Innovative Inventory: Make It Clear and Creative

March 2008, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

by Jason Ezell - Also by this author

It’s not a new concept; you need to be creative with your Web site. Experts continue to impress the use of video, blogs and valuable information. Your inventory should match the rest of your well-designed  lead machine (AKA your Web site)! Let’s look at some 2008 inventory must–haves.

You’ve heard it over and over again that the more pictures you have the better. Both pre-owned and new inventory should have pictures of the actual car on your lot. Stock photos definitely help, but nothing sells a car like a real picture. You want to push for emotional buy-in as much as possible.

Speaking of emotional buy-in, help customers fall in love with the cars on your lot. Include background stories on the cars, and tell what they look like now. For example, “This vette has been a garage showpiece for the last three years. Come in and get it out on the highway where it belongs!”

Videos, videos, videos! This is the future of Internet marketing. Make sure to put links to personalized videos of your cars on the listing. New vehicle research and visualization tools typically include video; make sure your pre-owned inventory is just as enticing.

There is no reason to hide the trim level and year of your car from your customers. Take the time to include all the details available. This is what the customers want to see and details often sell cars. A customer may be looking for a Honda Accord, but your GPS system or DVD player might just seal the deal.

Research from both J.D. Power and Associates and Jupiter Research reveals that customers are not particularly concerned with the absolute lowest price. They prefer helpful information and a trusting relationship with the dealer, as long as the price is competitive. Put two prices on your listing, MSRP and sticker. It’s up to you if you want to include a special Internet price. Don’t be afraid of listing the prices of your vehicles. Customers are looking for information; give it to them. If they can’t find it on your site, they will go elsewhere.

Always, make sure to give a contact name and number. Use your Internet sales people, or an Internet name, to track sales that originate online. People tend to feel much more comfortable when they know whom they’re calling. Today, it’s all about information and a feeling of security.

Consistent Updates
There is no excuse for outdated inventory. Keep your inventory updated and fresh. Talk to your Web site provider and confirm that your inventory is scheduled to update automatically every night. You will save yourself a major headache and avoid breaking trust with your customers. No one wants to call a dealership just to hear that the car they want is no longer on the lot. It’s a good idea to keep your old inventory on your site with a “SOLD” sticker, especially with rare cars. This will help keep you relevant in the search engines.

You can do a lot to make your Web site a lead machine. Your inventory should never hurt your cause. Keep it fresh, keep it clean and it’s sure to be a wellspring of leads!

Vol 5, Issue 2

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