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Jared Hamilton
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Derrick Woolfson

Derrick Woolfson Business Development Manager

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Don't Forget to Market the Vehicles on Your Lot!

It sure would be nice to know what the actual market value is for the vehicles on our dealerships lots are. But that is easier said than done, and while we have several inventory tools that provide us “market” interest - we have to ask ourselves what the even means? In that when you look at the reports it might offer that there are “X” amount of vehicles in the market and “X” amount of interest. How do they (the vendors) define “interest” is it clicks, VDP views, to name a few? Instead of getting caught up in the reports - though, they can be beneficial - here are a few things to consider to ensure that you do not have too many old aged units on the lot. 

Inventory Specials. Not every vehicle should be on special. 

The whole goal of having a specials page is to promote vehicles that are on special. But if there are too many vehicles on the specials page it can detract the customer from converting on one of the vehicles. There ideally should not be more than eight to ten vehicles on the specials page. Those units should be the oldest aged units. In many cases, you can easily set up a rule in your CMS (back-end tool for the website), and it will automatically display your oldest aged units. 

Marketing on the Dealer Level. 

If you have a high level of visibility on the lot make sure to promote certain vehicles! Whether that is writing the special on the windshield or balloons to name a few. There are customers who visit the lot when your dealership is closed. And if they see a vehicle that is on “special” it can spark interest. One of the biggest challenges dealers face with marketing their inventory is consistency. There might be a few months where the vehicles are front-line ready and marketed, but before you know it - the efforts fall to the wayside.  

Digital Marketing Efforts 

One of the most effective ways to increase conversion - and more importantly sell the vehicle - is to leverage your marketing efforts. Whether that is promoting a post on FB featuring the vehicle, or using other platforms. Increasing awareness of the vehicle can not only lead to a conversion - click to call, or lead form - but you are increasing your chances of bringing more traffic to your website! That said, once the customer is on your website - it increases the chances that they will call your dealer or submit a lead. 

Avoid “Days in Inventory” on your website. 

This sounds like a given, no? But you would be surprised as to how many dealers still leave “days in inventory” on their website. This can have a negative impact as if the customer sees the fact that the vehicle has been in your inventory for more than sixty days they might want a “better deal” when in many cases the current price is less than what you have in it! And no, this is not about being dishonest, either. But considering you are already losing money on the vehicle, it does not make sense to make it that much harder to make a deal happen by advertising it has been on the lot, forever.

Bottom Line: There are many factors to consider that can help you move inventory off your lot. One of the best things to do, however, is be consistent with your efforts on the dealer level! It is easier said than done. I cannot tell you how many times I visit dealers websites and they do not have any inventory on their specials page! To avoid this make sure you have someone - perhaps your used car sales manager - check the page every day to make sure that it has at least eight to ten vehicles on display. If you pair effective digital marketing and dealer level marketing together it can and will help you move those units. As for when it comes to the pricing and fair market value, you can use those as a guide vs. being the end all be all when you are pricing the inventory. If there is a unit that is readily available - aka saturated - be sure to push it! Having a plan of action on day one vs. sixty days later as your getting ready to send it to the auction. 

How do you market your vehicles on the dealer level? Do you engage your sales team and BDC by informing them of which units need to move first? 

Bryant Gibby

Derrick, thanks for the insight. Really good stuff!

Adding to what you said about on the lot merchandising... We used to actually create a designated clearance section for both our top 5 new and used aged vehicles. We would put flags, balloons, stickers etc like you mentioned to draw additional attention to the vehicles. On top of that, we would write each of those vehicles down and price them much more aggressively along with doing a good sized spiff to the salespeople. It always seemed to help move them quicker :)

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