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Why Car Dealers Should Adopt a Modern Digital Merchandising Strategy

Most people have mastered the skill of shopping. They have been on the internet for so long that they understand the power of choice that the internet gives them. In fact, there are people hitting the car market for the first time who never knew a world without the internet.

Many car dealers have shifted their attentions and advertising budgets to focus strictly on sending people to their own websites. It’s a revolution of sorts as they begin consolidating their digital presence so that everything is funneled directly to them. The concept has legs; generating “1st party leads” has proven to be the highest quality and yields the best chances per lead of turning it into a sale.

There’s a challenge with the philosophy. While the quality of the leads are higher, the quantity is capped. There are many people out there who find the dealers’ inventories through third party sites like Craigslist, Autotrader, and eBay Motors. Only when they find it on these other sites do they actually visit the dealer website. Some never go to the website at all.

Then, there is a subset of people who will never visit a dealer’s website. They do their shopping on third-party sites whether it’s a car, a computer, or a couch. They will never go to Asus.com to buy an Asus computer. They’ll only buy it from Newegg, Amazon, or any of the other third-party sites that work through competitive comparison rather than product isolation.

This is the mentality that has helped retailers outside of the automotive industry master the art of modern digital merchandising. They know that the wide approach of getting exposure to their inventory on as many sites as possible is the best way to sell more.

This is why so many travel sites are popular today. It’s easy to go to United Airline’s website to buy a ticket, but so many people go to the third-party sites even if they have no intention of flying with another airline. The atmosphere of competition on an open marketplace is coveted by today’s consumers. They have a perception that they will get a better deal on these sites than going directly to the company’s website because they’re competing for attention.

The automotive industry is unique in that some dealers have chosen to isolate their inventory for the sake of generating as many 1st party leads as possible. This is a mistake in our opinion and not just because we offer services to help dealers place their inventory on multiple websites. It’s a mistake because it prevents the dealer’s inventory from being seen by those consumers who prefer to use Craigslist over an actual dealership website.

The modern methodology for promoting your inventory is one that spreads out wide rather than narrows everything inward. Don’t fall into the trap of believing that everyone will visit your website if they want to see your inventory. You’ll be missing out on a good chunk of buyers.

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