Standardized Math Boxes Convert Auto Shoppers
Standardized Math Boxes Convert Auto Shoppers

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Pricing and advertising a new or CPO vehicle is an intricate science which drives sales volume, inventory turn and profitability for dealers.  Industry software providers use online pricing for many analytic solutions including recommended advertised price, adjustments for dealers to remain competitive on vehicles in their local market and profit margins specific to trim/package options and targeted VINs and inventory age.  Each vehicle has specific incentive offers that are unique at the model, trim, option package and VIN levels needing OEM and in some cases state requirements to meet pricing and advertising compliance.

Current pricing practices are inconsistent and lack the consistent level of pricing detail and disclosures across advertising channels leading to poor performing listings, higher expenses, and lost profit.  This in turn leads to consumers abandoning SRP/VDP’s, decreased ROI for advertising and result in shopper mistrust and poor CSI.  Foundations for pricing vehicles using standardized math box displays fall into one of the below practices:

  • MSRP minus rebates and dealer discounts (above & below the net price line)
  • Minimum Advertised Price (MAP)
  • Multiple Offers (pricing & payments) using “best advertised deal scenarios”

Each dealer market represents unique competitive pricing (and payment) points based on how consumers transact or finance their vehicle purchase.  For example, large metro, East, and West coast markets have high lease penetration with OEM’s supporting those markets using aggressive lease payments; conversely, buyers in rural areas, Midwest and farm/ranch/manufacturing markets are shopping best APR financing rates, rebates, cash discounts and independent lender financing.  How a dealer advertises their inventory depends on their market and the vehicles they stock.

The pricing structures listed above bring clarity to pricing and are a foundation for building shopper trust while conforming to OEM and state compliance requirements.  Best practices for using pricing standardization within inventory listings and advertisements include:

  1. Line item all guaranteed incentives on the specific vehicle (VIN) within the deal scenario being advertised (captive finance/lease, cash, independent lender APR’s, APR/cash combos and standard rates)
  2. Determine whether your OEM/state have requirements for listing incentive offers above or below the net price line.  Below the line conditional offers (loyalty, conquest, college grad, military, etc.) are based on qualification (use links to qualifying terms) and not included in the net price
  3. Provide default values for down payment/trade and APR’s for payment offers.  Using dynamic pricing technology, the default value rules will support advertised offers and OEM/state compliance
  4. Implementing interactive pricing tools for consumers to use for adjusting published offers give consumers a real time self desking tool for reaching their desired transaction structure and payment
  5. Syndicate a single set of offers to all advertising channels for consistency (tiers 1 – 3 websites, shopping portals, listing sites and traditional media via radio, TV, and newspaper) and consumer trust

Consumers are conditioned to begin the vehicle transaction online using the advertised price.  Providing shoppers with consistent, easily understood math boxes, pricing, payments, and deal scenarios within listings will increase shopper engagement and conversion.  This delivers a tailored offer based on local market purchase trends and delivers improved advertising ROI, sales efficiency and profitability while improving the buyer experience, a win – win for all parties.

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