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3 Digital Vehicle Merchandising Best Practices | vAuto

Differentiating your used vehicles in a sea of listings might seem hard to do or even impossible — but there are steps you can take to get more shoppers’ attention and drive more sales. It all starts with understanding where to focus your efforts. And ultimately, the way you merchandise your vehicles online affects your dealership’s profitability. Presentation really does matter. It’s common sense, but while 84% of dealers believe the right approach to digital vehicle merchandising helps increase profit, only 12% think their vehicles stand out. Maybe you’re one of them. Use these best practices to help differentiate your listings.

It's All About the VDP
When today’s consumers shop online, they expect to find a wealth of product information — whether they’re buying coats or coffee or cars. Don’t disappoint your potential customers with vehicle detail pages (VDPs) that lack actual details. If your listings don’t provide enough information, shoppers won’t call you or come in with questions — they’ll just keep searching until they find the details they want in a competitor’s listings. Because these days, most car shoppers make up their minds about which vehicle they want to buy before they step into a showroom. In fact, 71% of shoppers only compare vehicles online71% of shoppers only compare vehicles online.1 And shoppers rely on VDPs for making their purchasing decisions. Here are three best practices for optimizing VDP content as part of an effective digital vehicle merchandising strategy:


  1. Create Rich, Engaging VDP Media Carousels
    Your VDP media carousel is vital — 67% of VDP visits engage with it. That’s four times more engagement than with other areas of the page! 2 What you put in the carousel will either keep shoppers engaged or nudge them to jump to another page.

Build carousels that include:

    • Unique, accurate photos and video.
      Don’t use stock images! Show shoppers exactly what each vehicle looks like, inside and out. 
    • Panoramic views to immerse shoppers.
      Make them feel like they’re looking at the car in person.
    • Text overlays to explain features.
      Help shoppers understand what they’re seeing.
    • Image overlays and billboards to build brand awareness.
      Include your logo on images, when possible, and use billboards to tout any current promotions or the benefits of working with your dealership.
    • Hot spot tagging to increase engagement.
      Help shoppers learn about the vehicle by interacting with the photos.
    • Simple backgrounds for sophistication.
      Remove distracting clutter from your photo compositions.

  1. Write Descriptions That Build Excitement and Trust

The written description on a VDP matters more for used vehicles than for new ones. Prospective buyers want to know why they should make the purchase.

Create descriptions that use:

  • Storytelling to spark interest.
    Every used vehicle has a story. Go ahead and tell it on the VDP.
  • Details that show the vehicle’s unique value.
    As we’ve said, the details matter. Point out each vehicle’s special features and the benefits they offer.
  • Transparency.
    Do all of the above while being honest. Customers will appreciate if you’re upfront about any issues.
  • Pricing, financing and warranty info.
    Include these details, along with any other special services you offer.

3. Use Vehicle Merchandising Technology Solutions

You could spend hours manually building deep, engaging VDPs according to the best practices above — or you could do it in a few minutes with today’s vehicle merchandising solutions.

vAuto offers two vehicle merchandising technology solutions that help your VDPs stand out while saving you time:

Use this app on your smartphone to capture three-dimensional shots of each vehicle’s interior and exterior, delivering a more immersive shopping experience to increase online engagement and sales.

This solution makes it easy to add your dealership’s branding to your carousel and create unique stories that shoppers will notice, driving engagement and sales. The new advanced backgrounding feature lets you choose a stock background or upload your own and apply it to exterior vehicle photos for a sleek, professional look.

Additionally, you might not think of ProfitTime® GPS as vehicle merchandising technology, but successful dealers use it to develop merchandising strategies based on each vehicle’s ROI potential. The solution helps you know the right merchandising story to tell based on the profit you expect to make, and it identifies the vehicles that need remerchandising or repricing in order to sell.

When used together as vehicle merchandising solutions, ProfitTime GPS, SnapLot 360 and Intelligent Promotion give you exceptional merchandising power.


To see how our vehicle merchandising solutions will benefit your dealership, request a demo today.

1Cox Automotive Car Buyer Journey 2021.

2Ongoing website behavior analysis 2021, user experience team.