Several dealers have asked about the value of using a dealership’s website analytics to manage 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 determine if a current make or model of car remains “right,” and another one should be acquired. 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® Suite, provide a fuller portrait of a vehicle’s opportunities and risks as an investment than data gleaned from their dealership websites.

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 trend

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.

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