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"Get your ePrice" for new car inventory?

Discussion in 'Inventory Software Support & Best Practices' started by Dan Dulgheru, Mar 26, 2011.

  1. Dan Dulgheru

    Dan Dulgheru Noob

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    Hello
    What is your opinion about using call2action "Get your ePrice" for new car inventory?
    Can you explain what is your strategy when you use this call2action?
    Thanks
  2. Andrew Carr

    Andrew Carr Getting Refreshed

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    This is a double-edged sword. We are currently using it in our store and like a lot of things we try in this business there are pros and cons.

    The upside to this is that it engages more people and creates more leads. We use this on the new car side on our dealer site and it has increased our leads without damaging our closing ratio. The down side to this is that you are encouraging a price-based discussion and a lot of your first conversations result in the "listen man, I was just trying to get a price." type of resistance. So far the overall effect on our store has been positive.

    The key for us in working these leads, like most leads has been that when you can you want to engage these people on the phone first and ask for the appointment. Many times when you reach these people you will learn that the car they requested e-pricing on wasn't really the car they wanted anyway...the customer is just trying to get a guage on "if" you will provide them with pricing before they visit. From there you can take the discussion a million different directions.
  3. Dan Dulgheru

    Dan Dulgheru Noob

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    Thanks!
    The conclusion is that the result is positive, not negative. From your experience can you tell me please which version call2action has a better rate lock: "Get ePrice" or "Make me an offer?
  4. Andrew Carr

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    Personally, I am not a fan of the "make an offer" button in any fashion. Let's face it, the offer is almost NEVER going to be reasonable. The one saving grace with the "get e-price" button is that YOU as the dealership get to throw out the first number. Just like if you have a customer in your showroom you want to present the proposal. Starting your conversation trying to overcome your clients lowball is not a position I want to be in once I make my first contact. Especially since the client isn't even standing in my showroom yet.

    There are many ways to skin a cat and I am not claiming to be the king of the internet here, but the call to action buttons that I have found effective after much toying around are: contact dealer, get more info, get e-price. The first two are about the only things I have on my used (we don't offer an e-price on used). I believe that on used cars if you get the lead in the first place you are getting it because the vehicle is merchandised well and appropriately priced. If you know of another way to get a used car lead I would be happy to hear about it!

    On new I think the consumer wants to know what the "deal" is. They are confused by incentives, programs, etc. and they are looking to have it all spelled out in some fashion. Our e-price is available to help our clients feel armed and prepared.

    We NEVER imply that our e-Price will be the lowest. All of our correspondense from the time we receive the lead is promising a fast response, an accurate response, and a fair price.

    Good luck to you!
  5. davidmoon

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    I saw the "eprice" on a site yesterday. As a consumer, I don't get why there's a different eprice? It screams gimmick. I would rather email or call to get a price--or be prompted to do so. Consumers know that price is often negotiable, and they just want a base to deal with.
  6. Alex Snyder

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    The best way to do things is to actually price your inventory. Consumers have done a lot of research before visiting you or your website; they know what the price is, so you should accommodate them as the rest of the Internet does. Yes, a consumer is conditioned to expect a price without having to ask for it, and they're conditioned to seeing a price lower than MSRP.

    Think about your own Internet browsing/research/shopping habits. What do you do when you see MSRP at a retail website?

    We are doing it all wrong in automotive. We pay our Internet staff to work leads and acquire as many leads as possible, which constitutes a minor consumer channel. It is because Internet manager are good at working their payplans that makes this a "bigger" channel than it should be. Dealers still want to live in the "good ole' days" when consumers didn't have any true buying knowledge and dealers could walk all over them. Fucking A' people, that world doesn't exist, but we're all doing our best to live in it.

    Dealership models need to change, who we hire needs to change, who we keep needs to change, and how we pay people needs to change. I know you're asking about a single "Get ePrice" form and I say that is a legacy gimmick of an old model that just won't die. There are two reasons why you're using Get ePrice on your website:

    1. You're not aggressively pricing each and every new car because you're still paid by the lead or "too busy."
    2. You're not in charge, so you're just working your payplan.
    • Like Like x 1
  7. ArtMorris

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    I believe there's a third reason for using "Get ePrice":

    3. Your manufacturer considers online inventory listings to be a form of advertising, and therefore your listing must adhere to the guidelines of the marketing covenant.

    We would like to display our true asking price on our website, but doing so would violate our manufacturer's rules.
  8. Alex Snyder

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    Do you ever advertise pricing or payments on TV, the newspaper, radio, or anywhere other than your website?
  9. Matt Wise

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    Alex, I really respect you and I think that you've been one of the pioneers for the Internet movement in the auto industry. However, you are wrong. There are too many things to consider when determining whether or not to price your new car inventory. What if a dealer has 500-1000 new cars in stock? That would make it very difficult and time consuming to price and keep up with all of those vehicles. Also, ArtMorris has a point when he says putting a price on a vehicle "would violate our manufacturer's rules". Honda, for example, does not let you advertise a price below invoice. Therefore, if you advertise a Honda vehicle at invoice on your website and your potential customer sees this and then contacts your competitor for their "ePrice", you are screwed. Plain and simple. I also disagree with the fact that dealers should "aggressively" price each and every new car. The gap between showroom customers and "Internet" customers needs to be bridged. Essentially everybody does "research" on new vehicles before they buy these days, including the customers that show up on your lot. Sometimes, these customers will show up on your lot regardless of whether or not your website gave them the information that they were looking for. Profit is not a bad word. When you aggressively price every new vehicle online, you risk the chance of "short-selling" a vehicle that might have brought close to MSRP. I think that negotiation is a part of the business that will never die. After having said all of this, there are times when a dealership should price all of their new inventory and times when they should not.

    You bring up a subject that needs to be talked about more often when you write:
    There is a huge power struggle going on right now between "car guys" and "Internet guys". "Car guys" want to make money. They want to maximize gross on every car deal. Most of the time they are thinking about profit. A lot of times, this "car guy" mentality is not too sympathetic to the average Joe. The Internet poses a huge threat because it gets harder and harder to succeed in the area that they were taught was most important. Gross. "Internet guys" may still be profit minded, but they go about it in an entirely different way. In my opinion, they often sacrifice gross to be accommodating. I think that they tend to be unit minded instead of gross minded. Typically, the "car guy" lives for the negotiation and wants the objection from the customer and the "Internet guy" wants to avoid any confrontation and for the transaction to go as smoothly as possible. The Internet guy needs the car guy and vice versa. Over time, these two personalities/philosophies will do more than coexist. There is a lot that they can learn from one another.
  10. ArtMorris

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    Not on TV or the radio, but we do advertise pricing in our print ads. In a printed ad we can have a line of "fine print" at the bottom to remain compliant with our manufacturers guidelines. To do something similar in a radio ad would require a John Moschitta Jr. delivery style.

    My customers have a half-dozen Honda dealers to cross shop, price is very important part of their dealership selection process.
  11. ArtMorris

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    This statement hits the bullseye:

    And so does this one:

    Not only does that world no longer exist, it also makes our entire industry look kinda silly when we continue to pretend that it does.

    I think it depends on your product and your market. Hondas and Toyotas are practically commodity items; there is little to no difference in the vehicles at our dealerships vs. the Civics and Camrys at our competitors. Price is what differentiates us, and we aggressively price all of our new vehicles for these brands.
  12. Alex Snyder

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    I was a dealer with an inventory well above that number. I agree, pricing each car individually is tough with today's technology options. However there are pricing rules in a number of inventory management solutions out there that makes things a bit easier. I used to do this for a new car auction solution and it took a few hours of work each month. I do see things improving in this area soon ;)


    Along with having that 1,000+ new car inventory most of the manufacturers (Honda being one of them) I worked with did not want you to advertise below invoice.

    Right now, most car dealers show MSRP for the exact reasons you and I both stated. Being the first dealer in the market to do different is rewarding. I know; I did it. It scared the crap out of our GM's and sales managers, but when I could talk them into it we had customers in the showroom within hours of the changes publishing.


    If you do go down the new car pricing route you will have to get aggressive at some point. How many sticker deals are still happening on Corolla's, Civic's, Focus' and the other volume models? If you know and track your PVR per model/trim then you have the intelligence to price your cars accordingly. The real trick is retraining your staff to operate in the modern world.


    Profit makes the world go 'round. There are ways to maintain and/or increase profit and those ways are being taught to us whether we like it or not. Phrases like "risk of 'short-selling'" and "negotiation is a part of the business that will never die" translates to "I'm afraid of change." I don't think you're really saying that Matt, but I do think you should step outside the dealership for some new perspective. I need to find a way to help show the new perspective I have after 20+ years in the dealership vs. 9 months out of it. It really is amazing. I just haven't formulated the words yet.

    Maybe there is a middle ground that will be determined by the car dealer. I doubt it though. I hate to say that, and I hate to say that because it is knock against my family (who owns and operates the dealer group I come from). I'm getting an education on the vendor-side of the aisle right now and I'm seeing how the OEM's are viewing the future. They're more consumer-minded than the typical dealer. I also look at history and know that in a capitalist society the consumer determines the market.

    There is definitely a struggle between the brick sales floor and the digital sales floor that is undeniable. I see it as the roots of change. It is coming; all outlooks point toward it.

    A really basic timeline on technology changes toward pricing:
    Internet >> wider invoice and trade data for consumers >> used car pricing & stocking (vAuto, First Look, AAX, etc) >> incentives feeds >> price quote tools (ResponseLogix) >> ________?
  13. Matt Wise

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    Alex - To go back to the original conversation. Most new vehicle shoppers are already willing to visit your dealership in person if they are on your website. If you offer them ROCK BOTTOM PRICING or INTERNET PRICE or my favorite "STRESS FREE PRICE" on vehicles, they are going to assume that:
    a) You are a car dealer and will probably discount the vehicle even further
    b) There must be some catch or incentive applied to that price OR
    c) "That absolutely is your best price and I should shop that price against Dealer B, C, D, E, and F"

    If you recognize the fact that most website visitors are coming from SEO and SEM, than most of the time this shopper is already aware of your dealership's existence. Also, let us not forget about all of the dealership website branding we do offline: newspaper, radio, TV, business cards, billboards. Unless you work in a one price store, this raises a choice of questions: Is it better to set as many appointments as we can from leads that we generate on our website? OR Is it better to put all of our cards on the table from the very start? We could call it "The ALL-IN Price". There could be a disclaimer on every vehicle that says: "Please DO NOT attempt to contact us if you plan on making us an offer. This is the new vehicle sale price. NO EXCEPTIONS!" Come on. Wouldn't generating leads to contact customers by phone (I prefer the term harass vs. contact) ultimately lead to more sales and more gross?

    I'm a big fan of "car guys". I think that "Internet guys" alienate themselves and discredit some of the points that they try to make by pulling the "data" card. Yes. Data is important. "Internet geeks" think that every dealership in the nation should just study analytics all day long that "show" or "prove" how dealerships should operate. They also try to convince us to write press releases and generate online reviews instead of sharpening the tools that will ALWAYS make a dealership successful (like ole' car guys teach). Yes, all of that other Internet related stuff is important, but the car biz is unlike most others. SKILLS in negotiation, incoming and outgoing PHONE training, and dealing with a prospect at the dealership are all essential for most Internet salespeople. We don't work at Best Buy. We are not order takers. Our job is to sell cars and make money. Making money being the bottom line for the dealership. I want my sales associate to get a lead on an ePrice. I want hir to call the prospect confirming the request. I want hir to ask the prospect if they have had a chance to drive this new vehicle in person. I want hir to ask about the trade. I want the appointment. The arrival. Then, I want a "car guy" to get involved and make GROSS. To hold on trade, gain financing and use his sales skills to shut down the deal.

    Alex, I am an "Internet guy/geek". I was a "car guy", but have a hard time convincing my current superiors and co-workers of this because I sit my ass behind a computer all day. I love the Internet and all of the business that it brings, but most of all I love the GROSS. Our dealerships are very successful in our Internet efforts and are very successful in $$$.
  14. Dan Dulgheru

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    From my point of view there are two versions relative to strategy.

    First we must consider the answer to : Market-share or Gross Profit?
    If our target is "Market-share " then we can discuss about "ePrice".
    In a market crowded (3-4 showrooms within a radius of 50km) as one we can talk about "ePrice".

    We have 3 competitors / for same brand / in the same city. I did some mysteryshoping and after first contact I got big discounts, repeat the first phone. Competition has offered discount and then made ​​the invitations to testdrive, showroom, needs analysis, contact information requested ...etc

    This market can be subject of "ePrice" ? Am i wrong with "ePrice" if our target is volume , cars , market-share ? Thanks

    Sorry for english ;)
  15. Alex Snyder

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    Matt - I get the impression you're speaking completely from the gut. You're obviously not liking what I'm saying and it seems we're just arguing over that. Have you actually tried pricing your new cars?

    Dan - ePrice is simply a way to convert more leads. If handled like any other lead, it shouldn't effect your gross-profit.
  16. Matt Wise

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    First off, I like to stir the pot a little. I appreciate what you have to say.

    Secondly, I have tried pricing new inventory and currently have 2 dealerships that take the exact opposite approach when it comes to new vehicle pricing. One has "Click HERE for ePrice" and the other uses MSRP minus dealer discount minus all rebates. I'm still undecided over which method is more effective.

    Alex, you have made it clear that you shop online. I'm assuming that you make purchases online. I'm thinking that you are conditioned to expect the lowest price up front when shopping. It seems that you believe that consumers exhibit characteristics that are consistent with your own. You do not seem like the type of Internet shopper that clicks on "pop ups" and coupons. You also do not strike me as the type that applies for financing online. However, people do click on coupons and "ePrice Quotes" and fill out credit apps. Today's Internet prospect is not necessarily Alex Snyder. Today's Internet prospect could just as easily be Billy Bob (living in a single wide at the trailer park) or my 80 year old grandma. This is why I took exception to some of your statements. The car business is evolving faster than the consumer*. Not everyone is as smart as you are and not everyone "shops" like you do.
    Last edited: Mar 30, 2011
  17. Alex Snyder

    Alex Snyder Administrator Staff Member

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    No, I'm not speaking just through my own eyes, nor am I making assumptions on shopper behavior. I hear it, see it, and look at studies about it all the time now. These are things that were not a part of my decision-making arsenal when I was working in the dealership.

    I'm not making that "in the dealership" statement to kick dirt in your eyes. I simply say that to reiterate that my eyes have been opened much wider over the past few months. My perspective has changed, whereas my old perspective was very much the same as yours Matt.
  18. Matt Wise

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    Thank you for the clarification. Your responses were very insightful. I didn't take anything personally and I hope that you didn't either. Keep up the good content!
    Last edited: Mar 31, 2011
  19. Alex Snyder

    Alex Snyder Administrator Staff Member

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    Oh no - no worries here ;)

    Online conversations rarely are perceived, by the reader, for their intended tone. Good debate also flushes-out stronger solutions, and you have been one of the better people I've debated with. Thanks Matt!

    Hopefully the answer to Dan's question was given. Dan - sorry for the tangent (was it really a tangent?). Are you good to go, or do you need some more clarity?
  20. Dan Dulgheru

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    Thx Alex, ok for me !

    I remain deeply grateful if I find a sketch / description of the process to contact and follow-up of these leads. If it exists and I got the right person ..

    Thanks again

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