Running an automotive dealership is not easy. It involves many tasks, including managing inventory, evaluating supply and demand, training employees, maintaining dozens of vehicles, and of course, getting customers in the door. Your main priority should be selling cars, but sadly, this can sometimes take a backseat to other time-consuming tasks.
The automotive industry is incredibly competitive. This means if you aren’t able to keep up with all of these tasks, your dealership may not survive. Fortunately, there are certain tools that can ensure your automotive dealership runs smoothly at all times. Here are the six software tools every automotive dealership needs to succeed:
Automotive consumers take a number of factors into consideration when shopping for a new vehicle, including the make, model, reliability, and size. But price is one of the factors that makes the biggest impact on the consumer’s purchase decision.
Nearly half of consumers believe that owning or leasing a vehicle is becoming too expensive. This is why consumers often spend a great deal of time looking for dealerships that offer the best prices. This is also why dealers should invest in pricing software to accurately price their inventory.
It’s important to know how other local dealerships are pricing vehicles, but conducting this research on your own is time-consuming, especially if you need to do it for every vehicle on your lot.
Luckily, you can use pricing software to see how much a specific vehicle costs at other dealerships in your area. Pricing software provides accurate real-time data that reflects the current market conditions. This way, you can determine how you should price every vehicle on your lot in order to stay competitive without sacrificing your gross margin.
This tool can also be used to assess the value of a trade-in vehicle. Use pricing software to make sure you aren’t overpaying so you can still make a profit off of every trade-in vehicle you accept.
Don’t let bad pricing decisions eat into your profits. Invest in pricing software to ensure every vehicle in your inventory is fairly and accurately priced.
Inventory Planning Software
Having the right vehicles available for consumers to purchase is one of the keys to your dealership’s success. But determining what vehicles you need and when is a complicated task. Managing inventory on your own leaves plenty of room for errors, which is why it’s best to invest in inventory planning software.
It’s important to note that inventory planning software is not the same as inventory management software. The latter is used to keep track of what vehicles are currently in your inventory. For example, if you need to know whether or not you currently have a 2010 Honda Civic for sale, you can use this software to quickly check your inventory.
Inventory planning software does more than just keep track of the vehicles in your inventory. It also analyzes your current inventory and sales history to identify profitable opportunities for your dealership. For instance, the software may realize that a specific type of vehicle is selling twice as fast than other similar models. It will notify you of this trend so you can purchase additional units of the vehicle to keep up with consumer demand.
In other words, inventory planning software will keep track of your inventory, evaluate the supply and demand in your market, and help you make smarter inventory decisions that will generate more revenue and increase your profits.
Online Vehicle Auction Software
Used automotive dealerships purchase vehicles from auctions. You have the option of attending most of these auctions in-person, but that is incredibly time-consuming, which is why most dealerships choose to participate online instead.
It’s best for dealerships to invest in online vehicle auction software that will make attending these auctions and bidding on vehicles easier than ever.
If you invest in this software, you will no longer be limited to local automotive auctions. The software will give you access to a wide variety of online automotive auctions held across the country. This means you won’t be limited to purchasing whatever vehicles are available at auctions in your area, so you will have a better chance of finding the vehicles that are right for your customers.
If you’re on the hunt for a specific vehicle, the software will search hundreds of different online auctions to find the best deal. You won’t have to spend hours looking for the lowest price—the software will do the work for you.
If you’re attending an online auction, the software will provide you with real-time pricing data so you can decide how much you want to bid on each vehicle up for sale. Then, enter your bid directly into the software. The entire process can be completed using this tool, so you won’t need to switch back and forth between different programs to purchase vehicles.
All used car dealerships can benefit from online vehicle auction software. Specialty dealerships, such as those that only sell vintage or rare luxury cars, can also benefit from this tool. These dealerships can use the software to track down vehicles that are hard to locate.
Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Software
Customer relationship management (CRM) software is essential for all types of businesses, including automotive dealerships.
CRM software is designed to help you manage your interactions with current and potential customers. Store all of your current and potential customers’ information within this software. Then, encourage your sales staff to use the software to record every interaction with every customer.
For example, say a member of your sales team meets with a customer who is interested in purchasing a new Toyota SUV. Your sales representative should enter their information into the CRM system right away. If the customer returns to your dealership to take a test drive with another sales representative, they should update the customer’s record to reflect this information. The sales representative who initially spoke to the customer will see that they returned to take a test drive. Then, they can follow up with the customer in an effort to close the deal.
Having this type of software ensures that no potential lead falls through the cracks. Your sales team will have all of the information they need to successfully manage their relationships with potential leads and current customers.
This software also makes it easier for your team to provide better customer service. For instance, the software will tell them when it’s time to follow up with a customer, so they won’t forget to complete this important step.
Digital Marketing Tools
The process of buying a new vehicle begins online for most consumers. For this reason, dealerships should consider investing in digital marketing tools that allow them to control their digital marketing efforts in-house.
There are a number of different digital marketing tools that are designed specifically for automotive dealerships. You can use these tools to build a custom website for your dealership, create online listings for every vehicle in your inventory, and run digital ad campaigns to attract new customers.
If a user clicks on one of these digital ads, they will be sent directly to your website instead of a third-party automotive website. Digital marketing software also allows automotive dealerships to create ads that target specific types of customers so they don’t waste their marketing budget on the wrong people.
In addition to automating the digital marketing process, this software will also help you evaluate the effectiveness of your marketing efforts. You will be able to pull detailed metrics and reports so you can analyze the return on investment for each of your marketing strategies.
These tools don’t cost anywhere near as much as traditional marketing efforts, so they are well worth the investment.
Dealer Management Software (DMS)
Dealer management software (DMS) is a tool that provides a wide range of services for automotive dealers. Every DMS is different. But in general, this software can be used to manage inventory, record customer information, schedule repairs and maintenance, capture new leads, and complete paperwork for the purchase of new vehicles.
If your dealership offers financing, DMS software can be used to perform credit checks on customers and print out forms that your customers will need to fill out.
Essentially, DMS software handles the vast majority of tasks that a dealership needs to complete in order to run smoothly. If you invest in DMS, you may not need to invest in pricing, inventory management, or other tools on this list. The right DMS software can handle all of these tasks, so you won’t need to use multiple programs to operate your dealership.
If you choose to invest in DMS software, make sure to choose one with an easy-to-use interface. Multiple people on your team will rely on this software, and it’s important that it’s easy for everyone to use. You should also look for cloud-based DMS software so you don’t have to worry about your data disappearing in the event of a system error.
You must be willing to use every resource at your disposal in order to stay competitive in the automotive industry. Invest in these software tools so you can successfully operate your automotive dealership and watch your business grow!