Today’s car shoppers have unprecedented access to information to support their car buying process. The availability …
Not sure how any of this changes anything, so let’s talk about another relationship of time, real time.
Real time in this discussion – with specific implication to how you market inventory online — describes how quickly data to all the online sites on which you list and market your inventory (your website especially) is updated.
Used to be sites were updated once, maybe twice (with luck, three times) a day by the various listing sites and services. This was fast, but not fast enough.
For instance, you price and list the hot Camaro just taken in. The second you log off, a competitor is already ahead of you. This competitor simply started his inventory listing and uploading process a minute later than you did. Now, this listing for a very similar Camaro at a price even a few dollars less than yours is the hottest vehicle candy on the virtual block.
This is not such a big deal if it’s just this vehicle on just this one car-shopping site – you can update your Camaro listing quickly. But how do you quickly update all prices on all your listed inventory across all your car-shopping sites and websites – and get it done so competitors aren’t eating your lunch?
Then, you have to wait until the listing services and the sites themselves refresh. In the meantime, how many eyeballs are not looking at your cars?
See, speed is relative.
Which is why there is a better way, true real-time data exchange and integration. Now your online listings across all platforms can be updated, improved, re-priced, enhanced or even deleted with one keystroke.
Now you can be sure all listings of all inventory is the same across all platforms, including your CRM and your dealer website.
That such solutions focus intently on improving inventory merchandising on the dealership website cannot be over stated. Most online buyers visit a dealership website when they’re close to making a final vehicle and dealership decision. Nothing will send them scurrying off your website faster than website inventory that’s presented, described and/or priced differently from the third-party listing sites versus your dealership website.
Given that this data now flows directly to key online merchandising and promotions components seamlessly, used car and internet managers responsible for Internet marketing will want to adopt some new and different operating processes:
- Develop the habit of reviewing online inventory listings throughout the day to stay current on which online presentations are aging and which ones should be refreshed in comparison to competitions’ listings.
- Use inventory comparison tools to evaluate make/model/age against others in the market and adjust prices accordingly and frequently.
- Use an online inventory listing service that enables mass listing updates. In other words, use a service that permits the updating of all listings across all of the sites on which that inventory is listed, including the dealership website, at once. The result is no more inconsistent or noncompetitive pricing from site to site.
- Understand the increased impact the dealership website will make to sales. Consumers ready to buy start focusing their search more intently on inventory listed on their local dealership websites. These shoppers are typically further along in the sales funnel and tend to submit more qualified and hotter leads – or simply call the dealership. Consistent merchandising and pricing of inventory across all marketing channels will build consumer trust in the dealership and its products and services.
- Practice better customer relationship management.
- Maximize all best practices in online inventory merchandising, putting into action all the e-commerce marketing tools available. This includes incorporating into your listings attention-getters like live chat, streaming video, multiple vehicle images, text-over images, personalized vehicle descriptions, silent salesman tools, craigslist listings, online auction listings and more to get shoppers eyeballs to stick on your listings longer.