How Auto Dealers Can Adjust Marketing Strategies When Inventory Is Low


There’s no denying the shortage in inventory these days. Between the global chip supply shortage affecting new cars getting manufactured, and the fiery hot used car market spiking up prices, many dealers are working with a mere fraction of what they’re used to. The good news is that buyers are still motivated to close the deal.

The question for dealers becomes how to best steer people toward their lots when the inventory is limited, and sometimes with models that are less in demand. It comes down to highlighting what you do have, finding creative ways to get your stock up, and presenting each vehicle in the best possible light. We’ll look at what can be done to appeal to customers who are in the market for a ride.

How to Adapt Marketing to Fit the Situation

Here’s how you can start building your strategy during a tight time:

Don’t Wait Until It Gets There

In this climate, you can’t wait until your inventory gets there. Once you know it’s on the way, it’s time to flaunt it. Include it on your website. The average person takes about 2.5 months to actually buy a vehicle, so that buys you a bit of time in most cases, but also ensures that customers can find what they’re looking for on your site before pursuing other dealer options.

Plus, you have the opportunity to build anticipation, which can go a long way toward hooking a lead. You can establish yourself as the brand expert right at the top of the funnel, which can help build loyalty with a customer who could have just as easily gone another way.

Switch to Monthly Rates

Now is the time to present your inventory in the best possible light. More demand means higher prices, which is far from the message that most dealers would want to send to their audience. This may mean repositioning information to appeal to budget-conscious shoppers.

So instead of advertising purchase prices in your online ads, you might consider switching to monthly rates. This will give buyers the chance to calculate their budgets without letting sticker shock cloud their decision.

Use Your Data Wisely

It’s no secret that trade-ins are serious business for dealers right now, and are a great way to improve stock. If dealers can’t get inventory from auctions or imports, they have to rely on what’s already available. The value of a car, truck, or SUV trade-in varies regionally. 

Now would be a good time to start connecting with people who own the vehicles you want to sell. For instance, if used Civics are in high demand, you might offer owners attractive terms to trade theirs in. Even if dealers pay more than expected, the profits can be considerable in this climate. 

Double Up on Your Facebook Automotive Inventory Advertising

Your ad budgets are better spent promoting what you do have to people who are already in the market. Facebook Automotive Inventory Advertising uses dynamic display to reach people who have already viewed your inventory pages on your website, showing them the makes and models they’re interested in. This makes it that much more likely for them to remember your dealership name when it comes time to shop.

Dynamic ads automatically update based on what’s on your lot, making it possible for people to get real-time information before they ask about a particular model. The more accurate your inventory feed is, the better the overall experience will be. It’s a great way to improve your ROI without spending months designing elaborate campaigns and implementing complicated algorithms.

Ongoing Inventory Shortage

We’re expected to see the inventory shortage lasting until at least Q3 or longer. As the summer months heat up, traditionally so do the deals for car buyers. Auto dealers have proven themselves to be adaptable, and that skill will allow them to continue to make the most of their short supply. Doing so, however, requires creativity. In some cases, this will mean concentrating on more targeted social media strategies. Through platforms like Facebook, you can meet car buyers on their terms. In others, it will mean fleshing out supply by pinpointing car owners with popular models who are willing to trade-up.

These strategies maximize your resources and help inspire more customers to come to your showroom when it comes time to buy. Use them to navigate the next few months, and you’ll be that much more prepared to welcome new inventory as times normalize.

Written by

Demand Local

Demand Local empowers Automotive Advertising & Marketing Agencies to Scale and Grow their Businesses. Our Digital Ad Infrastructure was built from the ground-up specifically to serve the Automotive Sector by unifying our proprietary technology with some of the industry’s leading media and technology services. Demand Local is a pioneer in adopting newer media, and technologies to better bridge the gap between advertisers and buyers.

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