How to Keep Car Sales Flowing Even with Low Inventory

High demand is not usually considered a bad thing in the world of sales, but if the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic has taught car dealerships anything, is that there is such a thing as too much of a good thing. The pandemic and other factors, such as new car microchip delays, have caused both new and used car shortages, which in turn, results in low inventory at many dealerships.

According to a recent Kelly Blue Book article, dealerships have more cars to sell compared month to month, and the last time that was true was in February. While seemingly positive news, this does not necessarily mean the shortage is starting to end as October's number was still just 36% of what dealers had in stock one year ago when supplies were already considered low.

As an auto dealer, the question becomes, how can you keep consumers informed about inventory to make more sales?

A Toolbox Website

Make sure your website is equipped with tools that help inform consumers rather than leaving it up to them to continually check back to the website. Let them steer the communication by opting into SMS text or email alerts when new inventory arrives that meets their defined criteria including price, make, model, etc. No one wants updates on a mini van when they are looking for a sports car and vice versa, so being able to not only filter through such options on the website but also receive relevant updates as new inventory arrives is crucial to the pace sales are happening now.

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You've Got Mail

While some consumers want streamlined information, others might be dipping their toe into the process of finding a new car and appreciate all updates from your dealership, such as promotions, new products and inventory or industry-related news. To build your database, add an email capture element to the website for basic contact information.

Additionally, consider adding a form to the website for shoppers to share more details questions related to their car search and what they might be looking for including their specific car request.

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Here Today...Gone Tomorrow

With the inventory you do have on-hand, create a sense of urgency by adding elements of bite-sized information that quickly gets the message across. At this point, many consumers realize inventory is moving at an incredible speed, but it doesn't hurt to remind them of that.

Build Up That Inventory

Pre-pandemic, many used car lots depended on auction houses to fill their lots, but due to the increased demand, many areas are encountering limited or no auction availability, so be sure to focus on private party sales.

Past Customers
Dive into your database of past customers and reach out to see if they are considering a trade in or trade up opportunity sometime soon. You've built up that database for this reason exactly - now make it do the work. Seeing a high demand for a specific model or year range of car? Focus on reaching out to those customers first.

Facebook Lead Ads for Trade-Ins
Facebook Lead Ads are an excellent no fuss, no muss type of ad in that the consumer very clearly sees the goal up front - to get their information. Similar to a website form, these ads remain within the Facebook platform and auto fill many details, making it even easier for consumers to complete them.

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Service Appointments = Trade-Ins
Utilize service appointments for opportunities to talk about trade ins. Consider having a salesperson reach out to offer an estimated trade-in value when they arrive for their service appointment - make it as easy and painless as possible for them. For example: Send a text to the customer once they have made a service appointment asking if they'd like to get a trade-in value estimate upon their arrival.

Click here to learn more about turning service visits into new car sales.

Increase Digital Marketing Efforts
At the end of day, the goal is to sell cars even while you focus on increasing your inventory. Add a remarketing element to your digital marketing ads, either through Google Ads or by installing the Facebook pixel to retarget those who have visited your website to keep your business top of mind. The Facebook pixel is a piece of code for your website lets you measure, optimize and build audiences for ad campaigns.

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With so many users spending leisure time on social media, this is an excellent way to continue landing in front of your customers with ads similar to the below.

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Ultimately, communication is key whether inventory is high or low, and it's important to continually keep potential buyers informed. Beyond the tips detailed above, a variety of marketing, sales and service materials are available at to deck your car lot out in any season. Read more tips on the Sid Savage blog.

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