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Best Dealer’s Guide to Vehicle Merchandising

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The Best Guide to Vehicle Merchandising

Table of Contents

5 Min Read

In today’s competitive auto market, vehicle merchandising is key to standing out. It involves presenting cars in the best possible light to attract buyers. Effective vehicle merchandising can significantly boost your dealership’s sales by making your inventory more appealing and accessible. From high-quality photos to detailed descriptions, every element plays a role in capturing customer interest.

So, are you ready to boost your sales? Read on to find the best practices and tips for vehicle merchandising!


What is Vehicle merchandising?

Vehicle merchandising involves promoting and selling cars by making them visually appealing and easy to locate. This includes sorting and filtering inventory, tracking the age of vehicles, and identifying cars in the service department. It encompasses every interaction between your dealership and customers, from ads and websites to conversations with sales staff. The goal is to present a car in the best possible light, both on the lot and online, to attract buyers and boost sales.

A strong automotive merchandising strategy means optimizing these interactions to enhance customer experience and drive sales. This process starts with making your inventory stand out visually, encouraging potential buyers to take an interest. Effective car merchandising helps your dealership display cars effectively, providing all necessary information to customers. You can increase the likelihood of successful sales and improve customer satisfaction.



Why is Vehicle Merchandising Important to Your Dealership?

Cars don’t sell themselves, and others might be trying to sell vehicles similar to yours to your potential customers. That’s why a dealership needs a strong automotive merchandising strategy. Car dealership merchandising is important for your business because of various reasons. Some are listed below:

1) Get discovered by shoppers

Effective merchandising makes your car stand out both online and on the lot, attracting potential buyers who might otherwise overlook your inventory. If you make your vehicles easy to find and appealing, you draw more interest from shoppers.

2) Convincing buyers to come into your dealership

Good car marketplace merchandising includes clear and attractive ads, detailed online listings, and an inviting showroom. These elements work together to entice potential customers to visit your dealership in person, where your sales team can further engage them.


Why is Vehicle Merchandising Important to Your Dealership?


3) Converting prospective buyers into customers

Once shoppers are in your dealership, a well-organized and visually appealing display of vehicles can persuade them to make a purchase. You can increase the chances of closing a sale by providing all the necessary information and showcasing the car in its best light.

4) Encouraging customers to return to your dealership

Positive experiences with your sales process, including how well the vehicles are presented and how easy it is to find information, can lead to repeat business. Satisfied customers are more likely to return for future purchases and recommend your dealership to others.


Types of Vehicle Merchandising

Let’s look into the world of vehicle merchandising. Understanding the various methods can help automotive dealerships attract more customers and boost sales. Here’s a closer look at the different approaches used to showcase and sell cars effectively:

1) In-Person Merchandising

In-person merchandising has been around since the early 1900s, focusing on making cars look appealing to customers. This includes keeping the vehicle clean inside and out, using windshield stickers to highlight features like low mileage and great prices, and displaying the Monroney sticker for easy information. Creative displays like spinning cars, Land Rovers on fake boulders, and Carvana’s car vending machines are also used to attract attention.

2) Online Inventory Merchandising

Online inventory merchandising tries to give the same experience as in-person but on the Internet. It relies on high-quality photos and videos to show off the cars. Tools like price indicators (thumbs up, thumbs down, great deal, good deal) help buyers understand the value. However, these tools sometimes suggest lowering prices too much before customers even see the cars.

3) Online Vehicle Merchandising

Online vehicle merchandising tool for car dealers provides more information beyond just looks and price. It includes CarFax reports to show a car’s repair and accident history, VIN data to list features like premium packages, and QR codes for quick access to details on phones. These features help buyers make more informed decisions by giving them a complete view of the vehicle.

4) Advanced Online Vehicle Merchandising

Advanced online vehicle merchandising tool for car dealers uses local market data to give a better picture of a car’s value and demand. It shows how quickly a vehicle sells, how popular certain trims and colors are, and how much local supply is available. It also compares prices to similar vehicles nearby. This approach helps build trust, as buyers see the same local market information that dealers have, making them feel more confident in their purchase.


The ROI of Vehicle Merchandising

Measuring the impact of automotive marketing platforms can be tricky for marketers. Unlike traditional return on investment (ROI) metrics that directly calculate financial gains, merchandising focuses more on creating a positive customer experience. Actions like using balloons, detailing cars, or providing amenities such as coffee in service areas aim to enhance the dealership’s image and provide talking points for salespeople.


The ROI of Vehicle Merchandising


The essence of vehicle merchandising lies in influencing customer perceptions and decisions. When done effectively, it highlights key selling points such as a vehicle’s pristine condition, competitive pricing, and attractive features. For example, showcasing a car’s detailed service history or unique features can make it more appealing to potential buyers. Online car merchandising tools play a crucial role here by tracking metrics like user engagement and conversion rates, which help dealerships understand how customers interact with their inventory on digital platforms.

Dealerships can refine their merchandising strategies to improve sales outcomes and customer satisfaction. It’s about leveraging data to optimize the presentation of vehicles online, ensuring they stand out and attract more qualified buyers. Ultimately, while the direct financial ROI of merchandising actions may be challenging to quantify, their impact on customer engagement and sales effectiveness is clear in creating a compelling buying experience.


Vehicle Merchandising Companies

Here are examples of companies that provide specialized services for vehicle merchandising across different categories, helping dealerships enhance their online and in-person sales efforts through innovative tools and solutions:

Market Data

Company Service
Badges It focuses on highlighting unique features of used vehicles and distinguishing new inventory based on value, which makes a shift away from price-centric competition.
CarStory Market Report It provides detailed insights into vehicle features, and price comparisons, and evaluates whether the deal offers above, great, good, or fair market value. However, it lacks local market demand context.

Photo & Video

Company Service
DEP-i Offers comprehensive photo and video solutions specially made for effective vehicle merchandising.
Sold Online Dealer Assistant Manages inventory visuals through photos and videos, optimizing online presence and sales performance.
Cartender Known for their advanced video technology, providing engaging content for showcasing vehicles online.
SpinCar Specializes in 360-degree walkarounds and interactive merchandising technology to enhance customer engagement on dealership websites.
Glo3D Focuses on high-quality 360-degree car photography to showcase vehicles from all angles.
Tru Images Provides photo management software and tools for creating high-resolution vehicle images.
Snaplot Enables dealers to capture and upload lot photos wirelessly using smartphones or tablets, improving efficiency and shopper interaction.
Video Online Transforms vehicle photos and data into dynamic videos, enhancing online marketing efforts.
eVN AutoGraph Delivers realistic and emotionally appealing images of entire vehicle inventories, enhancing visual appeal.
SmartLot Solutions Offers a range of merchandising tools including photography, 360 spins, live video, and customizable backgrounds for a personalized customer experience.
CarData Provides full-service inventory merchandising with features like 360 vehicle tours, walkaround videos, and detailed photography to highlight vehicle features effectively.

Vehicle Description & Data

Company Service Enhances vehicle data on listings to provide a more comprehensive browsing experience for potential buyers.
PowerWriter Next Automatically generates compelling vehicle descriptions that can be customized to engage shoppers effectively.

Window Stickers

Company Service
Kelley Blue Book Window Stickers Displays comprehensive vehicle information on dealership lots, enhancing transparency and trust during the buying process.
AutoRevolution Provides customized window/monroney stickers and focuses on improving dealer websites and data services for effective auto merchandising.
DealerUPlink Offers QR code stickers for vehicles, allowing shoppers to access detailed information conveniently through their smartphones.

You can check out NuVinAir for odor-elimination services in used cars. They ensure a fresh and pleasant vehicle buying experience for customers by removing previous odors effectively. This is helpful when it comes to used car merchandising.


Tips To Have A Strong Automotive Merchandising

In the dynamic world of automotive sales, mastering effective car dealership merchandising strategies can significantly impact dealership success. From enhancing online presence to building customer trust and highlighting unique selling points, these tactics are essential for standing out in a crowded market. Let’s explore how to strengthen your auto merchandising efforts for greater sales and customer satisfaction:


Tips for Enhancing Your Dealership’s Online Vehicle Merchandising Strategy


1) Be Visible Online

In today’s market, many car buyers decide on a dealership after researching online. It’s crucial to advertise on popular platforms like and Autotrader. These sites are where potential customers start their search, so having your inventory prominently displayed increases your chances of being noticed. Being present where buyers are looking boosts your dealership’s visibility and attracts more potential buyers.

2) Give Clear Information

Transparency is key to winning over today’s consumers. Ensure that your online advertisements and vehicle listings are detailed and comprehensive. Include specific details about each vehicle’s features, condition, and history. Potential buyers appreciate knowing exactly what they’re getting and why your prices are competitive. Clear and informative listings build trust and credibility, making customers more likely to choose your dealership over others.

3) Build Trust

Trust is a cornerstone of successful automotive merchandising. Accuracy and honesty are non-negotiable. Keep your website content, vehicle listings, and pricing information up-to-date and accurate. Misleading or outdated information can quickly erode trust and deter potential buyers. Similarly, ensure that your sales team is knowledgeable, transparent, and responsive to customer inquiries. Building a reputation for reliability and integrity will enhance customer confidence and loyalty.

4) Make Your Website Appealing

Your dealership’s website is often the first impression customers have of your business. Make sure it’s user-friendly, visually appealing, and easy to navigate. High-quality, professional photos of your inventory are essential. Organize vehicle listings logically and provide intuitive search and filtering options. A well-designed website enhances the browsing experience, encourages longer visits, and increases the likelihood of converting visitors into leads and sales.

5) Highlight What Makes You Different

Differentiate your dealership by emphasizing the unique selling points of your vehicles. Highlight features that set them apart from competitors, such as low mileage, special editions, or advanced technology packages. Showcase these strengths in your advertisements, vehicle descriptions, and on your website. Demonstrating the value and benefits of choosing your dealership over others helps to attract discerning buyers who are looking for more than just the lowest price.


Best Practices for Vehicle Merchandising

To boost profits in vehicle sales, dealers need smart strategies that match what customers want. This includes managing inventory locally, using fair pricing methods, and showcasing vehicles effectively through videos and clear listings. These key practices will help dealers sell cars faster and make more money:

1. Local Focus, Broad Reach: Most dealers sell cars locally. To maximize sales, first meet local demand. Then, advertise online to reach broader markets.

2. Smart Pricing: Use data-driven pricing strategies. Avoid relying on individual expertise or outdated methods.

3. Customer-Centric Pricing: Display multiple pricing options like monthly payments alongside the list price. This helps convert more buyers.

4. Utilize Trade-Ins: Vehicles traded in can appeal to different customer demographics. Advertise them on various platforms to maximize profits.

5. Automated Advertising: Use technology to advertise vehicles across different platforms based on their features and appeal.

6. Stand-Out Listings: Differentiate your vehicle ads from others. Highlight unique features to attract buyers.

7. Video Marketing: Use videos instead of static photos to showcase vehicles. Videos engage buyers better and improve online visibility.

8. Real-Time Updates: Keep vehicle information and pricing current online. Use tech to quickly update listings and attract buyers faster.


Tips for Enhancing Your Dealership’s Online Vehicle Merchandising Strategy

Looking to enhance your dealership’s online vehicle sales? It’s more than just listing cars – it’s about creating an engaging experience for potential buyers. With 74% of customers comparing cars online before visiting, transparency is key. Below are 16 more tips that will help enhance your dealership’s online auto merchandising strategy:

1) Invest in Automotive Inventory Management and Merchandising Systems

Use good software to manage your inventory and how you present it online. This helps keep everything organized and accurate, making it easier for customers to find what they’re looking for.

2) Conduct an Inventory Analysis

Regularly check which cars are selling well and which ones aren’t. This helps you adjust what you sell and how you price it to make more money.

3) Evaluate Your Website and Digital Merchandising Presence

Make sure your website is easy to use and looks good. Your car listings should have lots of details and good pictures to attract buyers and help them decide.

4) Proper Inventory Sourcing

Get your cars from reliable places that sell good quality vehicles. This makes sure you have cars people want to buy and trust.

5) Use Metrics To Guide Strategy

Look at numbers like how many cars you sell and how many people visit your website. This helps you make smart choices about what cars to buy and how much to sell them for.

6) Know Your Vehicles’ Market

Stay up-to-date on what kinds of cars people want and what other dealers are selling. This helps you choose cars and prices that will sell well in your area.

7) Diversify Your Vehicle Inventory

Offer a variety of cars so you have something for everyone’s budget and needs. This makes more people interested in what you have to offer.

8) Utilize an Order-Based Turnover System

Sell older cars first to keep your inventory fresh and exciting. This makes customers more likely to buy because they see new options regularly.

9) Price Vehicles With Transparency In Mind

Be clear about how much your cars cost and any extra fees. This builds trust with customers and makes buying a car easier.

10) Price Vehicles Based on Time Spent on Lot

Lower the price of cars that have been on your lot for a while. This helps them sell faster and makes room for new cars.

11) Share Your Stock With Other Dealerships

Work with other dealers to sell cars faster and to more people. This lets you reach more buyers and sell more cars.

12) Best Practices for Vehicle Listing Optimization

Make your car listings look great with good pictures and clear information. This helps buyers feel confident and interested in what you’re selling.

13) Leveraging Digital Marketing Strategies

Use the internet to advertise your cars on websites and social media. This helps more people see your cars and want to buy them.

14) Creating Engaging Content for Vehicle Merchandising

Make videos and write stories about your cars to get people excited. This helps them see how great your cars are and why they should buy from you.

15) Enhancing the User Experience on the Dealership’s Website

Make sure your website is easy to use and works well on phones and computers. This makes it simple for people to find cars they like and contact you.

16) Personalization and Customer Engagement

Treat each customer well and help them find the right car. This makes them happy and more likely to come back or tell their friends about you.


Top Vehicle Merchandising Trends of 2024

In 2024, automotive marketers face a mix of challenges and opportunities. Last year, digital retailing leads increased by 38%, while overall website leads dropped by 30%. More vehicle shoppers are choosing online platforms for a more effortless buying experience. Here are the 12 trends shaping the automotive industry in 2024:

1) Automotive Buying Shifts to Online

92% of potential car buyers research online before making a purchase. Post-COVID, many, especially younger buyers, prefer digital dealers and platforms for car shopping. This trend means buyers are more informed before visiting dealerships, armed with knowledge about models, features, and prices. However, 79% still enjoy in-person shopping, so a strong online presence is crucial for dealerships.

2) Electric Vehicles (EV) Still Surge

The Electric Vehicle market is booming, with a projected revenue of $623 billion in 2024. Despite challenges like supply chain disruptions and rising costs, the EV market is growing at nearly 10% annually. EV sales have significantly increased, doubling in 2021. Marketers need to focus on promoting EV benefits like innovation and sustainability to attract buyers.

3) An Increased Demand for Hybrid Vehicles

Hybrid vehicles are gaining popularity as they offer a balance for those not ready for fully electric cars. They provide an electric driving experience without range anxiety. Major automakers saw a 50% increase in hybrid sales in the U.S. last year. Automotive companies should consider consumer readiness and preferences when transitioning to EVs.

4) Costly Cars Limit the Buying Pool

In 2023, the average new car price in the U.S. hit $48,247, limiting purchases mainly to higher-income households. This trend is expected to continue, with modest growth in car sales. Marketers should highlight value and total ownership costs to appeal to a broader audience.

5) CES 2024 Unveils Vehicles as Advanced Technology Platforms

The 2024 Consumer Electronics Show showcased the latest in vehicle technology, with companies like BMW and Mercedes-Benz integrating AI and AR into their cars. This trend towards smarter, more connected vehicles is reshaping the industry. Marketers should emphasize these technological advancements to attract tech-savvy consumers.

6) Integrating AI into Automotive Marketing Efforts

AI is becoming essential in automotive marketing, helping to predict buyer behavior and optimize ads. Tools like Power BI and Xandr use AI to enhance ad performance and cost-effectiveness. Marketers can use these tools to target potential buyers at the right time, improving overall marketing efficiency.

7) Omnichannel Marketing for a Unified Customer Journey

Consumers research cars online before visiting dealerships, often using multiple sources. Omnichannel marketing ensures a seamless experience across digital and physical platforms. Brands like Ford offer various online engagement options, ensuring consistent support and interaction throughout the buying process.

8) Embracing Sustainability in Automotive Marketing

With growing environmental concerns, many consumers prefer eco-friendly options. Brands that highlight their sustainability efforts and achievements can connect better with eco-conscious buyers. Authenticity is key, as insincere claims can harm a brand’s reputation.

9) The Rise of Cross-Device Targeting & Mobile Research

Most visits to automotive websites now come from mobile devices. Consumers use their phones to compare prices and read reviews on the go. Cross-device targeting ensures consistent engagement across all devices, making it crucial for automotive brands to optimize their online presence for mobile users.

10) Driving Engagement Through Online Video Marketing in Automotive

Over 75% of car shoppers say online videos influence their buying decisions. Formats like 360° videos can convince buyers to purchase without a test drive. Engaging video content that tells a compelling story can significantly impact buyer decisions.

11) The Rise of Conversion APIs & First-Party Data Amidst Cookie Decline

As third-party cookies become less common, conversion APIs and first-party data solutions are becoming more important. Tools like KORTX’s Axon Audience Manager help gather and organize data for targeted campaigns. These solutions ensure marketers can still gather insights and target effectively without relying on cookies.

12) Social Media for Automotive Lead Generation

Social media is a key tool in the car buying process, influencing 21% of buyers directly. Platforms like YouTube, Facebook, and Instagram are popular for research and decision-making. Post-purchase, social media remains important for communication, especially among younger consumers.



Boosting your dealership’s online vehicle merchandising can be a game-changer! It’s all about understanding how customers are shopping these days and using smart strategies to catch their eye. With expert car photography tips and handy software tools, you’ll be miles ahead of the competition. Embrace video content, social media ads, and cross-device targeting to show off your vehicles’ cool features. Just remember, that being real, honest, and relevant is key to building trust and loyalty. Keep up with the trends, and you’ll drive sales like never before!




  • Q. What is a merchandise car?

    A merchandise car is a vehicle that a dealership showcases to attract buyers, highlighting its best features and options to make it especially appealing.

  • Q. What impact does vehicle merchandising have on customer satisfaction?

    Good vehicle merchandising boosts customer satisfaction by providing clear photos and detailed information, helping customers make informed decisions, and building trust in the dealership.

  • Q. How can data analytics improve vehicle merchandising?

    Data analytics helps dealerships understand customer preferences, identify popular cars, and set competitive prices, leading to better inventory management and more effective marketing.

  • Q. How can dealerships leverage social media for vehicle merchandising?

    Dealerships can use social media to showcase cars with high-quality photos and videos, interact with potential buyers, and build a community around their brand.

  • Q. What role do 360-degree photos play in vehicle merchandising?

    360-degree photos let customers view the car from every angle, giving them a detailed virtual experience and making them more likely to buy.

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Young, enthusiastic, and curious are the three words that describe Spyne’s content team perfectly. We take pride in our work - doing extensive research, engaging with industry experts, burning the midnight oil, etc. Every word we write is aimed at solving our readers’ problems.

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