Price to Profit, Not to Market - AutoSuccessOnline

Price to Profit, Not to Market

The used car business is more complicated than ever, with the availability of advanced pricing tools and marketing data transparency.

As a velocity dealer, you’re doing everything by the book to sell your used car inventory. You’re pricing your vehicles to market. You’re tracking the number of days you can hold inventory before selling it. Even your SRP and VRP results are performing well, maybe even surpassing expectations. And you know how each individual product in your inventory stacks up against identical competitive vehicles in your market.

Yet even as your used vehicle inventory turn rates have increased, your grosses have suffered. You’re selling more, perhaps, but making less on the deals. And trying to make money by losing money has never been a successful business model.

Clearly, something’s not working. How did we get here?

What One Successful Dealership Discovered
Even with all their success, a leading dealership with more than 12,000 units in annual sales realized it had a used inventory problem. For the purpose of this story, let’s refer to the company as Alpha Dealership, a made-up name.

Like many dealerships today, Alpha Dealership had become a velocity dealer and focused its used car sales efforts on increasing their inventory turn rate. They had invested in advanced used car pricing tools and optimized their used car operations to a great extent. On the surface, it appeared to be a solid strategy, volumes were up and profitability was good.

Unfortunately, their net gross margins were down.

Beware of Price Erosion
The way Alpha Dealership was pricing their used cars was considered the industry’s standard for a “best practice.” They considered three variables: inventory, time to sell and price to market. That practice resulted in high turn rates, which was good, but they realized that their gross profit was eroding. They needed to find a way to squeeze a better ROI out of each sale by considering both turn rates and gross profits.

The dealership dug deeper into their data and uncovered problems with this so-called best practice. For example, why was their pricing system always pushing them to meet market price? Did SRPs and VDPs support their business model? Were they inadvertently building a business model of discounting a vehicle until it sold? Were velocity and turns the main criteria for delivering ROI? Finally — and perhaps more importantly — was there a way to increase gross profit while keeping the turns at the same level?

Alpha Dealership concluded that a faster turn rate, even at a lower price point, would generate a higher overall revenue and decent gross profit.

Missing Data Found
Even if a company is already utilizing standard metrics for improving used vehicle inventory turn rates, such as price to market and inventory rankings, they may not be leveraging other key data in their internal systems or outside sources. They could be missing out on data that could help them make smarter decisions about pricing, marketing and disposition of used vehicles.

In the case of Alpha Dealership, the company did everything by the book as a velocity dealer to improve turning their used vehicle inventory. Initially, they were comfortable with the metrics they were tracking but, ultimately, not happy with the results.

Analytics Rule
There are two major levers for selling a specific used vehicle: pricing and promotion. Used car pricing tools can tell you about the market price and interest in the vehicle based on VDPs and SRPs. However, it’s the dealership’s unique sales DNA that reveals pricing strength and interest in the vehicle.

So, how could Alpha Dealership use that mix of third-party and internal information to determine the specific pricing and promotion decision for each vehicle on their lot?

They needed to apply expert decision intelligence that could crunch through internal and external data sources and calculate the specific pricing and promotion gap. This intelligence showed them where they needed to reduce the price, where they had the opportunity to increase the price and the requirement for promoting the visibility of each vehicle.

In short, they were able to maximize their used car profitability by using intelligent pricing algorithms.

The Bottom Line
Systematic decision intelligence worked for Alpha Dealership. The company’s used vehicle business generated 11 percent more profit while volume increased 13 percent. When combined with the reduced wholesale losses, their used vehicles business profit improved by 15 percent.

It’s called Big Data Analytics for a reason. Don’t be afraid to use it.

You May Also Like

How to Boost Appointment Conversions with Positive First Impressions

It’s crucial to equip your staff with effective phone handling strategies that can make a lasting impression and persuade callers to choose your dealership.

Your dealership only has seven seconds to make a positive first impression with potential buyers. Oftentimes, a first impression is made before your leads walk through your doors. Prospective buyers typically invest a significant amount of time conducting research and reaching out to different stores to determine where they’d like to purchase their vehicle. Therefore, it becomes crucial to equip your staff with effective phone handling strategies that can make a lasting impression and persuade callers to choose your dealership. By implementing these proven strategies, you can help your dealership stand out against the competition and greatly enhance customer experience.

Why Data Security Must Be a Priority in Today’s Automotive Retail Market

Dealers who gain a better understanding of data security and how data relates to industry trends will ultimately find themselves in a better position to achieve long-term goals.

The Digital Dilemma: How to Rethink Sales and Delivery to Drive a Successful Car Buying Future

By taking the right steps, traditional car dealers can still compete, win and flourish, even as digital sales become more prolific.

Revolutionizing Auto Service: How Digital Tools Are Transforming the Auto Dealership Landscape

Remote diagnostics, over-the-air updates, faster service appointments and less vehicle downtime all represent the emerging reality of remote automotive services.

147,348 Reasons Why Customer Experience & Dealership Loyalty Matter – The Power of a Point

That’s the annual average revenue increase a dealership can expect to realize by raising its customer satisfaction score by a single point.

Other Posts

In a Fickle Market, How Do We Continue Winning Customers for Life?

It is imperative to ask the right questions to find out what motivates your customers. Getting to know the customer means getting to know their needs and that benefits everyone. 

Alarming Number of Dealers Are Still Not Ready for This Year’s Safeguards Rule — Here’s What to Know

The ruling oversees how financial institutions protect consumer data, and dealerships must implement changes to protect their consumer data.

Before You Make a Video…

Here are a few tips for creating value proposition, service special or test-drive videos. With a little planning you can quickly produce high-quality videos for your dealership.

taking video of car with phone
How AI is Improving Customer Engagement Rates in Automotive

Why is AI the perfect strategic partner for dealerships? What methods does AI use and why does it integrate so well into dealerships?

artificial intelligence for dealerships