automotive merchandising
5 Min Read

8 Essential Vehicle Merchandising Practices- Get Your Inventory Management Right

Table of Contents

Imagine! After spending almost 15 hours on the internet and scrolling through a hundred websites and dealership pages, a car buyer finally finds his car on your site. He clicks on it, but your VDP shows it as ‘Out of Stock’ or ‘Currently Unavailable’ in big and bold red font. Being highly disappointed, the buyer abandons your site, while you lose a big-fat chance of conversion!  

Worse, the buyer remembers this and avoids you whenever he sees your brand on the internet again.

In a reverse situation, you keep stocking age-old pre-owned vehicles on your floor and completely forget about them. A buyer lands on your website and searches for some trending model. But all that he can see are obsolete cars on your VDP that no longer meet anyone’s desire or needs. 

This is where inventory management and product catalog optimization come into play. Any kind of overstocking or understocking in vehicle merchandising can not only cost you revenues but also hamper the brand image in the long run. 

This blog elaborates on why you need inventory management and the eight best ways to ace it. So, let’s dive in. 

Why do you need to care about inventory management? 

Vehicle merchandising involves dealing with innumerable vehicles and their models. That’s why dealers often lose track of what’s in the inventory and the catalog. 

Research says around 32 percent of dealers had a used inventory size of 100-300 vehicles in November 2021. 

Besides, an average car dealer is known to add more than 89 used vehicles to their car catalog every month! 

This large number of vehicles often brings down the quality of a car catalog, affecting your sales. 

Apart from this, you need to care more about inventory management and product catalog optimization because: 

  • It helps improve your SEO. Liquidating older vehicles within an ideal period and making space for newer and trending cars will help you gain a spot in the SERPs
  • You will get more visits to your website when your car catalog appears in search queries and alternate searches. 
  • You get rid of obsolete vehicles or cars with near-exhausted demand at the desired price. 

ALSO READ: 10 High Conversion Practices For Your Car VDP Pages

8 Best Ways to Ace Inventory Management for Successful Vehicle Merchandising

An exceptional inventory management strategy is a crucial way to take your vehicle merchandising to the next level. Here are a few tricks that will help you champion inventory management and ensure efficient product catalog optimization. 

1. Conduct Inventory Analysis at Regular Intervals

The first step of inventory management is to analyze your inventory from time to time. You need to identify and define your inventory lot on the floor and answer questions like: 

  • What needs immediate disposal? 
  • For which cars do I need to make shelf space? 

In addition to this, inventory analysis will also help you conduct product catalog optimization by tracking key qualities like:

  • Price Parameters
  • Average acquisition time
  • Turnover cycles
  • Average buy and sell time

2. Implement Dealership Management System (DMS) tools

DMS solutions can help optimize your car catalog and inventory while ensuring a higher ROI. It offers a suite of super tools that help you automate tasks related to inventory and car catalogs and get a real-time update of the movement of vehicles. 

While choosing a DMS solution, always check if the tools are mobile-compatible. This way, you can manage and alter details in the product catalog on the go. 

ALSO READ: Pro Tip To Sell More Cars Online- Personalize Buying Experience

3. Focus on Inventory Sourcing

Getting inventory at the right price is critical for successful inventory management. Acquiring a used vehicle at a higher price that has no demand among buyers can create havoc for your automotive merchandising. 

So, before you start sourcing inventory, always define: 

  • How often are those vehicles acquired?
  • Where were they acquired? 
  • What are the trade-in decision metrics?
  • What would be the remarketing efforts? 

Also, try to dig up as much history about the car as possible. This will help you add transparency to the info highlighted on the VDP. 

4. Know the Market of Every Vehicle present in Your Car Catalog

This is in line with the previous trick. You cannot survive in the long run if you keep adding obsolete or exhaustive vehicles to your car catalog. Effective auto merchandising calls for data-driven inventory decisions that come from an in-depth analysis of a vehicle’s market. 

Find out from keyword research what car buyers are searching for the most online. Then go for a product catalog optimization to land in those search queries. 

Suggested Read: Actionable Tips for Dealerships to Survive the Crazy Car Market Right Now

5. Website Analysis

Optimizing your digital presence and online product catalog is crucial to improve your vehicle turnaround time. 

92 percent of buyers search for cars online. Also, more than 20 million people search for cars through Facebook vehicle listing each month. 

To tap into these buyers, you need to update your inventory listings across all these channels and rank in searches. Also, ensure that these listings are free of errors and include every detail of vehicles. 

Make sure they have all the pieces of info regarding features and pricing. 

ALSO READ: Use These 7 Tricks to Boost Your Car Dealership Website Online

Bonus Tip: 

While we talk about optimizing catalogs and listings, ensuring high-impact visuals and images is another vital factor. A bad quality visual or video can ruin a buyer’s experience as they have a hard time matching those images with the car details mentioned. 

By reading this, if you are thinking of huge expenditures and setting up a turntable studio with professional photographers, then you are wrong! You don’t need any of these complications in your life. All you need to do is: 

  • Download the Spyne app on your smartphone. 
  • Open your camera using the app. 
  • Follow the on-screen guide. 
  • Add custom or template backgrounds. 
  • Start creating high-impact visuals and ensure accurate shadows and color effects. 
  • The icing on the cake: you can also shoot 360-degree walkaround videos and capture them from the right angles. 
  • The app will do a quality check of your videos and visuals and recommend changes wherever necessary. 

Upload them on the website and social media dealership pages and call it a day. 

Book a demo by clicking here. Or, read more about our service here.

6. Price your inventory keeping the turnaround cycle in mind

Keep in mind the demand and turnaround cycle before you price your inventory lot. If you think a vehicle will shed some of the market shares in the coming days, don’t keep a high price for it. Buyers won’t pay more for something that’s losing demand, and those cars will occupy unnecessary space on your shelf. 

Also, make sure to price them competitively. Buyers are willing to travel and pay more if your car catalog matches their wishlist. 

7. Ensure a Fresh Inventory and Take Care of Aged Inventory

Don’t stall your vehicle market conversions by occupying your inventory with aged vehicles. Make sure that 50 percent of your aged inventory is not staying longer than 30 days. Speaking of used vehicles, try selling them within 45 days of acquisition. This will keep depreciation and wear and tear in control. Also, take note of what buyers are looking for. It will also help you decide what’s aged inventory and what’s not. 

Additionally, keep reconditioning aged inventory and stay on top of it. Invest in timely repairs and service to make them look fresh and reduce the time for selling. 

8. Ensure an Accurate Inventory Mix

Can you eat a burger with just lettuce or cabbage leaves inside it? Or just onion rings, maybe? Impossible, isn’t it? Similarly, you need a variety of ingredients, a.k.a. cars, and vehicles of various makes and models, if you want your inventory to move. 

Track the latest auto trends to create the right inventory mix, and stay at the top of buyers’ minds. 

ALSO READ: What is CASE Auto Trend? How Car Sellers Must Adapt for Future

Final Word

Hopefully, this blog will help you sort out inventory management for vehicle merchandising. With these eight tricks up your sleeves, you will not only enhance your inventory mix but also stay amidst buyers’ searches and preferences.

Further, if you want to dive deeper into what inventory management for a used car dealership looks like, check out our blog: What is Inventory Management for Used Car Dealership: Beginner’s Guide.


An inventory manager at a car dealership is responsible for: 

  • Maintains the auto parts department
  • Maintains a logical location for all parts
  • Implements best practices to reduce departmental thefts
  • Ensures minimum wear and tear and obsolescence
  • Monitors order placements, sourcing, and schedules
  • Analyze inventory reports daily.

    And much more…

  • Follow these few quick steps: 

  • Learn the markets for each vehicle in your catalog. What’s popular in your neighboring region might not be everyone’s favorite in your town.
  • Strategize and define business objectives and be sure they are measurable and attainable. 
  • Your catalog should reflect buyers’ preferences. Further, take a deep dive into automotive trends. If you find something in your inventory that might lose relevance in the near term, try to sell them within 60 days. 
  • Learn which platform is right for you and target your buyers subtly and smartly. Don’t haunt them with your promotional messages and ads wherever they go. 

  • There are numerous techniques to boost inventory management practices. A few of them include: 

  • Six sigma: A data-based approach to remove waste from the inventory.
  • Lean six sigma: Combines lean management and six sigma practices to increase efficiency.
  • FIFO: First In First Out
  • LIFO: Last In First Out
  • Just In Time (JIT): To maintain the lowest inventory levels.
  • Lower Cost or Market Inventory: To align inventory with replacement costs
  • Specific identification method: To maintain accuracy while tracking the actual costs of goods sold against exhausting inventory.

  • Written by

    Team Spyne

    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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