Internet Pricing of Used Inventory

March 11, 2009


I am the E-Business Director at Bill Marsh.  We have two schools of thought regarding pricing of our used car inventory on the internet.  I would like to get your opinion on this topic.  We use status codes to track where each car is in the process from buying the car to it’s eventual sale.  We do not list all cars that we have on the ground on the internet.  We do however list cars that have been inspected and are in process to be placed on the lot.  So there will always be a group of cars not listed on the internet in raw material, a group of cars listed on the internet without pictures, and then just about the time we upload the pictures, we also have been pricing the car on the internet.

We actually have the price of the car during the time period when we are waiting for the pictures to catch up.  We just don’t post it to the internet because the thought is that we receive more calls from these ‘coming soon’ cars if we don’t price them right away and we label them as ‘coming soon’.  Lately, we have adjusted that process by pricing the cars as early as possible when we know what the price is going to be.  Less questions to management about pricing of the used inventory online but we are not sure if the resulting traffic (phone, internet) is less due to this new strategy or because of the whims of the market. 

Do you think we should price vehicles on the internet just as soon as we have the price?  Or does holding back and labeling the cars ‘coming soon’ make sense for better traffic (pricing them when they hit the lot)?

Dana W. Pratt III