Why You Need to Give Customers a Transparent Vehicle Pricing Tool

March 7, 2016

When customers arrive at your showroom, don’t be surprised if the first thing they do is pull out their smartphone. More than half of all people are using a mobile device to help them through the car buying process, and the same people are using their phones while they’re on your lot.

But what are they looking for?

What are they doing once they find it?

Recent studies of cell phone use at a dealership show that what customers find—or what they don’t find—might cause them to turn around and walk out the door.

Transparent Vehicle Pricing Tools Can Keep Customers on Your Lot

A recent Insights study found that mobile research causes consumers to visit additional dealerships. Overall, 72% of shoppers using a mobile device on the lot are more likely to visit additional dealerships. As many as 62% of customers who used a mobile device while in a showroom decided to visit another store the same day.

It’s clear these people are ready to buy a car, but what are they looking for on their phone that is causing them to take their business elsewhere? How can you go above and beyond to be a customer’s first and last point of interaction?

Data shows most people are trying to compare prices and may be drawn to another dealership because they think they can get a better deal. They’re not just “showrooming,” though. Customers will also look at trusted third parties like Kelley Blue Book,, and TrueCar to estimate car values and calculate what their trade-in is worth.

If you don’t want that to happen, the solution is to give your customers the resources they want on your website and to make sure those tools work well in mobile browsers. You need to give consumers a seamless shopping experience.

That means providing clear explanations for all pricing questions. Your digital showroom should offer as many answers as the physical one. Customers want to know why the listed price differs from the MSRP. They want to know why two used cars of the same make and year have different prices. They want to know how you appraised the value of their trade-in.

With proper vehicle merchandising, you can answer all of these questions and more. With one touch, your customers should be able to pull up all the information they need on a car, including equipment, highlights, vehicle history, and more. This sort of information gives a snapshot of the vehicle that customers will understand.

By being transparent with your customers, you will earn their trust and prevent them from seeking a better deal somewhere else.

The Price is Right with a Solid Inventory Management Platform

The thing about giving your customers the right vehicle pricing tools is that you also have to give them the right price. As Google puts it, each customer will come to that “Am-I-getting-a-deal” moment, and when that time comes, you and your sales team need to be consistent.

Consistency comes from good data and advanced analytics, which you can get from an inventory management platform designed around the current automotive ecosystem. That kind of platform will help you answer questions about stocking, acquisition/appraisal, and pricing.

  1. What are the best selling cars in your market?
  2. Which cars does your store move fastest?
  3. What are your strengths?

You should know which cars the customers in your community are looking for before they’re even in the hunt for a car.

  1. How much should a used car sell for?
  2. How much can you offer for that trade-in that will close the deal while still maximizing your profit?

Appraisal tools that are tapped into current industry data and trends will make sure your dealership doesn’t lose out.

Customers are always going to wonder if they’re getting a good deal, and a combination of transparency and consistency can help you convince them that they are. The best deals are the ones that are as good for you as they are for your customer, which means you need tools that benefit both of you.

If you don’t think your dealership has those essential vehicle pricing tools, it’s never too late to seek help.