Used car dealerships have been taken for a ride over the past several years. The COVID-19 pandemic kicked off a series of events that would forever change the way dealers acquire used vehicles. From a global microchip shortage to delays in new car manufacturing to the ever-increasing consumer demand for used vehicles is making it difficult for dealerships to maintain inventory flow and compete against national online retailers.
The speed at which your dealership is able to purchase inventory and get it onto your lot is undeniably important. But the need for speed can’t be your only guiding force. For your dealership to sustain long-term success, you need to:
- Carefully and continually analyze your current supply of used vehicles; what worked for years pre-pandemic needs to be revisited and updated to the new market conditions
- Determine which vehicles will have the best chance of selling quickly
- Know when’s the right time to buy certain vehicles and avoid others, and broaden your dealer-to-dealer network and take advantage of trends and seasonality; what doesn't work for your store might be a perfect fit for a dealer peer
- Consider alternative buying strategies that fall outside of traditional in-person auctions; national online retailers are aggressively acquiring vehicles from consumers and, like it or not, you've got to find a way to compete
- Implement streamlined sourcing processes that minimize manual work on your end.
Clearly, there’s a lot your dealership has to do in order to beat out the competition and ensure you’re staying on the up and up. So how can you work to expand your vehicle acquisition network without compromising your current operating procedures?
Let’s look at just some of the ways your dealership can begin to streamline the vehicle acquisition process. From online automotive trade platforms to establishing reliable buying strategies, these tips can help you bring more vehicles onto your lot every month while striking the perfect balance between quality, speed, and consistency.
Trust in Data
Developing sound sourcing strategies for your dealership starts with getting a good sense of where you currently stand. If you’ve previously worked off of gut feelings and hunches to inform which vehicles should be brought onto your lot, the time is now to embrace a data-driven mindset to inform your acquisition processes.
Knowing how many specific models you have of a particular vehicle, tracking how long certain vehicles are staying on your lot, and analyzing what inventory is yielding the most profit are all valuable insights you can glean from looking at inventory data.
There are online automotive trade platforms, such as CarOffer, that can provide you with an incredible range of valuable data points and help you look outside of your vehicle acquisition network, but more on that later.
Connect Directly with Your Customers
The uncertainty and volatility that has plagued the used car market in recent years likely won’t fade anytime soon. The direct-from-consumer inventory channel can help dealerships connect directly with their audience. And until recently, non-franchise big-box retailers have dominated this space.
But that’s all changing. There are tools, such as CarOffer’s ConsumerLane, that can enable you to purchase vehicles directly from your customers. Having an entirely new sourcing channel that also helps build trust and credibility with your target audience can unlock a world of potential for your dealership.
Overcome the challenges of finding quality used car inventory by developing direct-from-consumer buying strategies that give you more options to find the cars you need.
Reduce the Manual Workload
Your staff is likely stretched thin. Manually bidding on vehicles one by one and hoping the right ones fall into your lap is not a long-term solution to your sourcing woes.
Avoid making split-second decisions on the vehicles you bid on and getting caught up in the competitive nature of it all by opting for a solution that takes the guesswork out of sourcing inventory.
In today’s current landscape, the dealerships that are embracing tools and resources that help lighten the load of sourcing inventory are the ones that are beating out the competition. This can come in the form of:
- Eliminating manual bidding in favor of automated solutions
- Defining buying preferences that can be fine-tuned to accommodate market changes
- Leaning on inventory data to inform sourcing decisions.
Another effective way of reducing the manual workload on your dealership ties into our last tip for streamlining your vehicle acquisition process.
Embrace Innovative Technology
Today, online automotive trade platforms are transforming the way dealerships buy, sell, and trade used vehicles. Instead of relying on in-person auto auctions to find the vehicles you need, or losing out to online retailers that outbid you, you need to re-think your game plan. Modernized inventory management solutions like CarOffer's bring much-needed relief, efficiency, and a competitive advantage to dealers.
Automation is your friend, and when you can automatically fulfill your buy/sell orders based on the customizable buying preferences you provide you'll find you can keep up with inventory demands and bring the right vehicles onto your lot quickly and efficiently.
Give CarOffer a Test Drive
If you’re ready to leave the traditional ways of sourcing used inventory in the past, CarOffer is here to help. Our dedicated support staff along with our advanced technologies enable you to expand your vehicle acquisition network and get you the exact cars you need — at the right price and right time. Together, we can help you regain valuable time and resources for your dealership. Imagine long-term success fueled by increased revenue and efficiency.
Contact us today to request a demo or learn more about our automotive inventory sourcing solutions.