Effective merchandising gets sales rolling
Two years ago, after a disappointing sales year, Fremont Motor Cos. decided to shift its online merchandising strategy.
“I had just joined Fremont. We were using a set of disjointed companies to value and merchandise our vehicles online,” says Jeff Running, e-commerce director for Fremont, the largest dealership group in Wyoming. “We were screaming at the top of our lungs, but our staff thought online merchandising was unnecessary.”
Part of the problem was assuming that consumers in Wyoming did not use digital media as much as people in other areas of the country. But Running says a study of the state’s residents showed they were on par with everyone else nationally, in terms of how much digital media they consume and how much they rely on technology. That aha moment led Fremont to “curve our approach to make sure we are very digital-forward, that we are offering what customers are looking for,” he says.
Fremont looked for a technology partner to help appraise incoming vehicles and merchandise them “in one fluid motion,” Running says. “MAXDigital was one of the few companies that could make that happen.” He says he didn’t want to give his staff “another tool that they would have to log into; they were not going to do it. We needed to roll everything together to make a more effective process.”
As the executive in charge of all digital marketing, websites and social media for Fremont’s 14 dealerships, Running appreciates the MAX products because they produce “a clean, cohesive written package” on each vehicle that’s easy to read for customers and staff.
He also loves that his staff has been able to enhance online inventory with a rich selection of photos. Whereas in the past a typical vehicle description might have offered 10 or 20 photos, with the MAX app and website tools, staff can take 50 or 60 photos of each new or used car and post them directly to the dealership websites.
The robust merchandising, detailed and readable vehicle descriptions, and expanded photo offerings have been a big success, Running says. “It’s made a big difference for us, and really helped build consumer confidence, especially in our used vehicles.” He says in the past two years the company has seen “a significant amount of growth, with unit counts and market share increases across the board.”
Beyond the technology, however, he says he appreciates the MAXDigital team as a partner. “The biggest thing for me, the thing that has impressed me most, is the support. I work with a lot of vendors all the time. There are a lot of companies that aren’t as apt to help—or the turnaround time is not as succinct.”