Is making real-time inventory available on the OEM site beneficial?

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There are a lot of things that need to be done at our end as dealers to make sure that the inventory is not only available but priced inline with the market to make sure that the customer is getting a similar message from the various dealers that he/she is shopping. We need to move into the real world and stop trying traditional marketing ploys in the online world.

Part of the problem that exists is that the customer has so much information (and misinformation) available that it all starts to meld together until the buyer either solidifies what they want to believe or they become disenchanted with one brand or online process and moves on without ever really having the opportunity to “buy the dealer” first and then the vehicle second. Ultimately, this is really what the customer wants and it becomes difficult when the pricing, process and product info is so clouded. We have created a “deal” mentality in the industry that re-enforces the age old car dealer stereotypes. Besides the obvious quality, one of the main reasons Lexus is so successful and their customers are so loyal is that the “deal” is the ownership, not the money!

Chrysler’s brand websites have real time new car inventory available that is listed at MSRP less the rebates that are available at the time. I feel that it is not only beneficial, but it is critical to our success that we provide the customer with as much online information as possible including inventory. However, this is a double edged sword! On one side it pushes the customer to the dealer that has the vehicle that they think fits their needs. On the other hand it takes the selling out of the dealers hand by allowing the customer to do “locates” themselves and go after only vehicles that they perceive as needs for their purchase.

The problem is that it generates confusion. The customer is NOT always right!!! Just ask the average guy to job rate a truck…for that matter, ask the average salesperson to do so…..There are too many customers out there that try and understand the breakdown of equipment or specifications and don’t realize that the vehicle either can’t be ordered that way, doesn’t do the job they need it to do or the price is not what they thought it would be when the approach a dealer and go to a complete different Brand to avoid embarrassment, confusion etc.

I believe that the dealer network and the manufacturers need to work very closely to come up with online marketing plans that generate profitable sales. Inventory is just one of the important factors that must be considered.

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1 comment so far ↓

#1 VideoPortal on 03.28.17 at 1:01 am

As retailers increasingly adopt strategies to work both online and offline, and in multi-channel scenarios, they need technical solutions to address the challenges associated with these approaches. Real-time inventory exists at the intersection of customer experience improvements, operational efficiency gains, and reducing time to market for innovative solutions.

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