This is a guest post from Russ Daniels, the Senior Manager, Product Marketing at Homenet. We're excited to have Russ presenting at the DrivingSales Executive Summit.
Effective merchandising drives deeper interest from car shoppers, however, dealerships today do not know to differentiate their online inventory.
In our dealer research, we found that 83% of dealers believe they can increase margin and reduce days to sell by improving online merchandising, yet just 12.0% feel their online presence was highly differentiated from their competitors.
To begin understanding how to stand out, you need to understand how to measure several aspects of your merchandising. Below are three areas that I believe can provide the most insight into the impact of your current merchandising processes.
Measure Merchandising Performance
Measuring the overall effectiveness of your online listings starts with tracking search result page and vehicle detail page views. Having an idea of the online engagement your inventory receives allows you see the impact your merchandising has on attracting shoppers.
For a deeper understanding of online engagement, track views for specific aspects of merchandising, such as videos, photos and 360 spins.
In many conversations I have with experts across the industry, 125 VDP clicks per vehicle acts as a starting benchmark of measuring merchandising success.
Used cars can take up to 11 days to be fully merchandised and online, but high performing dealers can accomplish this within three days. Use smart automation and technology to streamline this process as much as possible to save time and effort.
Remember fully merchandised vehicles are going to drive consumer engagement. Listings with real photos get 349% more vehicle details page views than those with stock photos and vehicles with descriptions receive 27% more views than those without.
Merchandising that Boosts Search Rankings
Industry leading classified sites like Autotrader, Kelley Blue Book, Cars.com and Cargurus are using merchandising completeness to drive which vehicles display at the top of the search results page. Now vehicles with real photo sets, video, descriptions etc. will be showing higher on the results page. This shift is aimed to drive a better shopping experience. This also validates the need to measure the time it takes to merchandise your inventory and track engagement.
If vehicles are underperforming – it’s important to investigate where merchandising processes can be improved to maximize return on your advertising spend. For example, photos and thorough descriptions can be easily overlooked. By expanding the detail of your comments and taking more photos, you can give car shoppers more information to make a purchasing decision.