Ask Cars.com

John Blain
John Blain
Cars.com
Product Manager

Increasing your odds of winning a sale begins with demonstrating to online shoppers that you have the vehicle that best meets their needs. Product manager John Blain discusses why your internet strategy should include advertising your new- and used-car listings.

Why Should I List My New-Vehicle Inventory Online?

With the majority of shoppers accessing the internet to research their next purchase, your best tactic to win the sale is to provide them with the information they need – whether on your store’s website or on automotive shopping sites such as Cars.com. Let’s look at the three reasons to include both your new-and used-vehicle inventory:

  • Get shoppers into your virtual showroom. Advertising your new cars online is the only way to put them in front of internet shoppers. If car buyers can’t view your inventory when searching for the vehicle they’re considering, they have to look to your competitors to find the car they need. You may have better prices, a larger selection and a nicer store, but you eliminate yourself from consideration when your listings aren’t available. To get buyers into your physical dealership, you have to first bring them into your virtual showroom.
  • Drive incremental sales with undecided shoppers. When car buyers research the vehicles they’re considering online, they’re looking for information on what make and model to buy (60 percent¹) and which dealer to select (32 percent*). They’re also looking for guidance on whether new or used is the way to go. Among shoppers who ultimately bought new, 17 percent² considered themselves open to a new or used option; 4 percent² had intended to purchase used. If you want to land the sale, show shoppers what you have available to sell.
  • Sell more used cars. This point may not seem obvious, but your new-car inventory also can boost your preowned business. Independent sites such as Cars.com, for example, allow car buyers to access your used-car listings from individual new-car details pages and on dealer locator search results listings. Among car buyers who took home a used car, just 63 percent² had intended to do so; 37 percent² said they were open to a new or used option or committed to buying new.

Remember: Merchandising Matters

Once you’ve decided to advertise your new cars online, don’t leave their sale to chance. Just as you should do with your used-car listings, tell a compelling story about the vehicle – with pictures and sell copy – that encourages shoppers to take the next step toward a purchase. Cars.com dealers who include one or more actual photos of their new vehicles, for example, receive an average of 28 percent³ more email contacts than competitors who did not add a picture.

Additional Resources

Cars.com automotive consultant and dealer training manager Kathy Kimmel discusses the importance of advertising your new-vehicle inventory online in this month’s DealerADvantage Live webinar. She also provides tips on how to fully merchandise these listings and work with shoppers to make the sale.

¹ J.D. Power and Associates 2008 New Autoshopper.com Study

² J.D. Power and Associates 2007 New Autoshopper.com Study

³ Cars.com Internal Reporting, July-September 2008

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