Nick Hummer
Nick Hummer

Cars.com
Product Manager

In-market car buyers increasingly look to automotive shopping sites such as Cars.com to search new-vehicle inventory available on local dealer lots. Cars.com product manager Nick Hummer explains how to market your new-car inventory for maximum exposure – and additional sales.

Why Should I Include My New-Car Listings Online?

While it’s always been common practice to list all of your used vehicles online, it’s now become standard to list your new vehicles too. If you are not already doing so, here are the top two reasons to start posting new car inventory with your listings:

  1. Car buyers demand it: Many buyers prefer to shop actual new-vehicle inventory that they know they can find on an actual dealer lot as opposed to configuring a car they may or may not be able to find locally. On Cars.com, 60 percent of our shoppers choose to search inventory versus configuring a new vehicle. This is consistent with industry research that shows consumers want to know where to find the actual new car they want. If you’re not posting your new vehicles, you could be missing out on potential sales.
  2. New-car inventory drives used-car sales: Not only can you expect to sell more new cars, but you also improve the odds of closing more used-car deals. More than half of shoppers are undecided between new, used and certified inventory when they visit Cars.com. Their primary objective is to identify the vehicle they can afford and that offers the performance and functionality they want. Showing only some of the cars you have available limits the time they spend with your listings and minimizes your chance for a connection.

What Information Should I Include With My New-Car Listings?

The old saying that holds true with used cars also applies to new: You have to tell it to sell it. While some dealers rely on a single stock photo and the VIN decoder to do the heavy lifting, we recommend a more robust approach. Essential ingredients of an effective new-car ad include:

  • Actual vehicle pictures. Using pictures of the actual vehicle on your lot allows buyers to see that you have the vehicle in stock. Real photos as opposed to stock photos create a better shopping experience for the consumer, n turn helping you to drive more traffic. Also, because stock images often do not appear in search results pages or can be very similar from car-to-car, vehicles with actual photos attract more attention.
  • Competitive price. Unless a vehicle is in high demand and low supply, you may want to stimulate interest by featuring a price below MSRP but above invoice that allows you to both negotiate and hold a fair gross. If you need direction on where to begin, tools such as Cars.com’s Smart Target Price provide market-based information on what similar makes/models are fetching in your area. In today’s changing economic climate, taking an aggressive stance signals customers that you’re ready to do business and help them with their search.
  • Compelling sell copy. Just as you wouldn’t recite the window sticker to a customer in your showroom, don’t limit your seller’s notes to a bland repetition of the VIN decoder. Instead, tell a story about the experience of driving and owning the vehicle. Be creative, and look for ways to connect with shoppers with a lead-in that incorporates their reasons for considering a particular car. In the case of a hybrid sedan, for example: “Think about the smile on your face as you cruise past the long lines for a fill-up, thinking of all the money you’re saving and the good you’re doing for the environment.” Now that you’ve captured the prospect’s imagination, seal the deal with other useful bits of information (e.g., Do the front and rear seats accommodate taller people? Will the trunk carry two sets of golf clubs? Are there any noteworthy options or accessories?).

Automotive shopping sites such as Cars.com offer products that help you advertise your listings and showcase them in their best light. With 80 percent of car buyers now researching their next purchase online, it’s up to you to help them get the information they need and then sell them on the value of buying that car from you.

Additional Resources

To learn more about advertising your new-car inventory through your Cars.com OnlineAdPackage, please contact your sales representative or call 800.298.1460.