Stocking Your Digital Shelves to Reach More Shoppers

shopping cart in grocery isle

Online retail is still retail – for dealerships, that means your vehicles have to be merchandized online, even if they're purchased in person.

Let’s take a journey back in time to the days before the internet. We had to work to gather the information we needed. Word of mouth was our social media. The original review sites were the opinions of our friends and family. The yellow pages were our search engine.

Behavior Shift

Once the information was literally at our fingertips, research took minutes, not hours or days. We as consumers have evolved along with the technology, taking product research into our own hands.

Today’s digital space is so prominent that when we have a question at any time we simply Google it.

Perhaps you know exactly what you are looking for, but don’t know where to get it – or, perhaps you have no idea what you are looking for. Either way, most of our interactions with products online now start with a search engine.

In fact, 78% of your consumers are leveraging search engines1 during their car buying journey. Expanding your digital presence beyond your dealership’s website gives you the opportunity to meet the needs of those shoppers.

Stocking your Digital Shelf

Grocery stores are carefully crafted based on consumer research, with shelves arranged to cater to different types of buyers. In the same way your display ads should be strategically placed where they will be the most relevant and maximize click through rates.

Bottom Shelf

Savvy shoppers know where to find the best deals; this shelf represents the shoppers who know what they are searching for. They use keywords that include the make, model, and sometimes dealership name in their searches. Often, they will be led to third party dealer sites that let them compare all different makes and models in one place.

To appear on the shelf where your most savvy shoppers are, make sure you are showing up on those third party sites that compare all vehicles within a given zip code. Be where your most knowledgeable shoppers are looking first.

Top Shelf

This is the space where your brand enthusiasts are sharing their experiences. YouTube channels and vehicle forums that cater to a specific audience provide guidance, add value, and promote your brand.

By placing your digital ads on sites like these, you are able to leverage the brand advocacy of influencer marketing.

Middle Shelf

This is prime real estate in grocery stores. This shelf provides ease and convenience as patrons go about their shopping, falling perfectly eye-level with the consumer.

About 30% of people’s online activity is devoted to social media, providing the perfect middle shelf for the digital world. Make it convenient for your car buyers to get back to your website from the places they spend the majority of their time. The micro-moments created on social media can be a powerful tool for your dealership.

Understanding the Consumer

The important factor here is not the level of the shelf, but understanding that all buyers are different. It is hard to pinpoint what they are thinking at all times, but their actions can be enlightening.

Following customers’ online behaviors can help you formulate a digital ad strategy that is there for them whenever the need arises. Implement a strategy that utilizes each of the digital shelves and start driving the kind of traffic that will boost your bottom line.


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