To maintain profitability, it’s been mandatory for years to utilize comprehensive, well-distributed classified ads. It is important for dealers to have an online presence with new-car classifieds since many consumers start researching their next car purchase online. Dealers can strongly influence car shoppers with new-car classifieds since consumers often determine what make and model they want to buy from visiting third-party websites. After seeing the results and benefits of providing used-car classified listings, why is it a struggle to convince dealers of the importance of having the same representation of their new-car inventory?
If dealers peruse several of their closest competitors’ websites, they are sure to find a few dealerships that do not include actual vehicle photos or sale prices, or only provide the obligatory basic representation of standard model equipment. If dealers do not publish these simple components to enhance their vehicle listings, their lack of effort will not entice a potential customer to take a closer look at a particular car or dealership.
Do new- and used-car intenders shop differently?
They don’t. New-car shoppers want the same comparison capability and features they have grown dependent on while shopping for used cars, real estate and virtually every other major purchase they make. New cars are hot, and if dealers aren’t marketing their new-car inventory with the same enthusiasm as their used inventory, it will cost them sales, money and a huge branding opportunity.
According to Kelley Blue Book Automotive Insights, new-car sales are expected to surpass 14 million units in 2012, the highest total sales volume in five years. With the steady pace of new-vehicle sales and attractive financing options available for consumers, dealers need to make a committed effort to standardizing their dealership practice of providing quality new-car classified listings. Just like used-car listings, these new-car classifieds should be equipped with actual vehicle photos, sale prices and individualized vehicle notes describing distinctive vehicle features. Now is the time for dealers to switch gears once and for all by effectively marketing both new- and used-car inventory to customers.
Consider this: According to Kelley Blue Book Market Intelligence, 85% of new-car shoppers use dealer websites to look at vehicle pricing, 68% of new-car shoppers use dealer websites to check vehicle stock, and 68% of new-car shoppers use dealer websites to look up incentives and special offers.
These statistics show that the number one important feature in an online dealer advertisement is a link to dealership inventory. Understanding the value of seeing new-car inventory online as expressed by in-market car shoppers, dealers must post new-car listings, and if not, their dealership is risking being eliminated for consideration among new-car buyers.
There are a couple of factors driving new-car desirability, which add to the importance of dealerships posting their new-car inventory listings. With aggressive incentives and financing terms, combined with many trade-ins of 10- to 11-year-old vehicles, the pent-up demand for new cars is being released now. Couple the new-car demand with the relatively small cost of ownership difference between new and late-model used cars, which were caused by reduced new-car prices and short supply of late-model used vehicles, and it’s easy for shoppers to justify switching from used- to new-car buyers.
The question is: Will dealers be influencing their potential customers through listings when they are researching new cars online? Dealers need to embark on the new-car classifieds front since many shoppers start researching their next new-vehicle purchase online before visiting dealership lots.