Happy couple experiencing customer service practices from a car dealership

In today’s competitive landscape, creating seamless customer experiences is more important than ever for auto dealerships. A seamless customer experience is a consistent and integrated customer journey across all channels. In other words, it’s the holy grail of customer service: providing customers with a great experience at every touchpoint, from their first interaction with your dealership to long after they’ve driven off the lot – perhaps in their new car. 

So, how can you create seamless customer experiences in your dealership? Here we break down the buyer’s psychology and provide tips on customer service practices for car dealers. 

1. Understand the buyer’s needs 

Before implementing customer service practices for car dealers, dealerships must be aware that customers’ needs have changed. Buying processes were much more straightforward in the past: customers would come into the dealership, pick out a car and then trade in their old one. The dealer would work out all the financings, and the customer would drive off the lot. 

Nowadays, customers are far more informed. They often come into the dealership knowing what car they want and have already researched financing options. Customers do more research online before entering a dealership than at any other point in the buying process. 

Another change in the car buyers’ journey is the need for simplicity and convenience. Customers now expect to be able to do everything from their mobile devices, and they don’t want to have to come into the dealership multiple times to complete the purchase. One excellent way dealerships are meeting the demand for convenience is leveraging Kelley Blue Book® Instant Cash Offer. A dealership willing to pay someone immediately with cash for their used vehicle is a great way to increase vehicle acquisitions.  

2. Use technology to your advantage 

There’s no denying that technology has transformed the auto industry — and for the better. Today’s customers have more access to information and are likely to come into your dealership knowing the car they want to buy (and how much they’re willing to pay for it). Technology can be a great way to improve customer service practices for car dealers. 

Embrace this change by using technology to streamline your processes and make it easy for customers to get the information they need. For example, you can use online chatbots on your website to answer common questions or allow customers to schedule test drives and appointments online. 

Customer relationship management (CRM) software is an excellent way to leverage technology to improve customer service practices for car dealers. A CRM can help you keep track of your customers’ interactions with your dealership. If you can see their online interactions and preferences, you can customize their experience, saving them time and providing better service. 

Another great online solution is to use a lead capture form on your website to gain customer information for future contact. Kelley Blue Book offers LeadDriver™, which allows you to capture client information as they browse your website.  

Using an opt-in form paired with a CRM can drastically increase your inventory acquisition while creating a seamless customer experience. 

3. Make the car-buying process transparent 

Transparency is critical for maintaining strong customer service practices for car dealers. Customers appreciate transparency; one way to provide it is by being upfront about your prices. Don’t try to hide the cost of the car in the fine print — customers will see right through that, and it will only damage your relationship with them. Instead, be upfront about the price and be willing to negotiate. 

Another way to be transparent is by being clear about your financing options. Don’t try to upsell customers on things they don’t need or want — instead, focus on providing the best possible financing options for their situation. You can get to know your customers and understand their needs.  

Adding features to your website like listing enhancements offers customers the information they want and provides your dealership with the data it needs to succeed. Listing enhancements can include financing options and details, instant credit scores and test drives from home. These features check all the boxes for customers while giving your dealership the right tools — all excellent customer service practices for car dealers. 

4. Have a strong online presence 

When thinking about customer service practices for car dealers, an online presence does not typically come to mind. However, a seamless online experience is just as crucial for car dealerships as an offline interaction.  

Your website should be easy to navigate and provide customers with the necessary details. Remember: a website is often a customer’s first interaction with your dealership and is one of the earliest steps in the car buyers’ journey.  

Suppose a customer seeks a specific answer and cannot navigate your website or find the solution they need. In that case, they are likely to move on to another dealership. Having features such as Kelley Blue Book® Price Advisor increases a customer’s trust when interacting with your website, which is crucial when establishing a relationship. 

Mobile-optimized websites are another element of customer service practices for car dealers. More and more people are using their smartphones to browse the internet, and if your website isn’t optimized for mobile devices, you’re likely to lose out on potential customers. 

In addition to having a solid website, you should also focus on your social media presence. Platforms like Facebook and Instagram allow you to connect with potential and current customers. Social media can also help you to showcase your inventory, offer deals and promotions, or provide information about car buying. 

5. Follow-up even after the sale 

Following up after the sale is one of the essential customer service practices for car dealers. Dealerships might think their job is done as soon as the contract is signed and the car is no longer on the lot. However, your relationship with your customer doesn’t end when they drive off the lot — it’s just beginning. 

Here are three ways to improve your dealership follow-ups: 

Are you wondering how you can keep in touch with past customers after such long periods? CRMs are the answer. Specific CRMs will have customer data saved and reminders sent to your email when a holiday or event happens. While you could use a digital card approach, handwritten notes may come across as more genuine customer service practices for car dealers. 

Conclusion 

There are numerous customer service practices for car dealers that can lead to a seamless customer experience. In turn, seamless customer experiences require a combination of proper employee training, technology, and regular feedback (both positive and negative).  

By following these tips, you can take steps toward creating a standout customer experience at your auto dealership — one that will keep customers coming back.  

Man with one hand on the steering wheel driving a car at dusk

There’s no question that an excellent dealer website can help you sell more cars. In fact, your website may be the most essential tool in your sales arsenal. A good website provides potential customers with all the information they need to make a purchase decision and creates a positive impression of your dealership. But what makes an excellent dealer website? And what can you do to improve your dealership’s website? 

Importance of a dealer website 

As the world becomes increasingly digital, having a strong online presence is more important than ever. Your website is likely the first impression potential customers have of your dealership. Therefore, you must constantly optimize your website to make a good impression and provide visitors with all the information they need to make a purchase decision. 

Tips for car dealers’ websites to stand out 

Follow these tips for car dealers’ websites to stand out from other dealerships, such as: 

Make it easy to find information 

When considering optimizations, you must ensure potential customers can easily find the information they are looking for. This means having a well-organized website with a clear navigation system. All your content should be easy to read and understand and organized in a way that makes sense. 

In addition, you should make sure that your contact information is prominently displayed on every page of your site. This makes it easy for potential customers to contact you if they have any questions or concerns. 

Create well-written product descriptions 

Another critical aspect is well-written product descriptions. Your descriptions should be informative and persuasive, and they should also be free of spelling and grammatical errors. Remember, your goal is to convince potential customers that your vehicles are the best on the market. 

Some persuasive writing techniques you can use include: 

Use only high-quality images 

In addition to well-written product descriptions, it is also essential to have high-quality images on your site. These days, potential customers expect to see photos and videos of cars and trucks they’re interested in, which allows them to get a better idea of how the vehicle looks and how it works. Images may include the car in a showroom setting or on the road. If your dealership is looking to future-proof, you might consider adding augmented reality features that allow potential customers to view a car from the comfort of their homes. 

Develop a user-friendly navigation menu 

Another vital element is a user-friendly navigation menu. This is the menu on every page of your site that allows visitors to quickly find the information they’re looking for. Your navigation menu should be easy to use and understand, and it should be consistent on all your pages. If customers have to click through a series of confusing menus to find the contact page, they may give up and look elsewhere. 

Optimize for fast loading times 

In today’s fast-paced world, people have little patience for slow websites. If your site takes more than a few seconds to load, potential customers may navigate away and look for another source of information. There are a few things you can do to improve your site’s loading times, such as: 

Improve mobile device compatibility 

These days, more and more people are using their mobile devices to access the Internet, which means that it’s essential that your site is compatible with all types of mobile devices. A responsive design automatically adjusts to fit any device’s screen, ensuring that your dealership’s website can be easily viewed on smartphones, tablets, and laptops. 

Take advantage of social media integration 

Social media has become the backbone of most businesses, and your dealership should be no different. Integrating social media into your website makes it easy for potential customers to connect with you on their favorite platforms. You can also use social media to share updates about new products, special offers, and events. 

Don’t neglect SEO 

SEO, or search engine optimization, is the process of improving your site’s ranking in the search results. Organic search is still one of the most effective ways to draw traffic to your website. Ensuring your site is optimized for search engines is crucial.  

Some things you can do to optimize your site include: 

Tips for car dealers’ websites and design improvements 

Your website’s design should have user experience in mind. This includes all stages of a car-buyer’s journey, from when they’re just starting their research to post-purchase. Creating a great design is essential for success and ensures your website stands out from the rest. 

Some critical elements of a great design include: 

Aesthetics: First impressions count, so ensure your website looks professional and trustworthy. Use high-quality visuals and easy-to-read fonts. Your color scheme should be consistent throughout the site and match your logo and branding. 

Functionality: All your website features should work properly and seamlessly together, including everything from contact forms to payment processors. Ensure all your pages are optimized for lead capture by having calls to action (CTAs). Tools like Kelley Blue Book LeadDriver can help you capture more leads by integrating capture forms into your website. 

Security: Online security is a top priority for car buyers. Make sure your website uses HTTPS encryption and has a valid SSL certificate. This helps keep your customers’ personal and financial information safe. In addition, you should have a privacy policy that complies with data protection regulations. 

Tips for car dealers’ websites to increase conversions 

Your dealer website is designed to generate leads and convert them into customers. However, this doesn’t happen automatically — you need to take steps to increase conversions on your site. For dealers, a conversion can mean many things and may refer to a customer: 

Here are a few tips for car dealers’ websites to increase conversions: 

Offer competitive prices: Customers are always looking for the best deals. Make sure your costs align with the market and offer discounts and promotions regularly. 

Provide excellent customer service: Respond to customer inquiries quickly and efficiently. Consider adding a 24/7 chatbot that allows your customers to immediately get the answers they need or be directed to a specific correct team member. 

Streamline the checkout process: Customers are more likely to complete a purchase if the process is straightforward. Make sure your forms are short and easy to understand and offer multiple payment options. 

Final thoughts 

An excellent dealer website is one that functions properly, looks professional, and helps you generate leads. It’s also essential to ensure your site is secure and compliant with data protection regulations. Kelley Blue Book can help you succeed with a suite of products and services designed to attract online shoppers and convert them into customers. Use our tools to get real-time market data on pricing and vehicle trends so that you can stay ahead of the competition.  

A light blue electric car is plugged in for charging with a thick cord.

Electric vehicles are becoming more and more popular as people become more environmentally conscious. Not only do they help reduce emissions, but they’re also cheaper to operate and maintain than gasoline-powered cars. If you’re a dealer looking to stay ahead of the curve in electric vehicles, this article will discuss the latest electric car trends and what dealers need to know to be successful in selling them. 

What are electric cars, and how do they work? 

Electric vehicles, or EVs, are cars that run on electricity instead of gasoline. There are a few different types of electric vehicles, but the most common ones are plug-in hybrids and all-electric cars. All-electric cars run entirely on electricity and can be plugged into an outlet to recharge, while plug-in hybrids have both an electric motor and a gasoline engine. 

How have electric vehicles become more popular? 

There are many reasons why electric vehicles have become more prevalent in recent years.  

The decreasing cost of batteries: One of the most significant barriers to entry for electric vehicles was the cost of batteries. This is because batteries contain a lot of expensive metals, like lithium and cobalt. However, due to advancements in technology, the cost of batteries has been decreasing. In fact, the cost of lithium-ion batteries has fallen by 89% since 2010. 

The increasing availability of charging stations: Another barrier to entry for electric vehicles has been the lack of charging infrastructure. This is because people are reluctant to buy an electric car if they don’t have somewhere to charge it. However, this is changing as public charging stations have increased dramatically in recent years. In 2021, President Joe Biden passed a bill for 500,000 chargers to be built around the nation by 2030.  

The increasing range of electric vehicles: Another reason electric vehicles have become more popular is that the range of these cars has increased due to advances in battery technology that have allowed for longer-lasting and more powerful batteries. As a result, electric vehicles can now travel farther on a single charge than ever before. 

The rise in environmental awareness: In recent years, there has been a greater focus on the environment and its impact on humans. More and more people are interested in purchasing environmentally friendly products, such as electric cars. 

Government incentives: To promote the use of electric vehicles, many governments offer incentives, like tax breaks or free parking. These can make owning an electric car more attractive to consumers. 

Cities banning petrol and diesel cars: As electric vehicles have become more popular, some cities have started to ban the use of gas- and diesel-powered cars. This is usually done to improve air quality, as electric vehicles produce no emissions. Cities that have banned or plan to ban petrol and diesel cars include London, Paris, Madrid, and Mexico City. 

What do dealers need to know about electric vehicles? 

If you’re a dealer who wants to sell electric vehicles successfully, staying up-to-date on the latest electric car trends is essential. Here are a few things you should keep in mind: 

Learn about the different EV types: As mentioned previously, there are a few types of EVs on the market. It’s essential to educate yourself on the differences so that you can better advise your customers. 

Keep tabs on government incentives: Government incentives can change frequently, so staying up-to-date on the latest offers is essential. This way, you can inform your customers about any financial incentives they may be eligible for. 

Know where to find public charging stations: Many people considering an EV are concerned about charging it when away from home. If you know where the public charging stations are in your area, you can put their minds at ease and help them decide to buy an EV. 

The latest electric car trends and what dealers can expect in the future 

As electric vehicles become more popular, dealers who carry EVs must stay informed about the latest electric car trends. Some exciting things to look out for in the future of EVs include: 

Improved battery technology: Batteries are improving, meaning EVs can travel further on a single charge. 

More affordable EVs: Thanks to improved battery technology and increased production, EV prices are expected to continue to decline. 

More public charging stations: As the infrastructure for EVs improves, there will be more public charging stations available for people to use. 

More advanced features: EVs are getting increasingly advanced, with some newer models featuring self-driving capabilities and safety features like automatic braking. 

What are some of the challenges that come along with owning an EV? 

While there are many benefits to owning an EV, there are also a few challenges. These include: 

Range anxiety: Many people who own EVs worry about running out of charge while on the road. This can be a problem if you’re planning a long road trip and you’re unfamiliar with the charging infrastructure in the area. 

Charging time: Charging an EV can take a while, which can be inconvenient if you’re in a hurry. Charges may take around 10-15 minutes, at a minimum, depending on the type of charger you’re using. 

High initial cost: EVs often have a higher initial cost than traditional gasoline cars. However, they’re generally cheaper to operate and maintain over time. 

What are some tips for dealing with these challenges? 

For dealers who carry EVs, knowing the challenges of owning one is essential. Here are a few tips for dealing with these challenges: 

Plan your route in advance: If you’re worried about running out of charge, plan your route and make sure you know where the public charging stations are along the way. 

Charge at home whenever possible: Whenever you can, charge your EV at home. This will save time and money in the long run. 

Consider a used EV: If the high initial cost of an EV is a deterrent, consider buying a used one. You can often find good deals on used EVs. 

Final thoughts 

As the world turns towards zero-carbon transportation, dealers who carry EVs must be knowledgeable in the latest electric car trends. Kelley Blue Book has the tools and resources you need to acquire and sell EVs successfully. With our suite of tools, you can quickly and easily connect with in-market shoppers, estimate trade-in value, and make competitive cash offers.  

With the automotive industry continuing to suffer from supply chain issues, acquiring inventory for your dealership has been increasingly challenging. The days of hundreds of customers looking to sell their vehicles and trade them in for the newest models are a distant memory. So, to keep your inventory levels up, you must employ different advertising techniques to attract clients to your dealership. Here we will discuss the best ways to leverage car dealership advertising to maximize your inventory acquisition efforts. 

Advertising for your dealership 

When it comes to car dealership advertising, there are a lot of different ways to go about it. You can invest in traditional marketing methods like TV and radio ads, or try newer strategies like social media and search engine optimization. Regardless of your approach, ensuring that your dealership gets the most out of your advertising budget is essential. 

The purpose of advertising is to create awareness for your dealership and to attract potential customers. It’s important to remember that not all advertising techniques are created equally. Some methods will be more effective than others, so it’s essential to find the right mix of strategies that work best for your business. Here are the top car dealership advertising methods to increase your inventory acquisition. 

1. Search engine optimization 

The first part of your advertising strategy should ensure that your dealership’s website is optimized for search engines. This means that your website should be easy to find when people are searching for keywords related to your business. Search engine optimization (SEO) is a complex process, but there are a few simple things you can do to improve your website’s ranking. 

2. Run display advertisements 

A display advertisement is online advertising that allows you to show images, videos, and other forms of media on websites and apps. These ads attract potential customers to your dealership’s website. 

When creating display ads, it’s important to use appealing visuals and clear messaging. You want your ad to stand out from the rest, so potential customers will click on it. It’s also key to target your ads to specific demographics so that you’re not wasting your time and money on ads that don’t appear to your likely customers. 

Display advertising can be a great way to attract potential customers to your dealership’s website. But it’s important to remember that this is just one part of your overall advertising strategy. One of the best ways to get started with display advertising is to use highly trafficked websites. Kelley Blue Book offers display advertising services to help you reach your target audience. 

3. Offer rewards and incentive programs 

Offering rewards and incentive programs are a great way to attract potential customers to your dealership. You can offer discounts on vehicles, free services, or other incentives to encourage people to visit your dealership. These programs can be a great way to build loyalty among potential customers and turn them into lifelong fans of your business. 

When creating a rewards or incentive program, it’s essential to ensure that the benefits are communicated. You want potential customers to understand what they will get out of the program to be more likely to participate. It’s also essential to ensure that the program is easy to sign up for and use. The last thing you want is potential customers to get frustrated with the process and give up before they even start. 

4. Utilize email marketing 

One advertising technique that is often overlooked is email marketing. Email marketing can be a great way to reach potential customers and encourage them to visit your dealership. Email marketing can send potential customers special offers, coupons, or other incentives. You can also use email marketing to keep potential customers up-to-date on your dealership’s new inventory, specials, or events. 

When creating an email marketing campaign, you must ensure that your messages are clear and concise. You want potential customers to read your emails and understand the offer or incentive you’re providing. Personalizing your emails is also essential so they feel they come from a friend rather than a faceless corporation. 

One of the most important elements of email marketing is having a lead magnet that allows you to collect potential customers’ emails. A great way to do this is to use Kelley Blue Book LeadDriver. The service will enable you to add a form to your website that potential customers can fill out to receive more information about your dealership. 

The form will collect the potential customer’s name, email address, and phone number. This information will then be sent directly to your dealership so that you can follow up with them. Once you collect the emails, add them to your mailing list and start your email marketing campaign. 

5. Set up social media ad campaigns 

Social media advertising is another excellent car dealership advertising method that can allow you to reach millions of new customers through geotargeted campaigns. There are a variety of social media platforms that you can use to reach potential customers, including, but not limited to Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. 

When creating a social media ad campaign, you must ensure that your ads are targeted to your target audience. You also want to ensure that your ads are creative and visually appealing. Your goal is to create ads that will grab the attention of potential customers and encourage them to visit your dealership. 

It’s also essential to track the performance of your social media ad campaign so that you can see what’s working and what isn’t. This information will help you adjust your campaign as needed to get the most out of it.  

Additional car dealership advertising methods 

While these are just a few ways to use car dealership advertising to reach potential customers, many other methods are available. Some other techniques include: 

How automotive advertising can help you acquire vehicles 

Regardless of your method, car dealership advertising can be a great way to reach potential customers and encourage them to visit your dealership. By leveraging incentives and programs which are easy to sign up for and use, you can build loyalty among potential customers and turn them into lifelong fans of your business. And with the help of Kelley Blue Book, it’s easy to collect potential customers’ information so that you can follow up with them. If you are interested in learning other ways to grow your dealership, check out Kelley Blue Book’s dealer resources today. 

 

Mechanic looking under the hood of a gray vehicle in a service department.
 

Global supply shortages have increased the importance of dynamic dealer inventory acquisition strategies. With approximately 2.2 million fewer unsold new vehicles in 2022 than in 2020, many dealers are focusing on acquisition strategies that include more pre-owned vehicles.  

Explore the benefits of promoting acquisition through your service department today. See how regular maintenance scheduling and inventory acquisition can come together with Kelley Blue Book® Instant Cash Offer and other tools. 

Service appointment as acquisition opportunities 

It’s a great time to focus on fixed ops. According to Xtime Metrics and a Cox Automotive analysis, the repair order revenue index increased 9.5% between April 2021 and 2022. The increase in car prices can partly explain the rise in repair order revenue. According to Cox Automotive, the cost of a used vehicle is now over $28,000, on average. A recent Cox Automotive estimate puts the number of new vehicle sales in April 2022 as 20% lower than April 2021. Fewer new car sales put a greater focus on used vehicles, making inventory shortage a reality around the industry. 

While fixed ops are a reliable way to keep your dealership operating amid an inventory shortage, it can also be a competitive dealer inventory acquisition strategy. Here are a few ways you can prepare to acquire inventory from service lanes. Routine servicing and cross-departmental communication are two avenues of inventory acquisition to grow your dealership. 

Communicate the importance of routine servicing 

Start by building trust and promoting your service department. The number of phone calls to service departments in the United States increased by 16.3% in 2021, so you may need to create more awareness of these services if you’re not seeing an increase in demand for your service department. 

Inform existing customers and potential buyers about when to schedule a maintenance service and sign that it’s time for a maintenance service. According to Policy Advice, the number of used vehicle sales has increased twofold in 2020, so your consumers must understand when to schedule an appointment and how often their used vehicle needs servicing. 

Some consumers are waiting to purchase a car. Fears surrounding current inventory levels may bring customers to your service department who are hesitant to sell their vehicle. Make sure they remain loyal service department customers as you look for opportunities to make a service-to-sales transition. 

Bring departments together 

If your service department isn’t providing exceptional customer service, you’re not seeing the full synergy of your sales, service, and dealer inventory acquisition strategies. Extend the customer lifetime by scheduling routine inspections for a consumer after selling them a new or used vehicle. Once a consumer is ready to upgrade to a new or newer car, your service department should work to encourage the consumer to trade in or sell their used vehicle. 

Increasing inter-department communication can help your sales team spot in-demand used cars owned by loyal service customers. Targeting these high-value, high-demand auto owners with trade-in and cash offers is a competitive way to facilitate a service-to-sales transition. 

Customer benefits of consistent automotive care 

Using your service lane as a dealer inventory acquisition strategy is beneficial for you, but what about your customers? It’s essential to inspire confidence throughout the process to avoid leaving your customer feeling uninformed. Here are some benefits of consistent automotive care, particularly when selling a vehicle, that you can communicate to your customers. 

Maintained value 

The first step is to show the customer how they benefit from scheduling routine maintenance before considering selling their vehicle. Everything from regular fluid changes to routine exterior cleaning can help retain value in the vehicle. After a maintenance routine, it’s estimated that a car can be valued at up to $1,000 more than one that hasn’t. If the servicing includes significant repairs, the value difference could be greater.  

Increased energy efficiency 

Routine maintenance can also increase the energy efficiency of a used vehicle. The U.S. Department of Energy recommends many essential vehicle maintenance tips to conserve fuel. Environmentally friendly suggestions can help customers feel better about driving or selling their used vehicle. 

Increased sale price 

Immediately after completing a service appointment is a great time to recommend a Kelley Blue Book Instant Cash Offer valuation. Because your team has thoroughly inspected the vehicle, you’re now equipped to appraise it and recommend a purchase or trade-in. 

Steps to connect your service department and Instant Cash Offer marketing 

Start leaning on your service department for dealer inventory acquisition with these steps. From promoting increased maintenance appointments to utilizing Instant Cash Offer valuations, these steps help promote a more streamlined, cost-effective acquisition strategy. 

Become a Featured Auto Repair Center 

Start by increasing the visibility of your service department. Kelley Blue Book offers a Featured Auto Repair Center program to help you grow your fixed operation’s revenue. This 24/7 service marketing tool inspires confidence in your department through the Fair Repair Range feature. It also helps streamline the service scheduling process. 

As a Featured Auto Repair Center, you can increase your fixed ops revenue and fill your service bays to see more customers. A busy service area means more opportunities to discuss used vehicle acquisition and trade-in possibilities. 

Promote loyalty with Xtime’s Spectrum 

Once you have steady traffic for your fixed ops, it’s time to drive owner loyalty. Xtime’s Spectrum is a cloud-based system that offers full integration to help promote customer loyalty. A significant factor in consumers transitioning from a maintenance visit to a sale is trust in your dealership. Use Spectrum to launch recall campaigns, easily organize service history, and increase customer satisfaction. 

Utilize Instant Cash Offer 

Kelley Blue Book Instant Cash Offer is a dynamic tool in any inventory acquisition strategy. By leveraging over 3 trillion data points, this solution offers consumers an appraisal value based on the vehicle’s make, model, trim level, condition, and location. A newly serviced vehicle provides the customer with the best opportunity for the highest offer. 

The condition ranges of Instant Cash Offer are a great conversation point regarding any recommended or suggested maintenance tasks. Even if a consumer isn’t ready to sell their used vehicle yet, discussing the repairs that could increase the value of their car is an excellent opportunity to either acquire the vehicle or keep your fixed ops busy. 

Promote trust and confidence in the appraisal process 

While this tool offers a sight-unseen valuation, you can use it in this stage of your service department inventory acquisition strategy to promote visibility in your appraisal process. Because your service team has already inspected the vehicle and seen it firsthand, you have a clear picture of its value. You can then discuss any recommended repairs and explain how they affect the trade-in and cash values. 

Consumers have already seen an Instant Cash Offer at this stage in the process. That means they’re informed of the average value of the vehicle and know a price range they may be able to see from another dealership. Work to retain these consumers by including them in the valuation process. Walk around the vehicle and explain the main features that impact its value. 

Offer a competitive value 

It’s vital to offer a competitive appraisal in the current used vehicle market, according to Micah Tindor, Senior Director for Kelley Blue Book Instant Cash Offer. Consumers who started with a scheduled service may not be highly motivated to sell their vehicle. Once they view an Instant Cash Offer, they also have a clear idea of its current market value. A low-ball offer at this stage may lead to a lost acquisition opportunity. 

Even if a consumer isn’t ready to make a trade or sell their car after a maintenance visit, be sure you have a follow-up plan in place. A 90-day follow-up after the Instant Cash Offer valuation, and standard follow-ups for service scheduling, can all be part of your acquisition strategy. 

Explore more dealer inventory acquisition strategies 

Tight inventory levels don’t have to mean a decrease in revenue. Find out how to avoid the “empty lot syndrome” and promote your dealer inventory acquisition with Kelley Blue Book industry solutions. Read more to stay up to date on the latest news and industry strategies to see more synergy between your service and acquisition goals. With Kelley Blue Book tools and resources, your service department can help you reach your dealer inventory acquisition goals. 

Close-up image of two people shaking hands. 

When it comes to vehicle inventory acquisition, it can be easy to get caught up in advanced dealership marketing tips and forget the basics. Your customers are your most valuable asset. It’s important to see the true value your customers bring to the future of your business.  

Although sales are important, you shouldn’t make them your sole focus. Maintaining relationships with your customers can help you further down the line. This article will focus on how customer relationships can impact your vehicle inventory acquisition. You’ll also learn some valuable dealership marketing tips to promote your dealership to customers. 

Why maintaining relationships with customers is essential 

You probably spend a lot of time focusing on lead generation and conversion. However, it’s important to recognize that a sale doesn’t have to be the end of your sales funnel. Once a customer visits your dealership and buys a car, you might never hear from them again. While this works for some businesses, it isn’t ideal for dealerships that need to improve their vehicle inventory acquisition processes.  

Improving your after-sales processes can be invaluable to your vehicle inventory acquisition and future sales. Remember that if you treat a customer well, there are many ways your dealership can provide benefits to them in the future.  

Focusing on customer relationship maintenance can encourage repeat customers. If a customer has a memorable experience with your dealership, they’re more likely to turn to you when they want to buy and/or sell their next car. However, this isn’t the only benefit. Maintaining good relationships with your customers can mean getting more business through word-of-mouth or recommendations.  

Encouraging brand loyalty should be a key goal in your marketing strategy. Strong customer relationships can ensure you always have an outstanding reputation. Treating your customers well throughout the sales process and after can be a very cost-effective marketing technique. There are many ways you can do this by following the dealership marketing tips further down this page. 

4 marketing strategies to maintain customer relationships 

Maintaining relationships with your customers relies heavily on dealership marketing tips. With the right techniques, you can build an excellent reputation and remain memorable. Here are 4 essential dealership marketing tips to make your vehicle inventory acquisition marketing strategy successful. 

Keeping post-purchase relationships with customers can require continuous marketing efforts. However, the rewards often outweigh the effort as you can create a circular sales process. This means the customer sells the vehicle back to you in the future. Using these methods, you can keep your inventory stocked with quality used cars. 

1. Email marketing 

Although technology has progressed significantly since the introduction of email, email marketing is still essential today. Many businesses use email marketing to reach their existing customers and encourage them to make repeat purchases. When it comes to marketing your dealership, it’s the same principle.  

You can use emails to your advantage in many ways. For example, you could send emails letting your previous customers know that you offer trade-ins.  

You could also send general marketing emails periodically to remind previous customers about your dealership. If you do this, be sure not to spam your customers. Doing so could damage your reputation.   

Be sure to use calls to action (CTA) in your emails. These are directions that you want your customers to follow, for example, “follow us on social media,” “call us,” or “book a vehicle appraisal.” 

2. Digital marketing 

Using several channels for marketing your business can seem intimidating, but it gives you a greater chance of success. Using a combination of digital marketing channels, such as social media, emails, banner ads, and paid search ads can help increase awareness of your dealership.  

Using multiple social media platforms is recommended; however, be aware that what you post on one platform may not perform as well on another. Get to know what works on each platform and create content accordingly.  

Managing marketing campaigns across several channels can be challenging. Therefore, many businesses outsource this to specialists. However, if you are on a budget, you can do it yourself with the right tools and planning. 

There are many excellent digital marketing tools available for dealerships. Using these can make marketing your business much easier, and they’re often very cost-effective.  

Tools can simplify a lot of your marketing processes. These include social media management and email marketing. Simplifying processes where possible can give you more time to focus on other operations, so try to automate as much of your marketing efforts as your budget allows.   

3. Rewards 

Rewarding your customers can be the perfect reminder that you value their business. There are various ways of rewarding customers that will also reward your dealership. For example, you could ask customers to leave a review for your dealership in exchange for an entry into a prize drawing.  

You can use prize draws to entice new customers and remind existing customers of your presence. The way you promote a prize draw can vary to reflect this. For example, emailing existing customers about a prize draw can be the perfect way to jog their memory and remind them of your dealership. Using paid social media ads to promote the prize draw may be more effective for targeting new customers.  

If vehicle inventory acquisition is your goal, there are more direct ways of rewarding customers and achieving this. Using a referral is one example of this. Rewarding previous customers for referring new customers to your dealership to sell their vehicle or buy a vehicle from you is beneficial for all parties involved.  

For dealerships, referrals can be a great way to stock your inventory. As an example, you could offer the referrer a small cash bonus when the person they refer sells their vehicle to you. As an added incentive, you may reward the new customer with a small cash bonus or discount on top of their trade-in. 

4. Vehicle inventory acquisition 

Vehicle inventory acquisition is often a focal point for many dealerships. Keeping your showroom stocked with quality used cars is fundamental to your success. You’ll always have new inventory to showcase to your former, current, and potential customers. 

You’ll need to focus on encouraging customers to provide their email addresses or follow you on social media so you can stay in touch and remarket regularly.  

Using dealership marketing tips and tools such as the Kelley Blue Book Instant Cash Offer tool can help you appeal to customers again.  

Click here to learn more about effective vehicle inventory acquisition tips and recommendations. 

Improving your vehicle inventory acquisition – how Kelley Blue Book can help 

Following the dealership marketing tips above should make building customer relationships and vehicle inventory acquisition simpler. There are many ways Kelley Blue Book can help you with your automotive marketing efforts. We offer a range of tools suitable for dealerships of all sizes.  

If you’d like to learn more about how we can help with your vehicle inventory acquisition, contact us today. You can also request a demo of our vehicle inventory acquisition tools.

Generating leads is essential if you want your dealership to experience continued success. Whether inventory acquisition is your goal or you simply need more sales, getting your marketing right is key. 

Automotive marketing has changed significantly in recent years, which means the techniques have, too. If your dealership is still living in the past, it’s time to up your game, get ahead of competitors, and implement new strategies and tools. Keep reading if you’re wondering how car dealers get leads in this digital age.  

How leads and car inventory sourcing has changed 

Automotive marketing is changing quickly, and as technology advances, so does the way in which we buy and sell goods. The time buyers now spend inside a dealership has declined substantially, with most of the buying process now performed online. This shift doesn’t mean that dealerships should cease to operate, but it does mean that new buying habits should influence marketing techniques.  

Today, buyers and sellers seek information online rather than through a dealership. The dealership itself has become the final stop in the buying and selling process. Therefore, if you’re focusing on old marketing techniques such as cold calling or direct mail, it may be time to switch to digital. How car dealers get leads in the modern age is through a range of options, including digital marketing techniques and tools.  

Buying leads online is one technique that dealerships desperate to increase leads and car inventory sometimes choose. However, this isn’t ethical, because the information is often purchased without the person’s consent. Instead, focus on generating organic, high-quality leads.  

How car dealers get leads – increasing leads and car inventory starts online 

Your leads and car inventory are now dependent on how well you market yourself online. Establishing a digital presence for your dealership is the first step, so if you haven’t launched a website, this should be your first step. The majority of buyers will visit several websites relating to car manufacturers and dealerships when considering whether to buy a new car. This means your presence online is a matter of urgency.  

A well-designed, well-functioing website is essential, especially on all mobile devices. Many people now use their phones to browse online before making a purchase, making mobile optimization crucial. 

You should also make your contact page easy to find. Customers shouldn’t have to search around to find out how to get in touch with your dealership.  

Clear calls to action (CTA) throughout your site can also be a good way to guide your buyers through a process, whether that’s inviting them to search your online inventory, get details on the trade-in process, or welcoming them to take a test drive. 

Getting visitors to your Site with SEO 

Search engine optimization (SEO) is paramount to bringing organic traffic to your website. Your site must be optimized to display in search results when customers search for certain keywords and keyphrases. The SEO process is ongoing, and most businesses will outsource these tasks to content professionals. However, there are many things you can do initially to help your website rank well in search results. These include: 

These are a few SEO-based methods you can use to increase organic traffic and get better leads and car inventory. Learn how to improve your inventory acquisition process here. 

Remote vehicle appraisal helps with how car dealers get leads 

Lead generation isn’t easy, but you’ll be one step closer to improving your leads and car inventory if you offer virtual or online services. Remote vehicle appraisal a good starting point; you can speed up your inventory acquisition process and attract more sellers and buyers to your dealership.  

You’ve probably handled many vehicle appraisals at your dealership, and remote appraisal isn’t too different. The first step is to ensure your customer can show you their vehicle remotely with their cellphone or device with a camera. Using Zoom, FaceTime, or any other platform, you can then inspect the vehicle as you typically would during an appraisal.  

With a tool such as the Kelley Blue Book Instant Cash Offer, you can continue the valuation process. This tool lets you provide a transparent valuation that you can share with your customer. You can even show them a side-by-side assessment of the vehicle.  

Instant Cash Offer is a powerful tool that can be used to attract buyers and sellers to your dealership online.  

How car dealers get leads – automotive marketing tips 

Along with using marketing tools, how car dealers get leads is by implementing marketing strategies. Follow these tried-and-true tips and tricks to increase your leads and car inventory. 

Provide valuable content 

Content is an important part of marketing and lead generation. With people spending a lot of time online consuming content in different forms, the information you provide to your customers must be valuable. Adding a blog to your website is an ideal way to give your target audience useful information while helping your SEO and potentially generating more leads and car inventory. In addition, a blog provides the opportunity to add more keywords to your site, which can improve your overall website rankings.  

When adding a blog, be sure to write about topics that your customers will find helpful. For example, answer questions your customers may have about specific cars, the buying or selling process, and any other services you offer, such as remote vehicle appraisal. Although you should post to your blog regularly, the quality of your posts is more important than the quantity.  

Utilize ads 

Running adverts can also help you reach potential customers and increase your leads and car inventory. Today, there are many ways to run ads online for car dealerships. Two of the most extensive include social media Pay Per Click (PPC) ads and advertising options offered by search engines. These are often cost-effective ways of reaching your target audience, and they offer a good return on investment. You may also benefit from advertising your dealerships through directory sites with banner ads or sponsored listings. 

Maintain a social media presence 

To increase leads, use your social media pages to your advantage. Interacting with customers through your social accounts is an excellent way to keep your dealership fresh in the minds of your followers. Also, don’t forget to answer customer questions and interact with posts from other local businesses in your area.  

These are just a few automotive marketing tips to get you started. Read 5 marketing tips for local dealerships for more information on marketing your dealership. 

Improving your leads and car inventory with Kelley Blue Book 

Now that you know more about how car dealers get leads, take action. Utilizing Kelley Blue Book’s automotive marketing tools, such as the Kelley Blue Book Instant Cash Offer tool, is one of the best ways to increase your leads and car inventory. The Instant Cash Offer tool makes lead generation and inventory acquisition simpler, and when you simplify processes and invest in digital marketing tools, you help your dealership thrive.  

Would you like to hear more about how Kelley Blue Book can help you increase your leads and car inventory? Contact us for more information or to request a demo.

Limitless opportunities exist for connecting with potential car buyers. With the right strategy and a little bit of creativity, car dealerships can find new ways to reach potential buyers and build stronger relationships. Customer events at dealerships are a great way to connect with potential customers and show them you’re a team they can trust. These events can range from casual meet-and-greets to elaborate car shows with live music, food trucks and more.  

They’re also a great way to showcase your car dealership’s brand, staff and inventory without requiring customers to visit your dealership. While there are many different types of events, here are a few examples of customer events that could work for your dealership. 

Some examples of customer events at dealerships include: 

Car shows 

A car show could be a great way to reach new customers. Not only could it help build your brand, but it can also be a great way to engage with your current customers and show them why they should choose your dealership over the competition. People who visit car shows love cars enough to spend their free time looking at them. This is a great demographic for dealerships to create strong relationships with. If you have a large lot, you could even host a car show outside on a sunny day.  

Test drives 

Test drives can be a great way to encourage customers to try out new cars without actually selling them. By offering test drives to customers who are shopping for new cars, you can let them experience the car and your service without requiring them to purchase anything. 

Test drives are also an excellent way to introduce your salespeople to potential customers and build relationships with them. In order to get the most out of test drives, make sure to have a diverse selection of cars and test drive each one yourself. 

Instead of offering test drives to potential customers that happen to end up at your dealership, create an event (or even a virtual event) centered around test drives. Perhaps one weekend you offer a giveaway or promotion related to test drives. If customers come in during a set period of time for a test drive, they get a promotional gift as a part of the event. This could encourage more foot traffic to your dealership.  

Golf tournaments 

Golf is one of the most popular sports in the world, and it is also a great marketing opportunity for car dealerships. By hosting a golf tournament, you can attract a large number of new customers at once as well as deepen your relationships with current customers. 

To encourage as many of your customers as possible to come, invite them to bring a guest with them. This will allow you to attract new people in addition to your existing customers and increase the total ROI of your tournament. You can host it at a nearby golf club and charge nominal fees as a donation to a local charity. It is a great opportunity to foster brand awareness, community support, and relationships with your customer base. 

Game nights 

Whether you choose to host a poker night, an air hockey tournament, or a board game event, games are a great way to get customers laughing and talking together. 

Game nights are also a great way to build camaraderie among employees, as well as among customers. A great way to encourage game nights is by offering prizes at random intervals throughout the event.  

If your dealership has a focus on family-friendly cars, consider family-friendly customer events at your dealership. By encouraging people to visit your dealership in person, when they ordinarily wouldn’t, you create an opportunity for them to see a vehicle that they love. 

Barbecues 

BBQs are an especially popular summertime dealership customer, but they are a fantastic event idea regardless of the season. A barbecue can be a great way to get your customers to socialize and relax together, which can be especially valuable for car dealerships focused on long-term customer relationships. 

Your dealership’s customer events can be memorable. Offer your customers delicious BBQ and a place to socialize.  You can either host a large barbecue in your lot or inside the dealership’s showroom. You can tie it into a national holiday, such as Memorial Day or the 4th of July, or you can make it a customer appreciation event. You can send out an email invitation to the event to past customers who might need a newer model. For more marketing ideas, check out the Kelley Blue Book Industry Solutions page

Trade-in event 

Customer events at dealerships can do more than just attract customers. For example, hosting a trade-in event is a great way to get customers to sell their old cars to you as part of your inventory acquisition efforts.  

The key to a successful trade-in event is to make the offer enticing enough to get customers in the door. You can offer significant discounts on trade-ins at customer events to get customers interested. You can also offer a bonus toward the purchase of a new car if they trade in their old one. Make sure to promote your trade-in event widely so that you get as many people in the door as possible. 

Breakfast club meet-and-greet 

Breakfast clubs are another popular customer event and a great way to bring together a large group of potential customers. You can either host a breakfast club in your dealership showroom or invite customers to bring their own food to listen to a speaker.  

These customer events at dealerships are generally quite casual and can be a great way to meet potential customers and generate interest in your brand. You can advertise these events through social media or email newsletters, or you can even hold them on a weekday morning before regular working hours. 

Roadshows 

Roadshows are another sales event strategy that is especially good for reaching customers away from your physical location. During a roadshow, you reach potential customers at local events including fairs, which is especially valuable if you are not in a location where you are likely to get into regular contact with your customers. 

Roadshows can be as simple as visiting trade shows or as involved as a team meeting up with a group of customers to give them a personalized experience. These customer events at dealerships are often public, so they are a great option if you want to get your product in front of people who are not your usual customers.  

Networking events 

Networking events are a great way to build relationships, and they can be particularly effective for car dealerships. During a networking event, you will spend the whole time talking with your potential customers, and you will also have the opportunity to explore different ways you can help them. 

You can offer a weekly networking event at your dealership, where business owners meet to give their elevator pitches to the rest of the group. There are also different networking organizations that you can offer your space to so that the meetings will be held at your location.  

Virtual events 

While in-person events are a great way to build relationships and boost your brand, there are some customers that prefer virtual events at car dealerships. In order to boost your business and reach new customers, you can also host a series of webinars. This can show off the features of a particular model or provide information about more general car-related topics, such as how to select the right first car for teens. 

Webinars are great virtual events for car dealerships to boost your brand and reach a large number of potential customers, as they are a great way to boost your brand and boost your credibility. They are also a great way to reach a large number of potential customers for a low cost. 

Use events as part of your dealership’s marketing strategy 

Customer events at dealerships can build relationships, boost your brand and get new customers in the door. They are also a great way to gain access to potential new customers in person and via social media. You can use events as an opportunity to win over new customers and encourage repeat business. For more information about marketing ideas, check out our blog

There are various ways to reach potential buyers when it comes to automotive marketing. TV, radio, and print ads are still very popular and can be very successful when done correctly. Here at Kelley Blue Book, we understand the importance of traditional marketing for car dealers, and we want to help our clients succeed in this space. This article will provide some best practices for traditional automotive marketing and some tools that we offer to assist with this initiative. 

Traditional automotive marketing vs. digital marketing 

The first thing to understand is that traditional automotive and digital marketing are two very different beasts. Traditional marketing for car dealers encompasses TV, radio, and print ads, while digital automotive marketing includes online ads, SEO, social media, etc. It’s essential to know the difference between these two types of marketing, as they require different strategies and tactics. 

Traditional automotive marketing is still very effective 

Despite the rise of digital marketing, traditional marketing for car dealers is still very effective. TV and radio are still two of the most prevalent advertising methods among car dealerships. This is likely because traditional marketing for car dealers is still very familiar to consumers. An additional advantage is that with many businesses switching to digital-only marketing, there is often less competition in the traditional space. With this in mind, dealers can use traditional marketing methods to generate more sales, collect more leads, and gain more trade-ins to satisfy inventory acquisition needs. 

The different types of traditional marketing for car dealers 

There are various types of traditional marketing for car dealers that owners can use to reach potential buyers. These include: 

TV Ads: TV ads are a great way to reach a large audience with your message. They are also very visual, which can help grab attention. 

Radio Ads: Radio ads are another great way to reach a large audience. They are often less expensive than TV ads and can be very effective when targeting a specific demographic. 

Print Ads: Print ads can be effective in reaching local buyers. They can be placed in newspapers, magazines, or direct mailings. 

Outdoor Advertising: Outdoor advertising includes billboards, bus stop ads, and other forms of “out of home” advertising. This can be a great way to reach potential buyers who are on the go. 

Best practices for traditional automotive marketing 

Now that we’ve gone over the different types of traditional marketing for car dealers, let’s look at some best practices: 

Use strong visuals 

As we mentioned before, traditional marketing for car dealers is very visual, and this is why it’s essential to use strong visuals in your ads. Whether it’s photos, videos, or graphics, make sure your visuals are eye-catching and attention-grabbing. 

Use a call to action 

A call to action (CTA) is a great way to encourage potential buyers to take the next step. Whether visiting your website, coming into the dealership, or taking a test drive, make sure you include a CTA in your ad. For example, if your dealership is struggling with inventory acquisition, you could include a CTA that says, “Come in for a test drive and receive a free trade-in appraisal.” 

Less is more with traditional automotive marketing 

The general rule in traditional marketing for car dealers is that campaigns must be kept simple. The goal is to reach as many potential customers as possible with a clear and concise message. This can be difficult to achieve when you have a limited amount of time or space, but it’s essential to focus on quality over quantity. A well-executed TV or radio ad will do more for your dealership than a dozen poorly produced advertisements that fail to deliver a strong message. 

Create a strong brand identity that resonates with your target audience 

When creating traditional marketing for car dealers, creating a strong brand identity that resonates with the target audience is essential. This can be done by developing a clear and consistent message and using visuals that reflect your brand. For example, if you’re targeting luxury buyers, your ads should reflect this with high-end visuals and messaging. Use a color palette, fonts, and logo that reflect your brand identity across all of your marketing materials. 

Sponsor local events and charities 

Sponsoring local events and charities is a great way to build goodwill in your community. This can help you attract new customers and create repeat business from current customers.  

Be sure to measure your results 

Unlike digital marketing, it can be challenging to measure the results of traditional marketing for car dealers. However, it’s essential to set up a system to track your leads and sales to see what’s working and what isn’t. This will help you make adjustments to your campaign as needed and ensure that you’re getting the most out of your traditional marketing efforts. You can do this by setting up tracking phone numbers, using coupon codes, and asking customers how they heard about your dealership. 

Collaborate with other businesses 

Another great form of traditional marketing for car dealers is collaborating with other businesses in your area. This can be done by running joint promotions, cross-promoting each other’s businesses, or co-sponsoring events. Collaborating with other companies will help you reach a larger audience and build relationships with other local businesses. Some ideal collaborators for car dealerships include gas stations, auto repair shops, and car washes. 

Follow up with customers after they’ve bought a car 

Finally, it’s essential to follow up with customers after they’ve bought a car from your dealership. This can be done by sending them a thank-you note, calling to check-in, or inviting them to come back for service. Following up with customers will help you create repeat business and build long-lasting relationships. This also helps gain referrals, as customers are more likely to refer friends and family if they’ve had a positive experience.  

How Kelley Blue Book can help 

Traditional marketing for car dealers is excellent for reaching new customers and getting attention for your business. However, getting in front of the customer is only half the battle. You also need to be able to offer them a deal that’s too good to refuse. That’s where Kelley Blue Book comes in. We realize that generating sales and acquiring inventory is essential for your success, which is why we offer a suite of tools to increase dealership experience and give your customers the best deals on the cars they want. 

Kelley Blue Book tools include: 

Instant Cash Offer 

Kelley Blue Book Instant Cash Offer gives customers a quick and transparent offer for their vehicle. This takes the guesswork and negotiation out of the equation, making it easy for customers to get a great deal. This helps your dealership acquire the inventory you need to keep your lot full and generate sales. 

Price advisor 

Our Price Advisor tool helps customers understand if they’re getting a fair deal. This takes the guesswork out of negotiating and puts the customer’s mind at ease knowing they’re getting a fair price. 

Trade-in advisor 

The Trade-In Advisor tool tells customers how much their current car is worth and what they can expect to get if they trade it in. This makes it easy for customers to understand their trade-in value and get the best possible deal on their next car. By offering a fair trade-in value, your dealership can gain more customers and acquire more inventory at the same time. 

Listing enhancements 

Kelley Blue Book also offers listing enhancements that can help your dealership’s listings stand out. This includes adding photos, videos, and additional details about the car. This allows customers to get a better idea of what they’re looking at and makes them more likely to choose your dealership when they’re ready to buy. 

Conclusion 

Traditional marketing for car dealers is a great way to reach new customers, acquire more inventory, and grow your business. By following the best practices outlined in this article, you can maximize your results and create a successful marketing campaign. Kelley Blue Book offers a variety of tools to help you with your traditional marketing efforts, so be sure to take advantage of them. With careful planning and execution, traditional automotive marketing can be a great success for your dealership. For more information on how Kelley Blue Book can help, read our blog here. 

The automotive market is constantly changing, and car dealerships need to adjust their strategies to meet the needs of today’s consumers. Buyers are doing more research than ever before, and they are making decisions based on information they find online. Suppose you don’t understand the answers to the question “how do people shop for cars today?” and adapt your strategies. In that case, you will lose business by stocking the wrong inventory or not providing the information that today’s shoppers are looking for. In this article, you’ll learn more about the changes that have taken place in the automotive market and why it is so essential for dealerships to pivot their strategies to stay competitive. 

The answer to “how do people shop for cars” has changed in recent years

The automotive market has changed dramatically in recent years, and buyers are doing more research than ever before. They are looking for information online and making decisions based on what they find. If you don’t fully understand how do people shop for cars, you can lose your business to competitors who understand the new consumer landscape. 

Several factors have contributed to this change in the automotive market. These include: 

The environmentally-friendly movement 

With the rise in gas prices and the increasing awareness of climate change, more people are looking for cars that don’t negatively impact the environment. This has also led to an increase in the demand for electric vehicles. As a result, many dealerships have had to pivot their inventory to include more eco-friendly options. 

The rise of online research 

One of the main reasons the automotive market has changed so dramatically is the rise of online research. Today, buyers are more likely to do their research online before purchasing, and they also use social media to gather information and opinions from friends and family members. However, at the same time, dealers can also use online resources like Kelley Blue Book’s blog to research and understand what buyers are looking for. This allows dealers to acquire the proper inventory and answer customers’ questions before they even step foot in the dealership. 

The growth of social media 

Social media has also played a role in the changes that have taken place in the automotive market. Sites like Facebook and Twitter allow people to share information about products and services with their friends and followers. 

These sites also allow businesses to reach their target audience more personally than before. People can post questions and get answers from experts, and share photos of their new car or truck with friends and family members who may be interested in buying one. 

The advancement of mobile technology 

Finally, the advancement of mobile technology has changed the way people shop for cars. Today, buyers can use their smartphones and tablets to research on the go. Technology like augmented reality allows buyers to “view” a vehicle in person without ever leaving their homes. As a result, car dealerships need to be prepared to offer a mobile-friendly experience that meets the needs of today’s buyers. 

The impact of these changes on consumers 

These changes have had a significant impact on consumers. As a result of these impacts, you should constantly ask, “how do people shop for cars in today’s modern age?” 

How do people shop for cars #1 – Buyers are more educated than ever before 

One of the most notable changes that have taken place in the automotive market is that buyers are more educated than ever before. They know what they want, and they aren’t afraid to ask for it. This means that you need to be prepared to answer questions about features, suggested retail pricing, and financing. You also need to provide information about the different models available on the market. Dealers will also need to be more focused on acquiring the proper inventory to meet buyers’ needs since they are educated and will likely not settle for a vehicle that doesn’t meet their specifications. 

How do people shop for cars #2 – Shoppers are taking their time to make a decision 

Another change that has taken place is that shoppers are taking their time to make a decision. Using research tools online, buyers can compare things like your dealership’s suggested retail pricing with other dealers in the area. In the past, buyers would typically decide on a car within a few days, and now, they are taking weeks or even months to make a decision. This gives you more time to make a sale, but it also means you need to be prepared to answer more questions and provide information about their vehicles. 

How do people shop for cars #3 – The importance of online reviews 

Online reviews have become increasingly important in the automotive market. Buyers are looking at review websites to get an idea of what other people think about your dealership or an individual car salesperson on your team. They are also looking for feedback on specific vehicle models.  

Why dealerships need to adapt to the changes in the consumer landscape 

The changes that have taken place in the automotive market are here to stay, and you need to adapt to these changes to continue doing business in the years ahead. The top reasons all dealerships need to adapt are: 

The advancement of technology 

Dealerships can now leverage technology to gather more information about potential buyers. You can now use tools like online chat, text messaging, and social media to connect with customers. This new data can help you readjust your inventory acquisition strategies and suggest retail pricing strategies to suit your target audience’s needs better.  

The growth of online shopping 

More and more people are shopping for cars online. This means that you need to have a strong presence on the internet, with a website that is easy to navigate and provides accurate information about your vehicles. You also need to be active on social media platforms and participate in online discussions. Online shopping gives dealers critical insight into the shopping habits of their customers. This allows dealers to increase profits by acquiring the proper inventory and listings in the right places to boost car sales. 

The importance of online reviews 

Online reviews are essential for dealerships because these reviews allow businesses to understand what other people think about them. If you have several bad reviews, this could be a turn-off for potential customers and hurt your bottom line. This means you need to be active on review websites like Yelp and Google My Business so that you can respond to negative feedback in real-time. 

The growth of electric vehicles 

Electric vehicles are becoming more popular, and this trend will only continue in the years ahead. You need to be prepared to sell and service these vehicles, and you need to have a solid understanding of how electric cars work and any special requirements that might come with owning one. 

Dealership strategies to stay competitive in the automotive market 

Sellers can use several dealership strategies to stay competitive in the automotive market. Some of the best strategies you can use are: 

Research market trends 

Researching market trends is an excellent way for dealers to understand what customers are looking for right now. Simple google searches like “How do people shop for cars today?” can bring up information that you can use to make changes within your organization, such as adding more inventory or changing to suggested retail pricing on specific models of cars and trucks. 

Inventory optimization 

Inventory optimization is one of the most crucial dealership strategies to stay ahead in the automotive market. You need to have an accurate picture of what inventory you currently hold at any given time and how much demand there is for each vehicle on your lot or showroom floor. With technology and social media, you can gauge customer interest in specific models before spending money on buying those vehicles. 

Having a strong online presence 

Dealerships need to have a solid online presence, and this means that you need to have an updated website with accurate information about your inventory and financing options available. You also need to be active on social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn to interact with customers in real-time. 

Offering a trade-in program 

A trade-in program like the Kelley Blue Book’s Trade-in Advisor can benefit both dealerships and customers. You can offer a fair price for the customer’s old car, which will help them sell their cars quicker. The customer can then use that money to purchase their new vehicle. Dealers can use trade-in programs to acquire more inventory in the form of high-quality pre-owned vehicles at a lower price. This is a win-win situation for everyone involved. 

Selling cars online 

More and more people are shopping for cars online. This means that you need to have a strong presence on the internet, with a website that is easy to navigate and provides accurate information about their vehicles, like special features and suggested retail pricing. You can upgrade their online listings to have high conversion rates using Kelley Blue Book’s Listing Enhancements tools. 

Use technology to provide a great customer experience 

Technology can be used to provide a great customer experience. This includes using tablets or iPads for customers to browse inventory, using video chat to allow buyers to communicate with salespeople from the comfort of their own homes, and having an interactive website that allows buyers to learn about the car they are interested in buying. In some instances, car brands use augmented reality technology to let buyers see what their vehicle would look like before deciding. 

How Kelley Blue Book can help dealerships 

Kelley Blue Book is a leading provider of new and used car information. The website provides suggested retail pricing data on cars, trucks, SUVs, and vans so that buyers can make informed decisions when purchasing their next vehicle. Kelley Blue Book also offers a full suite of tools that you can use to help stay competitive in today’s automotive market. 

With Kelley Blue Book, you have access to: 

Price Advisor - Provides vehicle pricing data based on make, model, and trim level. This is a valuable tool for suggested retail pricing. 

Trade-In Advisor - Gives buyers an idea of what their current vehicle is worth. This helps them determine how much money they will have to put down on their next car or truck and enables salespeople to negotiate a better deal with customers by offering more for less. 

Instant Cash Offer - Allows dealers to buy vehicles from customers for a fair price below suggested retail pricing. This is an excellent option for dealers looking to stock their lot with new inventory or for buyers who want to sell their cars quickly and easily. 

Online Vehicle Listings - Allows dealers to post their inventory on Kelley Blue Book’s website, reaching a massive audience. Listings are rich with photos, videos, and detailed information about each car or truck. 

Conclusion 

The automotive market is constantly changing, and you need to be prepared for the new challenges that come with it. You must adapt your inventory acquisition, marketing, suggested retail pricing and sales strategies to keep up in this competitive market. Kelley Blue Book can help you fully understand the concept of “how do people shop for cars in today’s age?” This will ensure you’re ahead of the curve and maintaining a competitive edge. For more information, visit Kelley Blue Book

Vehicle inventory recently hit historic lows. Consumers who wanted to buy new cars certainly felt the squeeze. However, those who work within the industry took the biggest hit. Far too many dealerships were unprepared because they didn’t utilize many of the best practices for auto inventory sourcing and procurement. This was disastrous for some.  

Now more than ever, car dealers have a unique opportunity to implement inventory management strategies that can benefit them now and in the event of another industry interruption. Integrate these into your normal operations, and you’ll quickly see results.  

1. Use fixed ops in auto inventory sourcing 

Many dealers fall into the trap of thinking that best practices for auto inventory sourcing all involve marketing. As you’ll see in the rest of this guide, this isn’t an over-the-top assumption. However, it turns out your parts and service department can also be an incredible resource. These comprise the fixed ops of a dealership, and employees in this department see a constant flow of clients.  

Dealers already understand how essential parts and service departments are. The National Automobile Dealers Association says that this revenue should cover 60% of a dealership’s overall costs. Since customers who visit this department often face large repair bills, though, there’s a prime opportunity for them to “trade up” to a new vehicle.  

This is one of the best practices for auto inventory sourcing and procurement for several reasons. For instance, more people choose dealer service centers over general repair shops. Upcoming service appointments are also easier to track, so it’s simple to target clients who have high-demand vehicles. Let your service folks handle procurement for you! 

Visit our guide on Increasing Fixed Ops Revenue to learn other ways your parts and service department can help.  

2. Offer trade-in incentives 

Many of the best practices for automotive inventory sourcing have been around a long time. Offering trade-in incentives is one of them. During the recent automobile shortage, we saw this tactic escalate dramatically. Not only did more dealerships start going this route, but many got rid of nearly every discount and rebate other than trade-in bonuses.  

Just think what this means for your dealership. For every vehicle you sell off the lot, you get a new one coming through. It’s hard to envision a shortage developing in such a situation. This is why offering high-level trade-in incentives is easily one of the best practices for automotive inventory sourcing and procurement. 

3. Use data points to target priority customers 

You’ll sometimes hear marketers and executives say “data is king.” This saying is one of the truest you’ll ever hear when it comes to targeting customers. For instance, what if your collected data showed that 98% of a particular vehicle’s sales were attributable to individuals between the ages of 25 and 35? Who do you think you should target your marketing at then?  

Data is just as important when learning the best practices for automotive inventory sourcing. In this situation, procurement is less of a focus. While it’s still incredibly important, there are a variety of different procurement strategies you can use after finding autos. However, sourcing the vehicles is as simple as taking a look into your dealership’s data.  

Look for clients who meet one or more of the following criteria:  

In these situations, someone might have already considered a new car. Even if they haven’t, they’re likely at least amenable to the idea. This best practice for automotive inventory sourcing becomes even more powerful when you realize you can target certain vehicles. For instance, someone with high interest rates and an in-demand vehicle is the best of both worlds.  

Data is king, and if your dealership hasn’t yet realized that, it’s time to make a change.  

4. Utilize simple and proven acquisition tools 

Consumers prefer simplicity. Perhaps that’s why one of every three car purchases now takes place online. There’s little doubt that perusing auto selections online is far simpler than visiting multiple lots. Fortunately, there are ways to offer this ease to consumers while also improving your inventory acquisition. It all comes down to using proven tools.  

For instance, Kelley Blue Book Instant Cash Offer removes the friction associated with consumers visiting dealerships not knowing what to expect. Instead, they can get an offer redeemable from Kelley Blue Book in just minutes online. This is easily one of the best practices for auto inventory sourcing because it simplifies things for those who want to sell or trade in their vehicles.  

Of course, it offers an array of benefits for dealers as well:  

Some of the best practices for automotive inventory sourcing require hard work. After all, getting started in data management isn’t a simple process for those new to it. That’s why using proven tools that simplify tasks for both you and consumers is ideal.  

Instant Cash Offer is one of those tools, and signing up is easy and can bring quick results. This resource also comes with a variety of integrations that help in other areas — including data management — and that’s something you should look for in every dealer tool.  

Visit the Kelley Blue Book Instant Cash Offer page today to see how much more successful you can be at inventory acquisition.  

5. Let customers handle the heavy lifting 

Wouldn’t it be great if your customers could do all the hard work at your dealership? Unfortunately, there aren’t many willing to do so. What they might be amenable to, however, is recommending your dealership to others. This is more than just one of the best practices for automotive inventory sourcing and procurement. Customer referrals are the backbone of many industries.  

In a perfect world, happy customers would simply tell others about the great deal they got. This would convince their friends and family to visit your dealership when the time came to buy, sell or trade in a vehicle. Since it doesn’t always work like that, though, consider offering incentives to customers who get others to trade in or sell their vehicle to you.  

Many of the best practices for automotive inventory sourcing involve getting the word out. Offering customer incentives is no different. By putting your customers to work for your dealership — particularly after they’ve sold a vehicle to you — you can make money on each client multiple times.  

Use these best practices for auto inventory sourcing today 

Auto sales and inventory will eventually bounce back. It’s important not to forget, however, the lessons learned from the vehicle inventory shortage. For one, such a move would leave you unprepared if similar problems arose in the future. More importantly, maintaining appropriate inventory levels can help your dealership succeed even when a pandemic isn’t going on.  

Kelley Blue Book can help you in this endeavor. In addition to our Instant Cash Offer tool — easily one of the best practices for automotive inventory sourcing — our blog also offers a wealth of knowledge completely free of charge. The strategies provided in these pages can take your dealership to the next level. Visit our blog today to learn more. 

There was a time when advertising a car dealership meant putting up billboards and running radio ads. As the technology evolved, however, promotional strategies became far more complex. One area that typically causes the most confusion is social media strategies for car dealerships. With just a little hard work, though, it’s easy to excel in this area. 

Why is this important? It’s because social media is now the number-one way businesses connect with consumers. Unfortunately, about half of brands say the top social platforms are only “somewhat effective” for promoting their business. This doesn’t mean social media strategies for car dealerships aren’t adequate — it simply means many dealers need guidance. 

This guide provides exactly that. Whether you’re trying to improve sales or beef up your inventory acquisition program, the best social media marketing strategies for car dealerships can help.  

The best social media platforms for car dealerships 

Do you know the best social media platforms for car dealers? If you ask some dealers, they’d answer “all of them.” This is certainly a bold and motivated position, but there are more than 250 social platforms currently in existence. Even if you only focused on the most popular, you’d still be wasting resources with some social media strategies for car dealerships.  

This is because not every platform is ideal for every type of auto marketing. TikTok may not be effective at improving inventory acquisition by getting customers to trade in their vehicles — and Twitter might not be ideal for short-form videos (yet). Because of this reality, it’s best to focus on the following platforms when building social media strategies for car dealerships.  

Facebook for wide reach  

Facebook boasts over 2.8 billion users around the world. This makes it one of the best social media platforms for car dealerships. Whether your focus is bringing in new inventory, getting clients to schedule service or unloading all your fall inventory — most of the folks you’re targeting are on Facebook.  

This platform is great for just about every form of content and the audience targeting tools make it easy to market to specific demographics. You’ll also have access to data that can improve your marketing endeavors.  

View the Data First guide on Kelley Blue Book to see how this can help. 

Twitter to share useful content  

While Facebook may hold the top spot for deploying social media strategies for car dealerships, Twitter isn’t far behind. The latest research on this platform found that it contributes to more than $700 million in yearly auto sales. Use Twitter to share blogs, articles and visual content geared toward the car buying experience.  

Instagram to connect with younger audiences 

Millennials are leaving Facebook in droves for Instagram. While the latter platform isn’t at the top of the social mountain, it does offer a great chance to reach young adults. Pictures and videos are the name of the game on Instagram.  

Sharing images of cars in beautiful destinations will appeal to the adventurous. Conversely, videos of customers getting a check for a trade-in will make the “hustle generation” take notice — especially if you include a caption explaining how easy the Kelley Blue Book Instant Cash Offer program makes the process. There’s no shortage of great Instagram social media strategies for car dealerships.  

YouTube to showcase video content 

YouTube is one of the best social platforms for selling vehicles. This is where you should put all your video content. Those in the market to buy cars will want videos that discuss safety features, comparisons and connected devices. Walkarounds are also vital tools to appeal to customers. And while folks are gaining insight from your videos, it doesn’t hurt to announce a trade-in offer to help with inventory acquisition.  

LinkedIn to reach a professional audience 

You can share any type of content on LinkedIn, but it’s best if you’re targeting potential fleet customers or a professional audience. Most people use this platform for business purposes, but if you offer luxury vehicles or fleet services, you can find your audience on LinkedIn.  

Pinterest to further expand reach 

Many people don’t think of Pinterest when considering social media strategies for car dealerships. This is a mistake. This platform centers mostly on visual content, but it can also boost your search ranking if you include links to blogs, landing pages and inventory photos. 

This is also a great opportunity to utilize specific marketing tactics that target females, as they make up most of the users on Instagram — and they’re also involved in 85 percent of all car-buying decisions.  

Best social media strategies for car dealerships 

Recognizing which platforms to use for specific marketing strategies is a great start. Unfortunately, this isn’t all you need to know. After all, simplifying trade-in deals with the Kelley Blue Book Instant Cash Offer program and knowing the best platform to promote it doesn’t magically mean your content will appeal to potential clients.  

The following strategies are how you accomplish this. You can use these across all social media platforms for car dealers. This means that—even if you’re using sites not mentioned on this list—these tips can help you appeal to those in the market to buy, sell, trade-in or even those who just need an oil change.  

1. Automate social media strategies  

There are many things you can’t automate—ranging from auto service and repair to pre-delivery inspections—but posting to social media platforms for car dealers isn’t one of them. The following automation tools will help you schedule your posts well in advance so your marketing strategies don’t falter when you have a particularly busy day: 

2. Tell stories on social media platforms  

Whether a marketer is promoting a breakout pop star or crafting new social media strategies for car dealerships, they’ll often swear by the phrase, “content is king.” This is very true. People seek out valuable and engaging content, but storytelling has also become an integral part of any effective promotional endeavor.  

By including storytelling in addition to typical marketing tactics, you’ll humanize your brand and build a connection with potential customers. Share images of your employees taking part in charitable events or post videos of your staff conversing with clients. 

Anything you can do to show real people work at your dealership will appeal to viewers. 

3. Include customers in your social media posts 

Any business can claim that they take customer support seriously. If you can show consumers real examples of this, however, they’ll know it’s more than just talk on your part. Consider posting videos and images of your customers — with their permission, of course — to drive up engagement.  

There are many ways you can do this. For instance, improve your inventory acquisition marketing with a video testimonial from an excited customer who just received their check. You could also post an image along with a customer’s unique story of why they chose to buy from you.  

The possibilities are endless.  

4. Engage your followers 

Even the most effective social media strategies for car dealerships can falter without engagement. Sure, this means posting engaging content is a top priority. Unfortunately, that’s not quite enough. You also need to engage your followers after the fact.  

How do you do this? It’s simple: respond and converse. Don’t let a comment on your post go by without a response. Don’t make a customer who posted to your wall feel unappreciated by not commenting. It takes a bit of work, but keeping the conversation going increases your visibility. 

5. Provide content that offers value 

Your social media profiles need to remain active and up to date. It’s important to remember, though, that simply posting isn’t enough. You need to share content that provides value to succeed.  

This means providing your followers with something they can use. A blog centered on car buying tips is a great idea. A how-to video on getting an offer through the Kelley Blue Book Instant Cash Offer program is another prime example. Even a photo gallery of new vehicles in your inventory provides value to someone.  

The simple fact is this: you will get no value on social media platforms for car dealerships if you’re not offering value to those who see it.  

Now’s the time to put social media strategies to work 

Whether you’re actively seeking new inventory or simply trying to take advantage of high demand, social media is key to helping your dealership succeed. While this may seem like a major investment upfront, there’s no denying that effective marketing on social platforms offers a great return on investment. It all comes down to persistence and making the right decisions. 

Over the last couple of years, the car buyer’s journey has drastically changed. With a myriad of automotive research websites and tools now available, buyers are no longer confined to just a few sources when it comes time to buy their next car. With increased options and opportunities for customers, you must find a way to separate yourself from the rest. 

According to Deloitte’s Global Automotive Consumer Study, 78 percent of current vehicle purchasers consider the customer experience “somewhat important” or “very important.” Dealerships that don’t mesh their sales processes risk losing automobile consumers to competitors that do. To adequately meet customers’ needs, it is imperative that you correctly understand the car buyer’s journey. 

Before you can begin increasing sales, you must ask yourself, how do people shop for a car in 2022? 

Step 1: Car discovery 

The first part of the car buyer’s journey is to realize that they need or want a new vehicle. 

The car discovery phase usually consists of car buyers in the market for a new car and are starting their research. 

During this phase, car buyers look for general information about vehicles and what is available. They may also be considering specific makes and models that they are interested in. 

To reach these car buyers, you need to ensure your dealership’s website is up-to-date with the latest models and that you have an active social media presence. It would help if you also considered advertising such as search engine optimization (SEO) or pay-per-click (PPC) campaigns. 

It’s important to note that car discovery doesn’t just refer to people buying their first car – it includes those who are replacing a vehicle they currently own and those who are upgrading to a newer model. 

There are many different ways to reach a customer at this stage. Some of those employ a mix of digital and traditional marketing methods. 

In terms of digital marketing, using a company such as Kelley Blue Book can significantly help your dealership become top of mind in this stage of the car buyer’s journey. Kelley Blue Book offers advanced ads designed to reach customers who match the perfect demographic for your ideal clients. Kelley Blue Book provides multiple advertising types: advanced ads, alpha elite ads, eLot ads, dealer showcases, and spotlight ads. 

For customers looking to replace their car, Kelley Blue Books Trade-In Advisor can be a valuable resource to show car buyers the potential value of their vehicle. This allows them to make a more informed decision when car shopping. This also will enable dealers to gain more inventory as people trade in their cars for a new one. 

Step 2: Car research 

After the buyer has realized they need or want a new car, the next step is to research different makes and models. This can be done in various ways, but your dealership must be easily accessible online and offline. 

Car buyers are likely to visit your website, read online reviews, and check out prices at other dealerships. They may also take a test drive or look at financing options. 

To make sure you’re reaching as many car buyers as possible during this phase, you must have a robust digital marketing presence. This includes having a well-designed website that is easy to navigate, SEO-optimized content, and social media profiles that are regularly updated. You should also be actively engaged in online review sites such as Yelp and Google My Business. 

Having the proper inventory in stock is also a great way to win a sale. When clients are in the research phase, they are likely looking at a specific make and model. If you don’t have that car in stock, they will be more likely to buy from a dealership that does. 

Kelley Blue Book can not only help you acquire more inventory, but it can also help incentivize potential car buyers to purchase from your dealership through its Instant Cash Offer. This tool is what your dealership needs to draw in more inventory and close more sales. 

Instant Cash Offer can easily be added to your website and is a great way to stand out when potential clients are conducting research on your website. 

Step 3: Point of purchase 

The next step in the car buyer’s journey is to decide on the vehicle they want to purchase. This is typically done when the buyer is at the dealership. 

At this stage of the car buyer’s journey, customers are looking to buy and narrow their choices to a few specific vehicles. They may also be considering financing or leasing a car. 

Your dealership must have an efficient sales process in place to make the sale. You should also ensure a wide selection of cars available for test drives. This means it is essential to focus on acquiring inventory for your customers.  

It’s also essential to have knowledgeable staff who can answer any questions potential car buyers may have. 

Various management tools and software can help you track and manage clients that come to your dealership. With higher turnover rates in car sales, dealerships can gain more data on which cars are selling to their demographic, and this gives a clear idea of which makes and models to acquire when acquiring more inventory. 

Step 4: Vehicle purchase 

The fourth step in the car buyer’s journey is to purchase! While step three involves narrowing down and test driving the vehicle, that is far from a purchase. In this stage, it is your job to ensure the customer is satisfied and that their questions have been answered. 

This is also the most challenging step in the car buyer’s journey for a dealership! Purchasing a vehicle is a big decision for a customer, and there are multiple criteria that your dealership must meet to close the sale. Some of those include price, financing, and trade-in value. 

The car buyer’s journey is not complete until they have successfully purchased a car! Kelley Blue book will help ensure that your dealership is successful in every stage of the car buyer’s journey. 

Step 5: Customer follow-up 

Once the customer purchases their vehicle of choice, the car buyer’s journey is not yet over. Customer service is more important than ever before. You must have a system in place for customer follow-up. This can include automated emails, text messages, or phone calls. 

Kelley Blue Book offers a variety of tools to help you improve your customer service. These tools include car buying guides, car care resources, and even tools to help consumers schedule service. 

Down the road, when customers would like to exchange for a new car, upgrade, or sell their vehicle back to the dealership, they will remember how you treated them during their initial car buying process. This can help dealers increase sales with new purchases and regain inventory from trade backs or buybacks. 

Summary 

Understanding the car buyers’ journey is one of the best ways for your dealership to increase its sales in 2022. 

The ways of traditional purchasing are becoming more obsolete, and customers are looking for simple and convenient ways to buy a car. 

Kelley Blue Book can help you reach these potential customers with a suite of products and services that cater to each step of the car buyer’s journey. Kelley Blue Book has you covered, from market research and lead generation to sales optimization and customer service follow-up.  

It’s important to make your dealership’s trade-in program as simple as possible, and personalization can help in this process. Offering simplicity has always been necessary, but during the most recent inventory shortage, it became absolutely essential. Unfortunately, many dealerships overlook how important personalizing the car trading experience is in the process. This can be a major hurdle to inventory acquisition.  

Luckily, this isn’t a shortcoming you have to live with. By simply taking a few proactive steps, dealerships can make their trade-in process easier and more appealing for customers. In addition to helping build inventory, personalization will also benefit your overall sales and brand reputation. Personalizing the car trading experience may be the best thing you ever do for your dealership. 

Simplifying the car trading process 

When you personalize the car trade-in experience, you can greatly increase your ability to maintain inventory. All the personal touches in the world mean nothing, however, if you’re not also providing a simplified process. The fact is that 25% of consumers are willing to switch auto brands to get what they want, and a fair and simple deal on their trade-in falls into this category. 

Before you dive into the task of personalizing the car trading experience, ask yourself if you’re offering a simple process for your customers. This can be a difficult question to answer since simple is a subjective term. By utilizing the following strategies, though, you can remove complications from the entire trade-in procedure. 

Make the process easy to understand 

A chief complaint among consumers trying to trade in their vehicle is that they don’t understand the process. It’s not that trading in a vehicle is inherently complicated, but there is no uniform procedure used by dealerships across the country. If you’re trying to create a personalized car trading experience, you must first start by ensuring your customers know what’s going on.  

The easiest way to do this is to use simple and clear language. Take time to break down the process step by step. You can even fully explain it on your website so anyone trying to trade in or sell their vehicle knows exactly what to expect before ever coming to the dealership. And by using tools like Kelley Blue Book Instant Cash Offer, consumers will have all the information they need before ever visiting.   

Offer tools to simplify the process 

The Kelley Blue Book Instant Cash Offer program does much more than just prepare consumers before they come to your dealership. It also allows them to enter all their information from the comfort of their homes. This helps customers find the value of their car for a redeemable offer — with minimal effort on their part — that lasts for seven days.  

While this adds to the simplified and personalized car trading experience, it also makes the job of the dealership much easier. The friction that’s typical of the trade-in process is removed entirely since everything gets done digitally. The offer is also backed by Kelley Blue Book. Once you accept a vehicle, you can choose to put it on your lot or sell it to our partner for full trade-in value. 

Make scheduling an appointment easy 

If someone calls your dealership interested in selling or trading in a vehicle, it’s simple to provide them with the right information. In a world where the overwhelming majority of consumers visit websites before ever contacting a company, though, you want to make sure they can do as much on your company’s page as possible.  

This is why you should put “Sell My Car” and “Trade In My Car” links in obvious places on your website. Don’t hide these links in hierarchical navigation menus — although you should also feature them there.  

Make an offer during service and maintenance  

Even when there’s a shortage of automobiles in the market, dealerships can still make money through their fixed operations. While this is beneficial for both dealers and their clients, it also offers the opportunity to simplify trading in a vehicle. Once the mechanics have finished up with a customer’s car, it’s simple to make an offer right on the spot.  

This can be a powerful moment for a personalized car trading experience. Dealer reps already know what type of vehicle the person enjoys, and they’ve likely had conversations about what the customer doesn’t like about their car. This information can prove invaluable if there’s something in inventory that would meet the needs of the service client.  

Check out our Fixed Operations Blog for other ideas on how your service department can work magic.  

Personalizing the car trading experience  

As long as your dealership utilizes the above strategies, you’ve done almost everything possible to simplify the trade-in process. This is typically enough for many dealerships, but the shortage that began during the pandemic proved more is needed. Customers looking to trade in their vehicles are in the metaphorical driver’s seat, so you have to stand out.  

You can accomplish this by personalizing the car trading experience. There are plenty of ways to do this — some more effective than others. The following strategies are those which have proven successful both before and during the vehicle shortage. In short, there’s no reason to think such approaches won’t continue to work in the future.  

Adapt to the customer’s schedule 

One of the most important things you can do to personalize the car trade-in experience is to work on the customer’s schedule. The pandemic changed nearly everyone’s daily routine. The end of the pandemic may alter a lot of things, but most people’s new routines would not. Individuals found freedom in having flexible schedules.  

It’s imperative that you personalize the car trading experience with this in mind. If a customer can only come in during the morning, make sure someone can see them. If they can’t arrive until 30 minutes after the dealership closes, consider bending the rules a bit. Trade-in personalization means respecting a client’s unique time constraints.  

Put more of the process online  

Dealers who focus on personalizing the car trading experience often dwell too much on active measures they can take. It’s important to remember, however, that it’s clients themselves who can best personalize their experience. By utilizing online tools like 360° walkarounds and the Kelley Blue Book Instant Cash Offer program, you can let customers create their own experience. Consumers can also upload up to six images of their vehicle, so this makes the entire process more transparent on all sides.  

Utilize social media targeting 

If you’re vigilant about your dealership’s social media presence, you’re ahead of the game compared to some car sellers. Targeted social media marketing is one tool, though, that even the most attentive professionals sometimes overlook.  

With platforms like Facebook and Twitter, you can do more than just “boost” individual posts. You can literally target specific demographics — including age, gender, geographic location, income level, and more — in order to personalize the car trading experience.  

After all, having a traditional SUV owner see your trade-in deals doesn’t accomplish much if your dealership sells luxury vehicles.  

Know your customer’s personal situation 

It may seem tempting to get customers in and out of your dealership as quickly as possible during an inventory shortage. After all, it’s difficult to even keep vehicles on the lot. If someone walks away with their trade-in to consider their purchase options, there’s a good possibility that someone else will swoop in and buy the vehicle they were looking at.  

Even with this being the case, salespeople should still get to know every potential customer’s personal situation. Not only is this essential for personalizing the car trading experience, but it will provide invaluable information you can use to point the customer toward a new vehicle if necessary. 

If the vehicle they want gets sold, though, make sure you openly communicate. If they decide to trade in a vehicle for something you had on the lot, it can be a rude awakening if they show up and it’s gone. Let them know this is a possibility so they don’t feel blindsided, and give them a call if someone does buy the vehicle. This will help maintain the relationship. 

Start offering a personalized car trading experience today 

Whether the auto market reaches normalcy or continues experiencing supply crunches, the fundamentals never really change. When inventory acquisition becomes as important as it did during the pandemic, though, those fundamentals became far more important. Fortunately, everything you’ve learned in this guide focuses specifically on improving in this area.  

At Kelley Blue Book, we do more than just provide market prices to consumers. We also strive to help dealerships become as profitable as possible. We’re happy to offer a variety of tools to help simplify and personalize the car trading experience — including resources that bring transaction-ready consumers right to your lot! 

The Kelley Blue Book Instant Cash Offer tool is one great way to improve personalization, so take the time to learn how this tool can help your dealership trade-in program today.  

There are a myriad of tools that can help dealerships succeed. From augmented reality showrooms to virtual test drives, tech has surely done some amazing things within the auto industry. Without proper promotion, though, these resources are meaningless. This is why utilizing effective car dealership marketing is essential.  

Unfortunately, the old way of advertising simply doesn’t cut it anymore. Radio ads and billboards once worked wonders for everything from selling cars to inventory acquisition, but things have changed as consumers have evolved. Luckily, the same fundamentals still apply.  

Each of the following strategies takes these fundamentals into account to make marketing your business a simpler task.  

1. Create an engaging website with solid content 

Car manufacturers have long recognized the importance of an online presence. If you run a small local dealership, though, you may not think there’s a necessity. This couldn’t be more wrong. In recent years, one-third of auto sales have taken place online. Even if you can’t sell online yet, customers are visiting your website before choosing to buy.  

This means you must provide easily navigable pages with engaging content that offers value. This can include images of your inventory, 360-degree virtual walkarounds, a step-by-step trade-in process with Kelley Blue Book Instant Cash Offer, how-to maintenance videos and more.  

This car dealership marketing tip will do more than just bring folks to your website. You’ll also rank higher on Google when people spend more time on your page. Your website should also have the following:  

Each of these falls under the umbrella of essential car dealership marketing tips. The final listed point, however, is particularly important. People think buying a vehicle is complicated, so you need to make it as easy as possible for them. Offer step-by-step guidance on what someone can expect when they visit your dealership. This is important whether you’re trying to sell a vehicle or buy one to improve inventory acquisition. 

You can also provide tools that simplify these processes. For instance, featuring the Kelley Blue Book Instant Cash Offer tool on your website can prove invaluable. It walks consumers through the process of getting a trade-in offer — sometimes before they even know which car they want to buy. Simplifying the lives of consumers is the best car dealership marketing tip out there. 

2. Run social media campaigns  

Although having a great website is an essential task, it cannot be your only online presence. Platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram have also become increasingly important. Many guides on car dealership marketing tips focus entirely on social media promotion. This isn’t surprising, since over 3.6 billion people use such platforms.  

Unfortunately, this isn’t “set it and forget it” marketing. You can’t simply create a page on a social platform and just leave it to sit. If someone comes across your social media pages and there are no recent updates, they may very well believe you’re no longer in business. This can negatively affect your fixed costs, new car sales and ability to acquire new inventory.  

Keeping these pages up to date is one of the best car dealership marketing tips we can offer. What should you post? The following content types consistently prove effective for auto dealers:  

These car dealership marketing tips for social platforms are essential, but this list is far from exhaustive. The right posts could also vary based on what you’re trying to accomplish. During a supply crunch, for instance, it’s smart to create a customer appreciation post for someone who traded in a nice vehicle. This lets you celebrate your clients and provides an opportunity to discuss how easy the process is with Instant Cash Offer.  

Your goal should be to take the basics and apply them to your unique situation. As a local dealer, you will face different challenges than other dealerships, but if you stick with the fundamentals, you’ll succeed.  

3. Don’t overlook paid media 

If you keep looking online for car dealership marketing tips — or tips in really any industry — you’ll repeatedly come across the term organic marketing. This form of promotion includes strategies where you’re not paying to have content seen. This is a great approach, but don’t fall into the trap of thinking paid media can’t be beneficial.  

Paid media is a form of marketing that involves paying to promote content. This can include social media ads, branded content, sponsored placement on Google and a variety of other approaches. Yes, consumers would be able to find your business easily in a perfect world. In some situations, though, it’s necessary to give your brand a boost.  

There is one significant benefit to this approach: it saves time. While many of the best car dealership marketing tips will build brand awareness over time, a paid ad can immediately put your local car lot in front of consumers online and on other platforms.  

4. Send out email blasts  

As technology progresses, many marketing tools get left behind. While strategies like newspaper ads and billboards are certainly still in use, there’s no denying that they’re less effective than in the past. Some people believe email has already gone in this direction, but in reality, it’s still one of the best car dealership marketing tips we can offer.  

You still check your email every single day, right? We know that because almost everyone does. You can also bet your bottom dollar that folks researching cars online are keeping track of their inbox. This makes sending out email blasts a necessary step in promoting your local dealership. This is the case even if you think you don’t have anything to say.  

For instance, consider the vehicle shortage during the pandemic. If you don’t have any vehicles on the lot, any recommendation to send out a “Come buy a car” email would be a less than ideal car dealership marketing tip. Of course, sending out a trade-in promotion or an offer to buy a customer’s car via email would make sense from an inventory acquisition standpoint.  

If you’re going this route, make sure to check out Kelley Blue Book’s Inventory Acquisition Resources.  

5. Automate every car dealership marketing tip 

One of the most common excuses for not marketing a car dealership is “I’m too busy.” You’ll hear this excuse across many industries. There’s no denying that effectively promoting a local dealership — especially if you’re up against international brands — requires a time commitment on your part. Fortunately, you can automate many of the tools you need.  

For instance, remember how important we made email sound as a car dealership marketing tip? Several online resources allow you to automate these and schedule them far in advance. Mailchimp, Autopilot, SendinBlue and HubSpot are just a few of the most popular options. Here are some non-email tools that automate other marketing processes:  

If you’ve ever thought implementing car dealership marketing tips would take up too much time, these tools may be the answer to your concerns. The best part is that many of these resources offer free versions of their services. This means even small local dealerships can get started on improving their marketing strategy. 

And, if the point comes when you need a paid version of these programs, it simply means your success has outgrown your expectations. That’s a good problem to have! 

Take these car dealership marketing tips seriously! 

Effectively marketing a car dealership takes commitment, but it doesn’t have to be all-consuming. The strategies discussed in this guide are meant to simplify the process. While there are countless other resources and strategies available, these will give you the biggest results for the effort expended. Having the right tools on your side can do wonders.  

Providing those tools is what we’re committed to at Kelley Blue Book. In addition to offering car dealership marketing tips and other promotional resources, we also supply an array of products geared toward increasing profit. Whether your goal is to improve sales, fixed costs or inventory acquisition, you’ll find everything you need with Kelley Blue Book.  

Inventory acquisition is critical for a strong start to the year, especially with today’s supply chain constraints. Tax season is upon us and spring is around the corner. If history is a reliable guide, sales are about to pick up quickly. Have you got the inventory you need for the spring buying season?  

Acquiring more inventory for your dealership in 2022 

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The inventory shortage advantage 

On the surface, it appeared that the automobile inventory shortage resulting from new security measures and shipping concerns might wreak havoc on car dealerships in 2021. The numbers, however, tell quite a different story. Through July of 2021, car dealerships pulled in a reported $42 million, and those figures reflected an increase compared to the $36 million in sales during the same period the previous year. 

This year, with vehicle inventory still tight, effective vehicle acquisition will be the key to profitable sales. Fortunately, we’ve got some tips for you. 

How to acquire more inventory for your dealership 

The good news is cars are flying off of lots as we have rarely seen before. The bad news is many dealerships can’t keep up and can’t keep inventory.  

One of the most effective approaches to keeping your inventory full is to employ multiple inventory acquisition techniques. The more avenues of acquisition a dealership can use, the better because the old problem of too much inventory is of little concern in today’s market. 

Don’t forego the means of traditional inventory acquisition.  

While manufacturers struggle to meet demand, face security shipping delays, and a myriad of other related issues, dealerships have felt the strain. Many dealerships report vehicles arriving, but they aren’t ready to move. Others are simply not getting orders met, and some have even experienced months-long delays.   

Although car dealerships have no recourse to remedy this problem, it is still essential for dealerships to maintain the pipeline of inventory acquisition.  

Creating a diversified sourcing strategy doesn’t omit traditional inventory acquisition methods; it merely means adding to them. That also means continuing to use traditional techniques such as wholesale auctions. From here, dealerships will need to utilize new strategies, processes, and technology.  

Inventory is the lifeblood of the dealership, and dealers must find unique ways to acquire good car inventory.” 

– Randy Kobat, Vice President of Operations for Inventory Management Solutions at Cox Automotive 

Using new strategies to acquire more inventory for your dealership 

More car shoppers are taking to online avenues to find, search, and even purchase their next vehicle. Using your website for more than a marketing medium can offer inroads to help acquire more inventory for your dealership. Engaging with customers and potential customers can position your dealership to find and procure more quality inventory throughout the year. 

Here are some innovative ways that you can acquire more inventory for your dealership in 2022: 

1. Create sales events 

Creating sales events and connecting with consumers outside of traditional dealership channels will provide more options to acquire more inventory for your dealership. Car shoppers ready to buy are one of the most viable resources for adding quality vehicles to your existing vehicle inventory. These are routes that Kelley Blue Book can assist your dealerships with to ensure your vehicle inventory is maximized. 

Here are some ways you can promote your sales events: 

2. Using tech and data solutions to acquire more inventory 

Technology has become an essential tool for many car dealerships. These tools aid dealerships in defining and establishing a consistent appraisal process, and they enable dealerships to offer online appraisals and much more. 

One way to collect more data on your customers is implementing a CRM. CRM’s collect and store customer data to make better-informed decisions on purchasing behavior. 

Another strategy is implementing the Kelley Blue Book price advisor on your website. This will allow customers and clients to see the vehicles listed below market value, leading to an increase in sales. 

3. Present fair and transparent offers

In Missouri, the General Manager of Chuck Anderson Ford was cited saying, “You make money when you buy a car, not when you sell it.” That truth is most evident when working with customer purchases and trade-ins. This is where the Kelley Blue Book Instant Cash Offer tool can make a difference and afford dealerships more opportunities to improve inventory acquisition numbers. 

Kelley Blue book helps dealers build trust by providing a transparent experience, instilling confidence in consumers. This trust and transparency can help to close more deals and acquire additional inventory.  

Ensuring your inventory is full  

Having a complete inventory and a substantial selection of vehicles is the lifeblood of every car dealership. Contact Kelley Blue Book to learn more about how to acquire more inventory for your dealership, not just today, but every time there is an opportunity.  

Selling cars is the goal of every dealership, and that begins with your vehicle acquisition strategy and practices.  

Are you looking to join the most anticipated auto show of 2022? Look no further! NADA Show is the place for you. Held every year, this event brings together dealers, suppliers, and many other industry professionals under one roof. With thousands of attendees and more than 550 participating companies, NADA Show is the perfect place to learn about the latest industry trends, make new connections, and get inspired. It’s hosted by the National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA) and set to take place at the Las Vegas Convention Center on March 10–13, 2022. If you’re looking to stay ahead of the automotive industry curve, you need to be at NADA Show 2022. This article will give you a sneak peek of what to expect at the show. 

What is NADA Show? 

This event is one of the largest gatherings of dealers, suppliers, and other industry professionals in North America. Among the attractions at NADA Show, Kelley Blue Book is excited to once again be an exhibitor at the show. As a leading authority on automotive values and trends, Kelley Blue Book will offer live demonstrations of its industry-leading tools and services. 

Registration is now open 

If you’re planning on attending NADA Show 2022, make sure to register now. Registration rates start at around $580 and may differ depending on your role in the automotive industry. 

What to expect at NADA Show 2022 

Now that you know what NADA Show 2022 is and when it’s taking place, let’s look at some of the things you can expect. 

One of the biggest attractions of the NADA Show is the exhibit hall. This year, over 550 companies will participate in the show, so there will be plenty of products and services to check out. In addition, there will be several keynote speeches and panel discussions from industry leaders covering topics like dealerships of the future, sales and marketing strategies, and more. If you’re looking for some inspiration, this is the place to find it. 

NADA Show 2022 is a jam-packed event with something for everyone. Here are just a few of the things you can expect: 

Keynote speeches from industry leaders - Get insights from some of the biggest names in the automotive industry. 

The exhibit hall - Check out the latest products and services from 550+ companies. 

Networking events - Get to know your fellow dealers and suppliers in a more informal setting. 

Lab sessions – Catch short 20-minute TED-style talks on the latest industry trends. 

Dealer franchise meetings - Meet with the franchisors of your choice to learn more about their dealership models. 

Who should attend? 

Many different people attend NADA Show 2022, but it’s especially beneficial for the following groups: 

DealersDealers are always looking for new products and services to offer their customers, and NADA Show is the perfect place to find them. This is also an excellent opportunity to network with other dealers and learn from their experiences. 

SuppliersSuppliers can expect to meet potential buyers from all over North America at NADA Show. It’s the perfect opportunity to showcase your latest products and services, build relationships with dealers, and get feedback on your offerings. 

Service providers – If you’re a service provider, NADA Show is the place to be. This is your chance to connect with dealers and learn about their needs. You can also promote your services and build relationships that lead to future business opportunities. 

General management – If you’re in a general management position, NADA Show is an excellent opportunity to learn about the latest trends in the automotive industry. You can also network with other professionals and gain insight into how dealers operate. 

Marketing and sales – If you’re in marketing or sales, NADA Show is where you want to be. This is your chance to learn about the latest strategies and tactics working for dealers. You can also meet potential clients and partners at the show. 

Finance and insurance professionalsFinance and insurance are two critical aspects of the automotive industry. If you’re in this field and have financial instruments or products that you want to promote, consider getting a booth at the show. 

Digital professionals – If you’re in digital media, NADA Show can put you in front of those you need to meet. Content creation, social media, and website design are essential aspects of automotive marketing. You can either learn from the experts at NADA Show or show off your skills to potential clients. 

Body shop professionals – If you’re in the body shop business, NADA Show is an excellent opportunity to meet with suppliers and discuss potential partnerships. 

Exhibitors you will find at the show 

There are many different kinds of exhibitors at the NADA Show 2022. Some exhibitors at the show include: 

Cox Automotive 

Cox Automotive is a leading provider of automotive services and products. They offer a variety of solutions for dealers, including advertising, software, and inventory management. 

What Cox Automotive offers: 

Marketing: Cox Automotive provides various marketing solutions, including digital marketing, SEO, and more. Cox provides a proprietary data platform that gives dealers access to rich customer data. They also offer the opportunity to build a digital showroom that can be used to increase leads and sales. 

Software: Cox Automotive offers a suite of software products that help dealers manage their operations more efficiently. This includes a CRM and DMS. A CRM allows dealers to manage customer relationships, while a DMS helps dealers manage their inventory. 

Sales services: Cox Automotive also offers sales services to dealers. This includes eCommerce solutions, digital retailing, and more. With these services, dealers can quickly sell their products and services online. 

Kelley Blue Book 

For generations, Kelley Blue Book has been the industry-standard for trust and transparency providing vehicle valuations, expert ratings and reviews and editorial content.  

What Kelley Blue Book offers: 

Inventory acquisition: Kelley Blue Book Instant Cash Offer allows dealers to acquire more inventory by buying cars from consumers. This gives dealers access to more vehicles without going through an auction or other selling process. Sellers need to input information about their car on Kelley Blue Book’s website, and they will get an offer for the car. 

Improve your bottom line: Kelley Blue Book’s online inventory solutions like Trade-In Advisor help dealers improve their bottom line. Kelley Blue Book offers a variety of pricing tools that allow dealers to get the best prices for their vehicles. 

More leads: Kelley Blue Book’s solutions also help dealers reach more leads. Use tools like LeadDriver to capture more lead information and increase your sales pipeline. In addition, you can also enhance your vehicle listings with more information, photos, and prices to be more transparent and attract more buyers. 

How to get the most out of your experience at the show 

Attend the right sessions: When you attend a trade show, it’s essential to participate in the relevant sessions for your business. At NADA Show 2022, there are a variety of sessions that will help you learn about new technologies, trends, and best practices. A list of the daily speakers can be found here. 

Network with other exhibitors: Another great way to get the most out of your experience is to network with other exhibitors. This allows you to exchange ideas and learn from each other. You can also find potential partners and clients at the show. A list of the exhibitors can be found here. 

Lab sessions: If you’re looking to learn more about a specific topic, consider attending one of the lab sessions. These sessions act as 20 minute TED talk-style presentations that will help you learn about various topics. A list of the lab sessions can be found here. 

Conclusion 

NADA Show 2022 is the perfect place to learn about new technologies, trends, and best practices in the automotive industry. Make sure to attend the proper sessions and network with other exhibitors to get the most out of your experience. It’s essential to have a goal for the show and be prepared before you attend. There are hundreds of exhibitors and many speaking events you may miss if you don’t plan. 

The Kelley Blue Book booth is always a popular stop for attendees at NADA Show 2022. This year, they are focusing on online inventory solutions that will help dealers improve their bottom line. Schedule a demo here to learn more about the Kelley Blue Book platform before the show. 

 

If you’re in the business of buying and selling vehicles, you’ve no doubt felt the squeeze of the auto inventory shortage. New vehicles simply aren’t available due to a chip shortage, and this has driven demand for used automobiles through the roof. Of course, this means they’re in short supply as well. So, what are car dealers doing to survive the current shortage?  

Unfortunately, not all of them are surviving. Many smaller dealerships have gone out of business due to the shortage. Most car lots have managed to get by, but very few are thriving without taking proactive measures. Luckily, there are many of these measures available. If you use a few simple strategies, the vehicle inventory shortage may become a non-factor for your dealership. 

Increased focus on fixed operations 

Not every approach for dealing with vehicle shortages will involve increased inventory. The primary goal is to keep revenue high, and selling vehicles isn’t the only way to accomplish this. Research found that fixed-operations departments accounted for nearly half of dealership revenue in 2017. This number has likely increased due to the current vehicle inventory shortage.  

There are a variety of ways to leverage fixed ops at a dealership. One of the primary ways is to redirect some of your marketing investment toward fixed ops campaigns. While this would typically decrease inventory visibility, the shortage makes this less of a factor. With many dealer lots sitting empty, those who want to buy a vehicle are going to find you regardless.  

Also consider advertising special offers on parts, service, and maintenance visits. This will help increase sales even during a vehicle inventory shortage. This equates to improved dealer margins and the ability to turn a profit even when you don’t have many automobiles to sell. Laying this strategic groundwork now will continue to offer benefits even when the shortage is over.  

While the shortage persists, though, you should also use your service department for inventory acquisition. Once a customer’s service appointment is complete, offering them an Instant Cash Offer is a great way to get a quality vehicle on the lot. If nothing else, service representatives can subtly communicate that you’re ready to buy whenever they’re ready to sell.  

Read our full guide on why you should Invest in Service and Repair to safeguard your dealership.  

Continued communication with clients 

Every dealer knows that client communication doesn’t stop after the sale. Once someone buys a new or used car, messaging continues via email, phone, SMS, and other methods. This could be something as simple as an oil change reminder, or it may be time to offer an existing customer an upgrade along with a great deal on their trade-in.  

Of course, the latter of these communications can be difficult during a vehicle inventory shortage. After all, what can you offer clients if you don’t have vehicles on the lot? Even so, this is no excuse to cease communications. Your customers need to know that they’re still on your mind. If you drop the ball during this time, it will be hard to pick it up when the shortage is over.  

In some instances, these communications will be nothing more than service reminders or a quick “thank you.” You can also send inventory, pre-order, and vehicle delivery status updates to clients who have expressed interest. Messaging and communication are vital for customer loyalty in every industry, and this doesn’t stop simply because there’s a vehicle inventory shortage.  

Utilize vehicle inventory acquisition technology 

The strategies discussed thus far have not focused on inventory acquisition. Still, this should be a top priority as long as the shortage persists. There are a variety of ways to do this — ranging from creating “We Buy Cars” programs to contacting private sellers.  For every acquisition approach integrating inventory acquisition technology can prove invaluable.  

By utilizing acquisition software platforms, you can automate many of your dealership’s most important processes. This is essential during a vehicle inventory shortage, and if done correctly, you may barely notice the shortage. This is essential to attract the 48 percent of consumers who decided to postpone their vehicle purchases due to the inventory shortage.  

What makes the difference is having a selection that’s more diverse than what’s offered at other dealers. This is even more important since 25 percent of people planning to buy a vehicle say they might switch brands to do so. By utilizing inventory acquisition software, you’ll simplify what could be the most essential process in the current market.  

While this shortage has led to significant changes, the fundamentals remain the same. You need customer loyalty and an impressive selection. Kelley Blue Book can help you in this process. Review our Inventory Acquisition Resources today to see how improved technology can improve your bottom line by reaching clients who are ready to sell or trade-in.  

Leave aggressive negotiations at the door  

When car sales were high, it was easy to aggressively negotiate the price of sales or trade-ins. There were plenty of cars to go around, and taking a trade-in was often just a tactic to close a sale. Thanks to the vehicle inventory shortage, though, bringing in additional inventory is an absolute necessity. This means dealers need to be more amenable in their negotiations.  

This doesn’t mean you should bend to a customer’s every demand. A shortage in inventory is no excuse to make a bad deal. Simply convey to your sales team that it’s okay to be flexible in negotiations. You don’t want prospects to go to the competition. If they can get what they want elsewhere, you should ask yourself why they can’t get it with you.  

Don’t let the auto inventory shortage cause lasting damage 

Even the most pessimistic of analysts know that the shortage of sellable vehicles will not last. Unfortunately, the damage caused by this shortage could last over the long term. Dealerships that do not properly respond to these issues may be able to scrape by, but it could prove difficult to fully recover even when things go back to normal.  

Visit our Industry Solutions page today to learn more about how Kelley Blue Book can help your dealership thrive.  

Discover new ways to grow your dealership and connect with new customers. If you’re considering a new campaign to increase your inventory and reach a new audience segment, consider offering a “We buy cars” campaign. Learn more about the benefits of car dealerships’ buy cars campaigns to see if this strategy may work for your dealership. 

Increase used car inventory 

Across the nation, dealerships sold approximately 8.3 million light-duty vehicles in the first half of 2021, according to a midyear report by the National Automobile Dealers Association. Whether you’ve seen an increase in used car sales or are struggling to keep up with sales projections, a car-buying campaign can help you acquire profitable inventory. Expanding your inventory can be a benefit whether you have a few cars or thousands across multiple locations. 

Some dealers are offering incentives to their sales team to find used cars. This aggressive strategy can increase your inventory but can take more time and can be more of an investment. A campaign offering to purchase used vehicles at your dealership may be a more convenient and effective way to increase your inventory. 

Even if you’re not dealing with the current inventory shortage, expanding your used car inventory can help you offer more options for your customers, increasing opportunities to attract new customers to your dealership. Don’t just expand your inventory, but you can utilize vAuto Provision strategy to find the most competitive vehicles for your dealership. 

Purchasing a new vehicle from a “We buy cars” campaign can also be more convenient than reaching out to customers on your service department lists or lessees. These customers may be interested in upgrading their vehicle or ending a lease early, so still reach out to these customers for diverse opportunities to build up your inventory. 

Hone your inventory options 

Not looking for a diverse range of used vehicles for your lot? A car-buying campaign can also be a competitive way to focus your inventory. Simply offer cash or trade-in value for any vehicle, and sell the vehicles you don’t want to carry wholesale. Wholesale is becoming a competitive option for dealers, as the price of used cars at auction rose more than 5% in September 2021, according to the Manheim Used Vehicle Value Index. 

Your car-buying campaign helps you increase the number of used cars coming to your location, which you can then sort through by choosing which vehicles to keep on your lot and which ones to pass on and still earn a profit. Use the increase in inventory to make decisions on trending makes and models of cars. 

Tap into a new market segment 

When car dealerships buy cars, they offer powerful incentives for new customers to connect with them. Customers who are interested in selling their vehicle may not be the same ones that are likely to visit your dealership and review your inventory. 

When you run a car-buying campaign, you can offer these new customers a cash offer and a trade-in value. As long as these offers are competitive, they can attract consumers looking to sell a used vehicle or update their current ride. 

You can benefit from both situations. If your buying campaign ends with a cash sale, then you’ve increased your inventory. A trade-in helps you diversify your inventory with a used vehicle and helps you land a sale on a new or used vehicle. 

Use the Kelley Blue Book Instant Cash Offer tool to power your car-buying campaign. This convenient tool makes it easy to offer a competitive rate for a cash or trade-in offer. You don’t need to calculate the value of a used vehicle on your own, but simply offer to buy a vehicle at the stated value of an Instant Cash Offer. 

Establish consumer trust 

As a car dealer, establishing consumer trust is essential. An aggressive sales strategy can turn away many buyers, so a car-buying campaign is a great way to incorporate a buying strategy with your sales model. Start by building a relationship with your customers and use a trade-in strategy to show that you’re interested in a mutually beneficial relationship with your customers. 

You’ll continue to promote deals on your new and used inventory, but offering cash or trade-in value for used vehicles can help change the conversation. Your customers may not feel as pressured to buy when you start the conversation with an offer to buy their vehicle. 

Using a third-party valuation tool also helps you maintain a high level of trust. When you work with a tool like Kelley Blue Book Instant Cash Offer, then you can point to a third-party price estimate as you offer a fair value for trading in or selling a vehicle. 

Consumer trust takes more than a few tools, so you should also work with your sales team to promote your car-buying campaign. Lead with an offer to inspect a vehicle for a cash offer or trade-in valuation. This lead can be a great way to start a conversation and lead a customer down the sales funnel. 

Promote trade-in opportunities 

If you’re experiencing fewer vehicle sales in recent years, then you’re not alone. There were approximately 3.4 million car sales in 2020, according to Statista. This is significantly less than the recent peak in 2016 of over 17 million vehicles. 

Some car dealerships buy cars to encourage trade-in opportunities. Use the Kelley Blue Book Trade-In Advisor to expand leads from your website using this same strategy. Customers who aren’t willing to sell their vehicle may still be interested in trading it in for a newer model. 

Trade-ins represent a significant profit for many dealers. If you aren’t promoting a trade-in model for your customers, then you could be missing out on an opportunity to earn more from each transaction. 

Trading in a used vehicle can also be a convenient option for your customers. When you sell a customer a new car without purchasing their used one, then they may try to sell it to a private party. Vehicles for sale by owner are difficult to advertise and time-consuming to sell. Be sure to mention how a trade-in can be convenient for your customers as you discuss the value of their vehicles. 

Some trade-ins are best sold at an auction, while others are suited for your lot. Both options allow you to earn a profit, so don’t let these differences hold you back from launching a car-buying campaign. Advertise your willingness to purchase used vehicles and review them on a case-by-case basis to determine the best way to sell them. 

Shift your branding focus 

You can even use your car-buying strategy as an opportunity to shift the branding focus of your dealership. Don’t just offer to purchase vehicles as an afterthought, but proudly promote this new shift in sales to your team and customers. Focus on trade-ins and other services that are beneficial for both your team and your consumers. 

A shift away from a sales model to a buying model works well with building consumer trust. This makes conversations with your sales team feel less like a sales pitch and more like an opportunity to earn money on their used vehicles. 

Expand customer testimonials 

A new customer is a new opportunity for a testimonial. Satisfied customers are great advertising, particularly as they tell their friends and family about the deal they got at your dealership. Tap into this opportunity by promoting your car-buying campaign. 

Buying a used vehicle for cash or trade-in value brings in customers who may not have otherwise visited your location or offered a testimonial. Be sure to work with your sales team to make these first impressions positive ones. This can increase your reputation in the local community and attract more leads for sales, trade-ins, or new car purchases. 

Prepare to buy used cars with Kelley Blue Book Instant Cash Offer 

From a few used trucks to a full lineup of light-duty cars, find out how you can expand your inventory, build your reputation and earn more with a car-buying campaign. See why so many car dealerships buy cars before using the Kelley Blue Book Instant Cash Offer tool to promote your own car-buying goals. Contact the team at Kelley Blue Book and read our blog to receive answers to any questions you may have about acquiring cars and using the Instant Cash Offer tool. 

Automotive marketing is a complicated and nuanced process that can be difficult for dealerships to get right. With so many channels, messages and tactics available to them, it’s easy for dealerships to spend too much time focusing on the wrong ones. But suppose you want your dealership to succeed in this competitive market. In that case, you must run an effective marketing campaign and employ the best strategies possible. In this article, we will give 11 of our favorite strategies for automotive marketers. 

1. Put together a newsletter campaign. 

Newsletters allow you to reach out directly to customers without resorting exclusively to paid advertising methods like Google Adwords and Facebook ads. You should consider using Constant Contact or SendGrid, as they both offer tools that will help you build relationships with your target market while also driving sales at the same time. 

2. Optimize your website for mobile devices and SEO rankings 

It’s no secret that mobile search is on the rise, so it’s essential to make sure your dealership has a mobile-friendly version of its site available at all times. Start by using Google Analytics to track how many visitors you get from both desktop and mobile sources. You can also use tools like Moz or SEMrush, which will help you learn more about how people find your dealership through searches online. They also help optimize various pages of your website to improve their ranking on local search results pages (SERPs). Try out different keywords and see what kinds of responses you receive before changing the actual content itself. Get creative when thinking up new titles for your site’s pages that will help them stand out when people search online. 

3. Use CRM software to increase the number of leads you generate. 

Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tools can be an incredibly effective way for dealerships to keep track of all their incoming leads, including inbound phone calls and emails. Some examples are LeadMaster or Salesforce, which will help your dealership’s marketing team stay more organized. They also provide a wide range of features that make it much easier for marketers to take action on these incoming requests at any level within your business. This is one area where investing some time into proper research could pay off big dividends down the road if implemented correctly. However, be sure not to use too many different platforms, as this can cause confusion when managing customer records across each one. 

4. Use video to market your dealership on various social media platforms. 

As consumers are increasingly flocking towards visual content providers like YouTube, Vimeo and other similar services, it’s become easier than ever before for marketers to generate new leads by using short videos which highlight certain features or benefits associated with different vehicles. Using this type of marketing strategy will allow you to get better results from each campaign instead of only relying solely upon text-based posts across Facebook, Twitter and more. If done right, this could be one strategy that drives higher engagement rates and potentially converts into additional sales down the road. 

5. Create an online community for customers and prospects 

Creating an online community or forum for all of your dealership’s consumers to discuss the various currently available vehicles is a great way to build loyalty among current customers. This type of strategy will help ensure that both existing and future clients are exposed to positive information about your business. This also helps with providing potential leads with additional opportunities to learn more about what makes you stand apart from everyone else. 

6. Evaluate ongoing performance through relevant metrics 

It can often feel like there isn’t enough time in any given day when working at a car dealership. It can be easy for marketers who aren’t used to using many data and analytics tools to overlook one of the most important aspects of any successful marketing strategy – evaluating where you’ve been to make better decisions going forward. 

One great way for dealerships to get started with this is by using software like Kelley Blue Book and Google Analytics, which will allow your business’ marketers to more easily assess what’s working well and what could be improved upon from a performance standpoint. This might include looking at everything from bounce rates on various landing pages right through referral traffic sources that are driving consumers into becoming leads in the first place. 

7. Develop your own app 

While not every dealership will have the necessary time and resources to invest in creating a full-blown custom application for their consumers, there is a lot of value from doing so. It can be an effective way to drive additional leads into your business. Apps are becoming increasingly interactive, which means that they’re much more likely to keep visitors on target regarding providing them with information about both current and upcoming vehicles available at your location. If your dealership doesn’t have the current budget to develop an app, consider using mobile platforms already built like Kelley Blue Book to showcase your inventory. 

8. Invest in marketing automation software 

Marketing automation is one of the most important aspects of any successful dealership using online marketing strategies to generate additional leads and sales. By creating personalized campaigns with email providers like MailChimp, it’s possible for marketers at your business to keep better track of how their efforts are performing overall. Which means they can make necessary changes when something isn’t working quite as well. 

9. Maintain a consistent presence through regularly scheduled posts 

It doesn’t matter what type of content you’re planning on providing consumers with moving forward. Whether this includes weekly blog posts about common problems associated with your industry or perhaps monthly reviews focused around particular vehicle makes/models – it’s always going to be essential to come up with a schedule and stick to it. 

10. Create a contest or sweepstakes with prizes that people can’t refuse  

There are countless ways to use contests to generate leads at your dealership, but there’s no denying that the best types of these strategies provide consumers with an opportunity that they’ll be hard-pressed not to take advantage of. A few great examples might include a chance for people who sign up early enough to win free oil changes each month or perhaps even monthly giveaways related to various car products available through your business. 

11. Give back to the community. 

Some of the best leads you’ll ever generate will come from consumers who are interested in donating their time or money to one of your dealership’s charitable causes. By setting up an online fundraising page through platforms like GoFundMe, Rallybound and more, it’s possible for marketers at your business to get started with this type of strategy fairly quickly while making a difference within your local community. 

How Kelley Blue Book Can Help Your Dealership 

Kelley Blue Book is a handy platform that dealerships of all sizes can use to generate additional leads at the dealership. No matter which marketing strategy your dealership ends up using, sellers will ultimately need to visit your location or website to learn more about what you have to offer. 

With Kelley Blue Book Instant Cash Offer, you can streamline the car buying process by enabling your customers to get a quote on their vehicle with a few clicks of a button. This removes any negotiation friction and makes it easy for your customers to get a price on their car without visiting your location. 

Kelley Blue Book also allows dealers to analyze customer behavior on their platform so you can understand how to better engage with your customers and know exactly which users are ready to make a purchase, trade-in or sale. To find out more about Kelley Blue Book’s platform and how it could help your business, click the link here. 

When it comes to change, is your dealership a leader, a follower, or a laggard that prefers to maintain the status quo? Take our quiz to find out where you stand, and then learn how Kelley Blue Book can help you achieve business goals no matter where your dealership falls on this spectrum. 

Read each question and choose the answer that best fits your dealership. 

How active is your dealership on social media? 

  1. Extremely active. We post daily or more on various platforms and encourage people to DM for a fast response.  
  1. Solidly active. We have a couple of active social media profiles, post regularly, and try to respond to some comments. 
  1. Somewhat active. We have one or two social profiles and try to post often but don’t always keep up with the habit. 
  1. Inconsistently active. We use our social profiles to make product announcements and let people know about sales. 
  1. Not active at all. We don’t use our social profiles regularly. 

You notice a large amount of new condo and townhome construction near your dealership. What do you do? 

  1. We consistently watch for new trends and changes in the local community and launch targeted direct mailers, social media, and other ad campaigns. 
  1. We request permission to put sales flyers in the community areas of the new development and may send direct mailers. 
  1. We might sponsor a cookout welcoming our new neighbors to the area and inviting them to check out our inventory. 
  1. We already plan sales events that are well advertised in the local area and hope new residents partake. 
  1. We would enjoy the fact that our dealership is visible to so many potential new customers. 

How do you decide what vehicle selection to keep on your dealership lot? 

  1. We utilize sophisticated inventory management software that helps us appraise, source, and price vehicles. 
  1. We have relationships with numerous partners that support our inventory selection and procurement processes with expert knowledge and technology. 
  1. We rely on various data sources, including industry reports, to understand current trends and how they might impact inventory selection. 
  1. We have regular sales meetings to provide feedback about what customers are asking for and what needs our sales staff perceive. Then, we pair that with past sales figures and information from sources like social media. 
  1. We strive to choose inventory that matches overall current market trends and our business goals and budget. 

How do you appraise trade-ins? 

  1. We use a third party tool that utilizes local market data to determine a valuation.  
  1. We have saved searches and access to databases to generate comprehensive pricing information. 
  1. We look at what our competitors set for their trade-in pricing. 
  1. We use a printed guide to car values. 
  1. The manager or someone else takes the car to the back and assesses value manually. 

How often do you update or add content to your dealership’s website? 

  1. Our website updates in real-time, particularly with inventory 
  1. Daily 
  1. Multiple times a week 
  1. Weekly 
  1. Multiple times a month 

Do you incorporate app technology into your advertising, sales, or customer service processes? 

  1. We have our own CRM apps and work with third-party sales and advertising apps. 
  1. We work with third-party apps regularly. 
  1. We have at least one app involved in these processes and rely on it regularly. 
  1. We’re starting to use apps or consider how to integrate them into these processes. 
  1. We don’t use apps for these processes. 

What’s your approach to customer retention after the sale? 

  1. We use technology to automate customized, personal touchpoints with customers to promote dealership services and future sales and then help them manage vehicle care. 
  1. We use our email and direct mailing list to send helpful information and remind customers about service needs. We also encourage sales staff to use technology to send holiday/birthday cards and customized follow-ups. 
  1. We have a monthly email newsletter that includes updates about our inventory, links to helpful articles for vehicle owners, and coupons for service. 
  1. We provide every buyer with a limited number of free oil changes and options for a longer warranty if they use us for vehicle maintenance. 
  1. We introduce the customer to our service department and provide the first oil change free. 

Score Your Results 

Score each answer using the numbers below. Then, total the results and find your range to learn more about what type of dealership you have. 

A = 5 

B = 4 

C = 3 

D = 2 

E = 1 

30-35: Innovator. Congrats, you’re a leader of the pack. You’re open to trying new tools and technology and may be an established dealership in a metro area with a second- or third-generation owner. You’re always on the lookout for better ways to serve customers and improve revenue, and you’re not scared of being the first to try a new opportunity. 

24-29: Early Adopter. You’re also a leader among dealership peers, and you know that partnerships and communication are essential to success. You show up regularly on message boards and dealership network events to find out what others are doing. You’re equally eager to try things that work for others and let peer dealerships know what’s working for you. 

18-23: Early Majority. You’re more a follower than a leader. You will make changes to how your dealership does things, but you want to see many other businesses make the change first. Keeping up with competitors is important, but you’re happy letting someone else take the major risks before you dive in. 

10-17: Late Majority. The status quo has worked for you this long, and you’re not risking change without some definitive proof of ROI. You’re not on the search for innovations that cause significant change for your staff. 

Below 9: Laggard. What you’ve always done has worked, and you’re not sure you need to change anything at all. New technologies and processes typically need to become older tech and processes before you’re willing to try them. 

Kelley Blue Book Can Help, Whatever Your Goals Are 

Scoring as a Laggard but know you need to move toward being an Adopter to remain successful in the modern market? We can help. Scoring as an Early Adopter or Innovator and looking for the next big change to explore? We can help there too. 

Read our Inventory Solutions blog to learn more. 

The automotive industry was one of many that were forever impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Dealerships across the nation were affected by this pandemic in many different ways, but they continued to persevere. Dealership owners and managers had to find new strategies for attracting customers; otherwise, their businesses would fail. 

While COVID-19 has played a role in the way consumers make purchasing decisions, the trajectory for the dealership industry has not been significantly altered. The business was already at a crossroads and social distancing has only accelerated changes that were already underway. Dealerships are already working on the new challenges they face in this volatile environment. Finding ways to adapt to changing consumer preferences and expectations while developing new income streams is critical to long-term success

Here are three of the most significant challenges that dealerships are set to face moving into 2022 and beyond and different ways that you can address these issues. 

Challenge 1: Increasing Demand for Online Sales 

With the massive shift towards online shopping, traditional dealership models are being challenged by the rise of decentralized marketplaces. Dealerships need to find ways to adapt their showroom spaces and sales techniques to meet this demand for more convenient purchasing experiences to avoid losing out on vital revenue streams. 

According to Cox Automotive, 64% of shoppers want to do more online purchase process the next time they buy a vehicle. This shows that dealerships need to capitalize on this trend by providing their customers with online sales portals. Dealers can also create apps for mobile devices where consumers can purchase vehicles and schedule test drives directly from the app without ever stepping foot in a dealership showroom or meeting with a salesperson. Dealership owners should also be using tools like Lead Driver that Kelley Blue Book offers. 

Strategies to Help 

While online sales will add barriers to purchase for many dealerships, there are some great ways to overcome this challenge. 

Create an “Omnichannel” Sales Presence 

An omnichannel sales presence combines all of the dealership’s sales channels to provide a cohesive, user-friendly experience. Dealerships are increasingly tailoring their digital experiences for customers on different devices and making online services available through smartphones, tablets, laptops, and desktop computers. 

Dealerships need to offer an attractive combination of traditional face-to-face interactions with staff members and personalized customer service over phone calls or emails. As a dealership, you also should ensure you offer modern digital options like interactive websites that display vehicle inventory alongside pricing details and extensive information about each model line. This is especially important given that most car buyers will begin looking for cars online before entering showrooms at some point during the purchase process. 

The more seamlessly you can combine these avenues into one single, streamlined platform, the more likely customers will remain loyal to a single dealership. 

Install an Augmented Reality Showroom for Your Dealership 

Companies such as Mini Cooper have now created augmented reality experiences that can be downloaded to a phone for customers. People can view all of the mini cooper’s vehicles in their own home or office and walk around them from different angles in the app. 

Provide Online Sales Calls or “Consultations” for Customers Who Can’t Visit Your Dealership 

Digital sales channels aren’t the only option available to dealerships. Dealerships need to invest in developing online sales call services that potential buyers can initiate over a video consultation with a staff member. This way, your sales staff can answer questions without the customer having to drive to the dealership. Using this approach, even those unable to make it out into showrooms will still have the opportunity of being exposed to dealer-provided information about inventory and pricing options. 

Challenge 2: Inventory Shortages 

One of the primary challenges that dealerships are now facing is a shortage of inventory. According to NADA, new light-vehicle sales have declined nearly 13% YOY. This is being accredited to the global microchip shortage. The shortage has lasted far longer than industry experts had predicted and there is still no immediate end in sight. CNBC has reported that this microchip shortage is estimated to cost the automotive industry $210 billion in revenue in 2021. 

While the vehicle demand has increased in recent months, the capacity to produce semiconductor microchips has not been able to meet demand. Dealerships are now finding it extremely difficult to find vehicles on the lot, let alone have enough inventory for customers. Dealership owners need to adjust their strategies for this challenge by focusing heavily on marketing and sales tactics that generate leads rather than closing deals with prospective buyers. 

Strategies to Help 

This is a perfect opportunity for dealerships to figure out how to best leverage digital channels over traditional ones to boost revenue despite the low supply of cars available at your dealership. 

Implement Price Matching Strategies 

Dealerships whose inventory mainly features new cars must remain competitively priced and continue providing incentives such as low financing rates or extended warranties. Dealerships should consider implementing price-matching strategies for new vehicles so they can still compete in the market. 

Provide Free Incentives and Perks 

It isn’t just about price matching your competitors when faced with increased competition from other car lots. Dealerships also need to provide exclusive perks like free pick-up service for people purchasing online. Hence, customers have peace of mind knowing their vehicle has been safely delivered at no extra cost before purchase completion. 

Provide Unique Services to Stay Ahead of the Competition 

By providing unique services such as buying customers’ cars or free pick-up service, you will be providing a more convenient experience for buyers and encouraging them to come back to your dealership. Dealerships need to invest their resources into developing new strategies that set the customer’s mind at ease before purchasing from another dealership. 

Challenge 3: Increased Competition for Consumers’ Attention 

With industry giants such as Carvana, Vroom, and Carmax offering low-cost strategies and ease of access, dealerships are finding themselves with a lot more competition than ever before. Dealerships need to find ways of remaining competitive in the market or risk losing customers at an alarming rate. 

Strategies to Help 

Dealerships should focus on digital marketing and sales tactics that encourage consumers to visit their dealership rather than simply purchasing online from another competitor. 

Focus on Customer Service and Follow-Ups 

The data shows that individuals who purchase a car from a dealership are more likely to return for a future purchase. Dealerships need to provide excellent customer service, so buyers remember their experiences and return when they are in the market again. It would be best to always prepare your Dealership staff with information about warranties, financing rates, or additional services that may interest potential customers. 

Integrate CRMs To Increase Prospecting Initiatives 

Many of today’s Dealerships are integrating CRM software into their business. This allows the dealership to be proactive in upcoming deals rather than reactive by allowing access to a large volume of information about individuals who visit their lot or express interest through online forms. 

Dealership staff can also use this data to follow up with potential customers and schedule test drives when they’re most likely interested in purchasing a vehicle. 

Use Display Advertising 

Display advertising is a great way for Dealerships to draw leads, as it can be highly customized and focused on location. Dealership owners should focus advertising efforts on individuals who may fit the target market of their dealership and encourage them to visit in person. if you are looking to get started with display advertising, contact Kelley Blue Book today. 

Conclusion 

The dealership industry is facing constant challenges. From increasing competition to a lack of inventory due to global shortages, dealerships must be proactive to remain relevant in the market. Dealerships should focus on digital marketing and sales tactics that encourage consumers to visit their dealership rather than simply purchasing online from another competitor. 

While challenges will always exist in the automotive industry, being well informed of trends and preparing your staff for a rapidly changing market will allow dealerships to succeed in an ever-evolving environment. 

Expand your inventory and connect with buyers looking to trade in their used vehicles this holiday season. Don’t let the news of a car production shortage have you worried over the holidays, but find out how Kelley Blue Book® Instant Cash Offer can help you reach out to motivated car sellers. Find customers looking to sell their used car quickly in a competitive market or trade it in for a newer model in your inventory over the holidays. 

Reasons To Promote Kelley Blue Book Instant Cash Offer This Holiday Season 

Accepting offers as a Kelley Blue Book Instant Cash Offer participating dealer is a competitive strategy for your dealership any time of the year, but this holiday season is a great time to promote this solution.  

Promote Your Program Over the Holidays 

While inventory may be low, the holidays are an excellent time to offer deals and end-of-the-year sales events on your inventory. You can combine holiday car deals and Kelley Blue Book Instant Cash Offer to encourage consumers looking to buy, sell or trade to visit your location. 

Some consumers first visit your lot to purchase a vehicle, not necessarily to sell theirs. Try promoting holiday discounts to attract potential buyers, then discuss the benefits of a Kelley Blue Book Instant Cash Offer as they review your inventory. 

Increase Discount Used Vehicle Inventory 

The recent inventory shortage has disproportionately affected lower-priced vehicles. Approximately 19 percent of used vehicles in June 2020 were priced between $10,000 and $15,000, according to Statista. This category fell to less than one percent in June 2021. These affordable vehicles help bring in customers who may be willing to consider higher-priced vehicles and are also a cost-effective way to build up your inventory. 

Use Kelley Blue Book Instant Cash Offer this holiday season to avoid a sales slump or empty lot. Keep your sales team moving and your inventory growing with integrated tools and consumer insight resources. 

Purchasing used vehicles at a discount can be a risk if you aren’t using these helpful tools like Kelley Blue Book Instant Cash Offer and vAuto Provision®. With these, you can be confident about which vehicles are best to hold and which ones should be sold to Cox Automotive. Hold the right cars and sell them at the right time to balance gross profits and inventory levels. 

How Kelley Blue Book Instant Cash Offer Works 

Car owners in your area can use the Kelley Blue Book Instant Cash Offer tool to get a sight-unseen appraisal. This motivates customers to bring in their vehicle for sale or trade at your dealership. Feel confident about a sight-unseen appraisal with this data-driven tool, which can help calculate the value of a specific used vehicle in your area. 

The process starts with an online questionnaire about the vehicle. After the customer inputs information about the make, model, mileage and overall condition of the vehicle, they receive a Kelley Blue Book Instant Cash Offer. This offer is valid for seven days and is subject to a review by your in-house team. 

By becoming a Kelley Blue Book Instant Cash Offer Participating Dealer, you can connect with customers who are motivated to sell their used cars. You can also access Kelley Blue Book branded marketing materials to promote your inventory. 

Benefits of Offering a Kelley Blue Book Instant Cash Offer 

Promoting your Kelley Blue Book Instant Cash Offer program this holiday season gives you, as a dealer, a better way to acquire inventory. In addition to your promotion of the program, you can connect with transaction-ready customers who are ready to sell their vehicles during the holidays.  

Dynamic Inventory Opportunities 

Connecting with customers through this opportunity gives you an expanded network of new inventory possibilities. This service is a competitive option for connecting with customers who are motivated to sell their vehicles. 

A Kelley Blue Book Instant Cash Offer can be used to increase or diversify your inventory. Customers looking to earn cash from their used vehicle can bring their vehicle to your dealership and redeem the offer. This is a great way to increase your inventory after securing an appointment with a customer. 

The offer can also be to trade in a vehicle toward another one on your lot. This dynamic Kelley Blue Book tool works to increase or maintain inventory levels, while lowering acquisition costs by sourcing inventory directly from customers. 

Low Acquisition Costs 

Prospective customers already have the estimated offer, site unseen. This means that anyone who does drive to your dealership with a Kelly Blue Book Instant Cash Offer is a highly motivated consumer ready for a trade or sale. 

Kelley Blue Book is the number-one most trusted third-party automotive brand ?, which takes the friction out of the trade-in process. Your team can still review the vehicle and adjust the offer based on its actual condition.

Flexible Inventory Options 

Receiving too many Kelley Blue Book Instant Cash Offer holiday requests? While too much inventory isn’t a common issue with the recent car production shortage issues, it may be a concern for your dealership. That’s why Cox Automotive offers to purchase any inventory you’ve acquired through the Kelley Blue Book Instant Cash Offer program for the full trade-in amount. 

This standing offer reduces risk involved in accepting a Kelley Blue Book Instant Cash Offer. As long as you verify the condition of the vehicle when a customer brings it to your location, you can purchase it for cash value and send it to Cox Automotive. This makes Kelley Blue Book Instant Cash Offer a competitive, low-risk strategy to get customers to your dealership and in front of your sales team. 

Issues with low inventory are more common these days, so you may wish to keep vehicles you purchase or trade for. Clean and repair any vehicle that you accept through the Kelley Blue Book Instant Cash Offer program and resell it for a profit. 

Improve Your Bottom Line 

Combine it with vAuto Provision® to identify the best strategy and listing price for your new inventory. This powerful combination of tools helps you find the right vehicles, reach out to customers and earn more from your inventory. 

Third-party tools give customers peace of mind that you’re offering a fair price on a trade-in, which may be all your sales team needs to make a sale. They also help you improve the accuracy and consistency of your trade-in valuations, which helps your team create a consistent and transparent appraisal process and creates trust with the customer. 

Learn More About Inventory Acquisition Tips for the Holidays 

The Kelley Blue Book Instant Cash Offer holiday push is just one strategy for improving your inventory acquisition. If you’re not part of this competitive program, consider joining the Kelley Blue Book Instant Cash Offer Dealer Program today. Unlock the potential of your dealership with powerful, data-driven tools. Request a demo today. 

If you have an awful lot of pavement showing at your dealership — asphalt that was historically covered in vehicles — you’re not alone. Over the summer of 2021, for example, a Michigan dealership that could normally point to around 1,500 vehicles on hand only had 30 cars in stock

While the White House and others are working to address supply chain issues across all types of industries, most experts agree we’re in for continued shortages through 2023 at least. Meanwhile, what can you do to improve inventory, drive efficiencies and cost savings and ensure your dealership is prepared for the future? 

One way is to become a regular reader of the Kelley Blue Book Inventory Solutions blog. Read on to learn what you can expect from this resource and future posts. 

If you’re ready to improve your inventory, find out more about Kelley Blue Book’s Instant Cash Offer today. 

Great Tips on Obtaining Inventory 

We know inventory acquisition is a huge challenge for dealerships operating in today’s market. But inventory is always a business concern, so what you can learn now may help you safeguard dealership success in the future. 

The Kelley Blue Book blog will bring you stories of dealerships that are successful in acquiring inventory and giving you the inside scoop on how they do it. On top of those proven tips and tricks, look for helpful information on acquiring the good quality used inventory you need to drive continued success as well as out-of-the-box tactics you can test in your business. 

Have the inventory but want to improve your sales connections with online buyers? Discover more about vehicle listing enhancements on KBB.com and Autotrader. 

Insider Info & Industry Stats and Research 

Did you know that the average discount across the nation off sticker price as of September 2021 was just 4.3 percent

Your salespeople may be pushing back if you’ve instituted stricter discount rules as a way to protect profits as inventory gets harder to obtain. They may also be getting pushback from consumers or believe that they’ll be unable to make the sale without discount flexibility. Arming yourself with information about national discount rates helps you assure sales staff that your dealership is in a similar boat as all others. 

On the Kelley Blue Book blog, you can expect even more specific insights and research from Cox Automotive to help you guide decision-making and grow your business.   

Learn How to Drive Efficiencies in Your Business 

Our blog posts won’t all relate directly to inventory, because we know it takes more than just cars on the lot to create a successful dealership. You can also expect tips, tricks, and how-to content aimed at helping you gain more efficiencies in your business to drive productivity, profits, and cost savings. 

Tips for Getting More from Tools You’re Already Using 

Re-inventing the wheel certainly doesn’t drive efficiencies, which is why we’ll also take a look at common tools dealerships are already using and provide tips and tricks for getting more out of them. Look for insider advice for increasing the functionality of tools you’re already using, reviews, and comparisons to help you make decisions about what tools are right for your dealership. You also get tips and tricks from dealers like you on making the most of existing tools and technology. 

Acquisition Strategies and Other Tips for Improving Profit 

Finally, we’ll bring you regular data and education about acquisition strategies and other efforts that help you improve profits, even in challenging times. We’re not talking about basics, like selling stock at well above sticker price when you can get away with it, but tips about acquiring stock in a way that lets you price it competitively and consumer-facing tips that help you bring in consumers ready to make an automotive purchase decision. 

Come back soon to discover all this information on the Kelley Blue Book Inventory Solutions blog! And if you can’t wait for more information or you’re ready to invest in services to improve performance for your dealership, contact us today.