include price justification that clearly demonstrates the vehicle’s value. This feature compares your asking price with the average market price, and details the value added by each additional package.
Today’s average auto buyer only comes into one or two dealerships before they decide on which vehicle they’re going to be driving home in. The hours of comparisons and shopping models, packages, and options hasn’t vanished. It has moved somewhere else. Modern consumers spend hours online researching various dealerships’ vehicle display pages.
If you want to bridge the gap between online shoppers and in-store customers, you need to make your cars stand out with compelling and informative vehicle display pages.
By the time the customer reaches your VDPs they usually have their search narrowed down to a handful of vehicles at an even smaller amount of dealerships. The quality of these VDPs and how well they display the car are major factors influencing their decision on which dealership to go with.
Here’s what the modern consumer is looking for when they shop vehicle display pages.
Information-age consumers are used to every aspect of their online experiences being specific to them. This makes them impossible to reach with generic vehicle descriptions. They want more than a broad overview. They want details about what makes your car unique.
Make sure to highlight any interesting feature or tech packages the vehicle may have. Justify the price by showing what makes your car stand out from similar models. Try to predict what questions consumers will have, and use your VDPs to answer them.
Transparency and accuracy the key to building trust in today’s auto market. Make sure the information is thorough and correct.
Visuals are another important component of your VDPs. Great vehicle photos make a huge difference, but they won’t do much good if the page is poorly designed. The page should be easy to take in, simple to navigate, and visually attractive. The organization of the page is almost as important as the information on it.
Online shopping isn’t just done on desktops anymore. In fact, 51% of consumers said they used a smartphone or tablet in their vehicle shopping process, and this amount is only increasing.
If your VDPs look great on desktop but miserable on mobile, you’re missing out on a significant share of the market. Make sure your VDPs are optimized for all screen sizes.
MAXDigital’s innovative automotive merchandising platform includes MAX for Website, a tool designed to enhance the design and content of your vehicle display pages. MAX optimized pages give customers:
Schedule a demo of our platform to learn how we can help you create compelling and informative VDPs.
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.