“It used to be (that) the dealer was the first stop, and now I kind of think the dealer is the last stop.”
This statement from a car shopper in a video shown at an Autotrader event last week may come as a surprise to some, but it’s one that Mike Roberts wanted to drive home with dealers attending his presentation on “Beyond Remarketing — 4 Digital Strategies to Keep More Customers and Sell More Cars” at the Interactive Dealer Summit in Raleigh, N.C.
Roberts, who leads The Wholesale Institute at Cox Automotive, emphasized that once shoppers arrive at your store, it’s likely they believe they know what vehicle they want.
And if you don’t have it, you probably need to get it.
Easy as that might sound, Roberts shared data indicating that overwhelmingly more often than not, if you don’t have the car the shopper wants — or don’t have the means to get it — he or she will leave the store.
Here’s where the latter part of that (having the means to get their desired vehicle) comes into play.
“Do you know that your competition — and you guys may be doing it, too — they advertise this?” Roberts asked a crowd of mostly dealers, referring to such messaging from dealers as “If we don’t have it, don’t sweat it; we’ll get it” and “If we don’t have the vehicle you’re looking for, we’ll find it for you.”
He added: “This is getting to be quite commonplace.”
But the challenge for some dealers, Roberts said, is having to go against stores in larger dealership groups that may have a “huge network” of inventory and resources at their disposal.
If that’s the case, “they very well may be able to find that vehicle quicker than you could,” he said.
“Remember, people are usually motivated; they want to do something, they want to do it quick,” Roberts said. “Once they’ve made that buying decision, they want to do it.”
But a new opportunity in the “Looker Status” of Manheim’s PowerSearch tool makes it easier to search via wholesale channels for these consumer-requested vehicles that you don’t have on your lot.
“Now, even if you have a smaller inventory, you’re going to be able (to search through all vehicles registered with Manheim), through having this looker status, to be able to fulfill your inventory needs differently than what you’ve ever been able to do before,” he said.
Previously, you had to be a top level manager or dealer to find these vehicles; now, a whole new set of dealership employees will be able to find these cars. This, Roberts said, can help dealers turn potential customers into satisfied clients and allow the dealership to boost retail sales and profits.