Digital Merchandising Tools for Automotive Dealerships

The days of window shopping at used vehicle dealerships are over. If that comes as a shock to you, well, it's probably time to step up your digital merchandising efforts. 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, 81% of consumers research products online before making a significant purchase.


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

In today’s industry, however, successful merchandising takes place online in digital formats. 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. 


The benefit of modern technology offers a wide variety of products and tools out there 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.

Digital Media

The first and most obvious tool to include in your belt is digital media. Digital media is often referred to as a strategic blend of content and technology, which is definitely the case when it comes to its uses in vehicle sales.

Including digital media in online listings should always be your top priority. 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. It’s important to also keep quality in mind. In other words, don’t settle for the low-effort iPhone shots your cousin uses when selling his farm equipment on Craigslist.

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

Window Labels and Buyers Guides

After digital media on listings lures in prospects, informative window labels and buyers guides set the hook. Oftentimes, many dealers overlook the importance of having detailed resources like these to help buyers find the right vehicle for their needs. 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 the need of a salesperson. 

Dealer Specialties can help you create custom window labels and buyers guides that let your inventory do the talking. Our resources offer dealership unique branding, standout vehicle features, CARFAX® and KBB highlights, warranties, and more. The best part? They’re made to order when you need them and are available in both digital and print formats.

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. These pieces can oftentimes be your strongest lead generator and give prospective buyers the guaranteed peace of mind they’re looking for. 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 from Dealer Specialties makes that easier than ever before. We take standard industry history reports one step further by assessing the interior and exterior condition of a vehicle without you even needing to lift a finger.

Online Listing Services

Ok, so you’ve followed our advice and included all the aforementioned bits in your website’s online listing. It should be good to set-n-forget, right? Wrong. 

While your website may be the ideal place for a prospective buyer to view or inquire about a vehicle, it definitely shouldn’t be their only option. Up to 65% of shoppers are more likely to visit a third-party site before they visit your dealership’s website. 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.


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 for stepping up 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. 

Sign up for a custom quote or demo today and see firsthand how our services can shift you into high gear. 

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