3 Ways Dealership Website Analytics Aid Inventory, Merchandising Decisions

July 10, 2012


Several dealers have asked about the value of using a dealership’s website analytics for managing used vehicle inventories.

My guidance typically starts with a cautionary point: While customer clicks on dealer inventory pages are meaningful, they do not necessarily provide sufficient insight to know if a current make/model remains “right” for restocking. This is because a simple tally of the vehicles that get the most looks on a dealer’s website doesn’t tell us enough about the car’s potential as an investment, let alone all the reasons a customer clicked on a specific unit for a closer look.

Velocity dealers understand that broader market data, such as the “market days supply,” “interest” and “demand” for specific vehicles available in the Provision system, provide a fuller portrait of a vehicle’s opportunities and risks as an investment than data gleaned from their dealership websites.

Dealer Website Analytics
Dealer Website Analytics

That said, however, velocity dealers note that website analytics complement their efforts to acquire the “right” cars and merchandise them effectively online. Here are three examples:

1. Cross-shopping trends. Website analytics can help dealers understand how customers cross-shop for used vehicles across brands and segments. For example, a western VW dealer says he’s seen increased interest in Hyundai vehicles among his website visitors, a surprise as prior click patterns showed customers largely cross-shopped Hondas and Toyotas. This dealer combines these insights with vehicle recommendations from the Provision system to balance his inventory composition and increase its appeal with buyers.

2. Price sensitivity. Velocity dealers say they’re seeing more website visitors use payment calculators and/or sort vehicles by price as they view inventory listings. This customer click-behavior fits with broader efforts by velocity dealers to lower their average used vehicle inventory cost to appeal to price-conscious buyers (and maximize their inventory turns and return on investment (ROI)).

3. Remarketing opportunities. A growing number of dealers are investing in technologies that allow them to track visitors as they come and go from their dealership websites. These traffic patterns often provide clues for maximizing the placement and ROI of online advertising and remarketing investments on third-party, non-automotive websites and advertising networks.