Reconditioning is a critical step in getting a vehicle prepared for sale, both online and in store. If not done efficiently, this tends to be the stage that costs dealers time, money and engagement. Delays in reconditioning can create delays with merchandising, unless you have a process for getting vehicle merchandised through a proactive, phased approach.
When to start merchandising
It can take two weeks to buy, receive and fully run the vehicle through the recon and merchandising process for a single piece. But the best dealers get it done in under 4 days. How? They begin merchandising during the recon process, using technology to bridge the two together.
Begin by taking a short set of photos before reconditioning. Vehicles with a single real image receive 193% more vehicle details views than vehicles with stock photos. Remember, you can retake the set of images once reconditioning is completed. The sooner the vehicle appears online, the sooner car shoppers are seeing it. Reconditioning doesn’t have to slow down your ability to begin engaging with shoppers and building interest on your inventory.
Let technology work for you
As stated above, reconditioning and merchandising can be done simultaneously. It may seem like a big undertaking, but advancements in technology can automate a lot of the process for you. Using outdated methods, like spreadsheets, whiteboards and breakroom conversations, won’t get you as far as technology. Leveraging technology gives you, and all departments in the dealership, a firm understanding of where your car sits in the reconditioning process.
There are tools that will capture and upload images (pre and post reconditioning) to your merchandising platform, automatically generate vehicle comments and more. Successful dealers use these tools to marry the reconditioning and merchandising process by letting the technology work for them.
One size doesn’t fit all
You are the expert of your product and process, so be sure to remember that one size doesn’t fit all. Not every car will fit into your process and exceptions to their merchandising process will need to be made. Make sound judgement decisions and do what will work best for the vehicle, your employees and then your process. Remember, you’re the subject matter expert on your product!
To learn more about the benefits of blending vehicle reconditioning and merchandising, be sure to join Mike Boyd, founder of iRecon, and I at Digital Dealer 27 for our workshop “Connecting Physical and Digital Front Line Readiness to Improve Profitability.” If you’re unable to attend Digital Dealer, no worries. We will be having an in-depth webinar with Wards Auto on September 17.