A whole new process of marketing and selling vehicles was added when CarGurus took over the automobile retailing. I will admit that I was not a fan initially because like a typical retail executive I assumed the worst. This changed as CarGurus started developing reports, backend tools and analytics. CarGurus has become a leading authority website for listing inventory. This website has become very popular for consumers. I know this because plenty of my civilian friends (people that do not work in the auto industry) talk about the site and use it to shop for the best deals.
So how can a dealer sell more cars with CarGurus?
It really comes down to the same market based pricing philosophy that has been popular by Dale Pollak with vAuto. The only change is that now this website is an additional resource to evaluate current shopping patterns and reports that are provided in the dealer resource center. A car dealership in 2018 cannot rely on just one simply pricing tool. A dealer must look at how the traffic is coming in, how many leads and phone calls are coming in, where the inventory is priced compared to the competitors and look at each major listing site from a consumer point of view.
Part of our process at Dealer eTraining when we consult our dealer clients with digital marketing and selling vehicles is to have a process checklist that must be reviewed at least two times per week. Why two times? That is how fast the market is changing (if not faster). The check list discusses basic things like what sites to monitor, what to look for in the inventory management pricing tool (vAuto, First Look, Inventory Plus, Homenet and others), how often to adjust pricing, review how many calls and leads came in on certain vehicles, how many people came in on certain vehicles, how does the inventory stack up against the competition here on CarGurus (and other sites) amongst other things.
As a dealer you are paying a pretty penny for this service. CarGurus provides the dealership with a way to advertise and generate traffic. Now with this tool in place it is important to review the traffic too. If someone came in to the dealership and did not buy this needs to be addressed because maybe the specific unit is aging or it is a newer inventory but there is so many similar ones that it makes sense to take a shorter deal. Something that dealers already know is that the used car gross will come more from backend since insurance products being sold in the business office are very important investments.
We at Dealer eTraining implemented this process of monitoring the CarGurus dealer resource center recently helped a newer dealer on the program increase lead and call volume by 30% just in a few short weeks.
The moral of the story is that dealers need to embrace the services that they have, manage the tools that provided by these services and have a procedure to inspect how the service works. It is not always the fault of the website when there are not enough opportunities coming to dealers to buy. I personally believe in the idea that we cannot just give credit to one source for a car sale in 2018. A ready to buy consumer will spend minutes, hours, days and sometimes weeks to watch a specific vehicle in the market. We as retailers need to watch our shopper patterns the same way and we need adjust as needed to keep business moving forward.