Unlike used vehicles, which are unique based on mileage, condition and vehicle history, shoppers have many choices when it comes to where to buy a new vehicle, making differentiating your store and your inventory key in driving more new-car sales.  That’s why Cars.com’s Market Intelligence Report provides insight into how shoppers on our site interact with your store’s brand, not just your inventory.  This report is one of the new-car enhancements of BaseDrive, Cars.com’s online advertising package for franchise dealers.

Exposure and Engagement, two metrics available in the Market Intelligence Report, measure how often a dealership is seen on Cars.com (exposure) and how often consumers choose to interact with that dealership (engagements) compared with the competition, based on DMA and make.  Let’s take a look at a few ways to increase your store’s share of exposure and engagement.

Exposure: Reaching more consumers on Cars.com is largely dependent upon your store’s proximity to shoppers, as well as the number of vehicles your dealership lists on the site.  However, actively managing your presence on Cars.com ensures your dealership and your inventory appear everywhere they should.

  • Post all of your current new-car inventory on Cars.com to make sure your store doesn’t miss out on appearing in relevant search results.
  • Price your vehicles competitively to reach consumers who sort search results by price.
  • Properly merchandise your inventory for shoppers who refine search results by color, number of doors, transmission or other features.
  • Manage your Dealer Reviews to maximize your presence in search results.  Many shoppers narrow their results by average review score, prioritizing dealerships with better ratings.

Read more: How to Maximize BaseDrive

Engagement: The key to maximizing engagement is giving shoppers reasons to choose your dealership everywhere your content appears on Cars.com.

  • Have a process for managing your reputation on Cars.com.  Because new-car shoppers on Cars.com who read reviews are 7x more likely to contact a dealer*, having a process for building your review volume, monitoring what shoppers are saying and responding to positive and negative reviews alike can have a big impact on your share of engagement in your market.

Read more: Greenway Dodge scores big with Dealer Reviews

  • Create a robust Dealer Profile.  The elements of your Dealer Profile, including video, photos, dealership description and your promotional tagline, are all opportunities to tell a powerful story about why shoppers should choose your store over your competitors.  This could include amenities, such as free wifi and gourmet coffee bar in the service waiting room, a haggle-free sales process or other benefits that make shoppers want to buy from you.

Read more: Selling more new cars means differentiating your dealership, not just your inventory

  • In addition to ensuring your vehicles appear in relevant search results, great vehicle merchandising, including a competitive price, photos, video and vehicle details can also influence a shopper to learn more about your dealership by checking out your Dealer Profile, reading your reviews, clicking through to your website or contacting your store.

Certain Cars.com advertising investments are also designed to enhance exposure.  Contact your sales representative for more information, or visit dealers.cars.com/kickit.

*Cars.com Internal Site Statistics, 2012