The Top Digital Merchandising Tools Every Dealership Needs

The age of the educated consumer is upon us, and they’re not wasting any time when evaluating dealerships and their inventory online. In fact, 68% of consumers say they will do most or all of their vehicle purchase processes online in the future.

That goes to show the days of window shopping are over. If this shocks you, it’s probably time to step up your digital merchandising efforts. Let’s break down modern car dealership merchandising and how to succeed in today’s digital market. 

What Is Digital Merchandising?

You’re probably familiar with merchandising as it relates to the traditional practices of the past. The usual array of interior and exterior detailing, slapping on new tires, placing the cherries at the front of the lot, and rolling out the beloved arm-flailing inflatable tube men.

But to remain relevant in today’s market, successful merchandising starts online. It’s what separates the ho-dunk, earn-a-buck dealers from the quota-crushing teams who can’t seem to keep inventory on the lot for more than a week.

Think 360° virtual walkarounds, super-sized HD photos, CARFAX® Reports, and widespread online listings.

Top Digital Merchandising Tools for Dealerships

The benefit of modern technology is that it offers a wide variety of products and tools to help dealers sell online. The downside to that, however, is getting caught up in the weeds when trying to find the most impactful tools and methods to use. 

Rest assured. We’ve created a list of options every dealer should consider when getting started.

1. Digital Media


The first and most obvious tool to include in your belt is digital media. Start by taking exterior and interior photos and videos of the vehicle after it’s been cleaned and prepped for the floor. These will be the primary items buyers look for when viewing a listing for the first time.

Remember — quality is critical, so don’t settle for the low-effort iPhone shots your cousin uses when selling his farm equipment on Craigslist.

There are a ton of services out there for dealers to take advantage of when it comes to digital media. Partner with a provider like Dealer Specialties to access HD photo features, 360° virtual walkarounds, and branded video content that is shot, edited, and published by our team of lot professionals. 

2. Window Labels and Buyers Guides


Many dealers overlook the importance of having detailed resources like these to help buyers find the right vehicle for their needs. But today’s shoppers do their research and value transparency throughout every step of the buying process, and you’re not going to hook them with snake oil marketing techniques.

Provide them with pieces that answer their questions without needing a salesperson.

Dealer Specialties can help you create custom window labels and buyer’s guides that let your inventory do the talking. Our resources offer dealership-unique branding, standout vehicle features, CARFAX® and KBB highlights, warranties, and more. 

3. Vehicle Condition Reports


“Show me the CARFAX®” is no longer a catchy slogan from a commercial — the demand has become standard practice in the industry, and you should expect it from every educated buyer. That’s why it pays to be prepared.

Go above and beyond to include vehicle condition and safety reports for every vehicle you feature on your lot or online listings. Someone sitting at home on their couch wants to know exactly what kind of car they’re looking at before they pull the trigger.

It all boils down to transparency once again, and as a dealer, it’s your responsibility to provide that. C.A.R.Score Reports make that easier than ever before. We take standard industry history reports one step further by assessing a vehicle’s interior and exterior condition without you even needing to lift a finger.

4. Listing Syndication Tools


While your website may be the ideal place for prospective buyers to view or inquire about a vehicle, it shouldn’t be their only option. Third-party sites are the most used for car shopping, used by 78% of shoppers.

Make it your goal to spread listings across as many mediums as possible to grab attention and generate leads. Third-party placements like Craigslist, social media feeds,, and AutoTrader are all fantastic resources for vehicle dealers to make selling faster and easier.

Dealer Specialties’ SmartListing™ and Inventory Feeds software ensures that you always have the right mix of inventory posted on over 500 third-party selling sites. You can also view markets and states nationwide to determine which years, makes, and models generate the most leads by location.

Get Industry-Leading Digital Merchandising Support 


Adding powerful digital merchandising tools to your arsenal is easier than you think. All it takes is the right partner to provide you with the education and resources necessary to succeed in the game. That’s where we come in. The team at Dealer Specialties creates tools that make dealers’ lives easier and move cars off the lot.

Click the link below to see how our services can shift you into high gear!


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