Back to Basics: Keeping Listings Accurate & Updated
New smartphones. New website widgets. New privacy policies. Sometimes we can get so caught up in what’s new in technology and in marketing that we forget the fundamentals that effectively put our inventory in front of potential buyers. Sometimes we have to go Back to Basics!!
Welcome to Part 2 of our Boatline Back to Basics blog series. As leading providers of innovative solutions that connect buyers and sellers in the marine industry, we’re committed to using this blog series to help dealers reach more customers.
If you want to learn more about best practices for inventory photos, check out Part 1 of our series HERE. Today, we’re talking about the importance of keeping your online inventory accurate and updated!!
First things first, why is keeping inventory accurate and up-to-date so important? There are two main reasons why this is the case:
(1) You are hopefully already aware that today’s buyers like to do almost all of their research online, and come as close as possible to making a purchase decision, before they ever reach out to a dealer. If your online listings are incorrect, missing key information, or out-of-date, online shoppers are likely skipping you over to view more helpful listings, costing your dealership potential connections, leads, and sales without you even knowing it!
(2) It’s also worth mentioning that your reputation is on the line with your online presence. If consumers consistently find your listings to be lacking, they may begin to assume your dealership is either incompetent or, worse, intentionally trying to mislead. Instead, use accurate and updated listings to show consumers that you are an honest and competent dealer who takes pride in your inventory and wants to provide customers with the best possible purchasing experience.
So now that we know that accurate and updated listings can directly impact profits, what are those main areas of emphasis to keep in mind?
First Impression Website Design:
Your first chance to make a great first impression with clear and correct listings is through a well-designed website. Be sure that your inventory is easy to access, that all information is visible, and that sold or no-longer-available items are removed. If you’ve got special deals on select products, organize your website to put those items near the top. Similarly, keep your inventory on 3rd-party marketplaces — like Boatline — well-organized in your virtual showroom. You should be able to edit those showrooms to keep it organized, highlight certain listings, offer special incentives, and ultimately make that great first impression with obviously clear and correct listings. (We’ll talk more about website design in our next Back to Basics article!)
Comprehensive Product Description:
When selling inventory, dealers should be as specific as possible. The more up-to-date and accurate information available in your listings, the more likely you are to connect with high-quality buyers looking to make a specific purchase. Therefore, you should be including all relevant information, like the make, model, year, industry segment, engine make, new/used, and the VIN or other serial and stock numbers, just to name a few. There’s no such thing as information overload with online inventory and you want your listings to have the important keywords that can help you be discovered by interested consumers.
Upfits Increase Leads:
Marine vehicle searches that include upfit criteria are utilized by customers that know what they want and, as a result of being able to review upfit information, are more informed and have higher intentions of making a purchase when contacting a dealer. This means that dealers who provide upfit information in their vehicle listings get more clicks, more leads, and more sales. You are more likely to generate leads and close sales if your listings are updated with accurate upfit information.
Picture Perfect Listings:
Buyers are always going to want to know what a piece of inventory looks like before they buy it, and they deserve as much if they are going to spend their hard-earned money. Boosting sales with images relies on a simple aspect of human nature: we are visual beings who interpret images “instantly, while language… [takes] more time to process.” When photos are added to listings, your sales pitch begins instantaneously — at a fundamental level of human perception — making it more likely a consumer notices your listings and gives them further attention. (Our previous Back to Basic article covered Best Practices for Inventory Photos, which you can read HERE.)
Can You Hear/Email/Visit Me Now?
If your number one goal is to connect with potential buyers, then the contact information in your listings must also be up-to-date and accurate. Double check that your email and phone numbers are correct and that you’ve provided your address. If possible, embed a map-to-dealership feature so that consumers can get directions right to your door! Finally, it’s important to strengthen customer relationships by nurturing connections through multiple channels, so listings should include LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and other relevant social media links.
Show Me the Money:
Some dealers fear that providing pricing details up-front might scare consumers away, and that they need to be eased into a financial discussion. That could be true in a face-to-face interaction, but remember that most of today’s online buyers want as much information as possible before they contact a dealer. For online listings to be most effective at bringing in leads and sales, product pricing should also be updated and accurate. To be truly comprehensive, include the full price, monthly payment prices, and rental prices by the day, week, and month — whichever are relevant to your business.
It’s a simple thing to keep online inventory listings updated and accurate, and it’s incredibly beneficial to a dealership, easily connecting them with high-quality buyers and contributing to their positive reputation. That’s why it’s surprising when so many dealers seem to forget the basics. Website design, product descriptions, upfit data, dynamic photos, contact information, and pricing details are all great ways to get back to the basics of online commercial sales by maximizing your exposure potential and setting yourself up for success!!
Boatline is a next generation marketplace powered by Trader Interactive, an industry leader in online advertising for recreational and commercial industry dealers. Marine Dealers have access to premier tools for advertising their locations and inventory, researching prices and scarcity, as well as top-of-the-line lead generation tools. Our mission is to bring buyers and sellers together through our advanced insights, next generation platform, and intuitive search capabilities. We want to bring a better digital buying and selling experience to the marine industry!