A Harvard Business Review article refers to data that reveals the average U.S. vehicle shopper spends 11 hours online in searching for their next vehicle. They only spend 3.5 hours offline, which includes the trip to the dealership. It goes on to say most purchases occur in person. So, the challenge is this: Getting customers to come to your lot.
What if a customer wants a vehicle in a color and trim that you don't have? They may never set foot on your dealership. They'll search for the make, model, and trim elsewhere.
Fortunately, there's a way around this. Implement inventory sharing. For the most part, it's like inventory management software that connects you to the manufacturer and franchised wholesaler-distributors. The inventory management system combines the inventories of multiple resources. When customers see the make, model, and trim is available, they'll contact you or come in.
The most important benefactor of this system are the customers. They'll be able to shop at their favorite or closest-located dealership.
Wholesaler-distributors can increase revenue since they won't lose the order because they don't have it on their lot. It gives them access to more customers to help sell slower-moving vehicles. Other distributors in the network can tap into their inventory. It's another avenue for revenue as dealerships will benefit from the sale even if the customer goes to a different lot. This improves financial health.
Manufacturers will operate more efficiently with fewer small quantity manufacturing runs and expedited deliveries. They'll be less likely to have to take back unwanted inventory. Because customers can get what they want faster, it reflects well on the brand. When they have a good purchasing experience with a brand, they're more likely to continue buying that brand.
The first step is that the manufacturer gets involved and encourages all distributors to join. When the manufacturer communicates the benefits to everyone, they'll be more apt to participate. The more wholesaler-distributors who invest in an inventory management system with inventory sharing, the greater the inventory options.
It's also critical for the inventory system to be as updated as possible. Participating distributors will need to undergo training to learn about the system and how to optimize it. The key is to fill backorders quickly by searching the inventory-sharing system.
Everyone wins with inventory sharing including customers, wholesaler-distributors, and manufacturers. Because customers don't visit dealerships until they're ready to buy, you want to capitalize on every opportunity.
That means expanding your inventory with inventory sharing. When customers see you can get them what they want, they'll choose you. If another dealership wants something from your inventory, you'll be able to move it.
The most successful dealerships also implement effective car dealership security with remote video surveillance. Such a system costs the fraction of hiring traditional security guards and can cover more area at the same time. To learn more about proactive dealership solutions, please contact us.