How to Choose the Best Automotive Inventory Management Software for Your Dealership

by | Jun 20, 2024 | Inventory Management | 0 comments

Selecting the right automotive inventory management software is crucial for streamlining dealership operations, improving efficiency, and enhancing the customer experience. This comprehensive guide will help you understand what to look for when selecting inventory management software, including essential features, cost considerations, and vendor reputation. 

Market Data and Sources 

When choosing automotive inventory management software, understanding the source of market data is essential. Accurate and comprehensive data can significantly impact your inventory decisions and overall dealership performance. 

  • vAuto: Aggregates data from COX Automotive sources. While vAuto provides valuable insights, its data is limited to the COX Automotive network. 
  • Dealerslink: Aggregates live data from a vast array of sources, including every dealership website, third-party sites like Cars.com and CarGurus, and even private sellers. This broader data aggregation offers a more accurate and comprehensive picture of the live market. 

“With vAuto, their whole claim to fame was that they aggregate data. But what we later learned is that they aggregate Cox Automotive data. So, it’s not like a comprehensive dataset that you’re looking at whenever you’re comparing the market,” explained Marianna Varela, Marketing Director for All Star Ford Auto Group. “And so, when we started talking to Dealerslink we realized that you guys were sweeping all of the dealers’ websites, pretty much every third-party minus ‘AutoTrader’, but a lot more data going into what we were looking at.” 
View full testimony by Marianna Varela here.  

Essential Features 

To effectively manage the complete life cycle of new and used inventory, your inventory management software should include the following essential features: 

  • Inventory Sourcing: The ability to efficiently source used inventory to keep your lot stocked with in-demand vehicles. 
  • Appraisal VIN Scanner: The means to scan VIN’s for quick and accurate vehicle appraisals, ensuring you have the correct data for pricing and sales. 
  • Reconditioning: The capability to streamline the vehicle reconditioning process by tracking vehicles, identifying bottlenecks, and ensuring faster front-line delivery.
  • Merchandising: The possibility of automating and enhancing your merchandising efforts to keep your listings current and competitive. 
  • Live Market Data: The ability to access real-time market data in order to make informed decisions about pricing and inventory management. 
  • OEM Data for Appraisals and Merchandising: Integrate OEM data to improve the accuracy of appraisals and enhance merchandising strategies with detailed vehicle specifications and history. 

Unique Dealerslink Features 

Dealerslink offers several unique features that set it apart from the competition: 

  • DMS Profit: This feature helps dealerships use their own DMS data to identify which vehicles to stock, reducing guesswork. It allows dealers to access profit metrics easily from velocity reports or appraisals, providing historical performance insights for specific models or years. Analyze historic velocity and profit data from your dealership management system to maximize profitability by focusing on the fastest moving and highest grossing vehicles. 
  • AI Description Builder: AI-powered Description Builder automates the creation of vehicle descriptions using advanced AI and enhanced OEM data. It generates accurate, engaging descriptions by extracting vehicle specs and popular features, saving dealers time and ensuring consistency. This innovation aims to improve operational efficiency and enhance the online presence of dealerships. 
  • Trade Devaluation: The trade devaluation feature, part of the FastBook appraisal platform, helps dealerships present accurate, data-backed trade-in offers. It leverages true-market data points to justify trade values by identifying vehicle characteristics that may lower the value. This feature ensures that dealers can confidently communicate trade-in values to customers with full transparency, enhancing trust and potentially increasing profitability. 
  • F&I Calculator: This innovative tool helps optimize vehicle selection, streamline financing processes, and enhance customer satisfaction. Key features include an F&I calculator for transparent financing options, a marketplace for extensive inventory access, and powerful data analytics for tracking performance and market trends. Dealers can improve efficiency and profitability, ensuring an exceptional customer experience. 

“The first thing that I love, is the F&I Calculator and I still use it to this day, it’s one of the most simple tools that Dealerslink has and I think sometimes we forget about it.” – Chris Cain – Toyota of Sylacauga 

Cost Considerations 

Dealerslink stands out for its cost-effectiveness, offering more features, more complete data sets, and greater inventory flexibility at a lower cost compared to other options like vAuto, DealerSocket (Solera), or MaxDigital. This makes it an attractive choice for dealerships looking to maximize their return on investment. 

Marburger Chrysler Jeep Dodge Ram switched from vAuto to Dealerslink for a more efficient, cost-effective solution. Dealerslink offers similar features, including live market analytics, merchandising, and reconditioning, but at a fraction of the cost. “If I can get a product that is just as efficient as another product and yet save a ton of money – that’s what I’m going to do,” describes KC Langenstein General Manager at Marburger Auto Group. 

Related: Compare Dealerslink and get $100 

Support Resources and Vendor Reputation 

The reputation of your software provider and support resources is crucial to the success of your dealership. Many dealers today are faced with rising costs and declining support resources.  

Dealerslink Consulting Team Lead, Jake Silveira explains, “What we see most often now is that dealerships are using far less than they are paying for when it comes to their vendor services. That could be their inventory management system, their appraisal service or even their websites. So, cost to value ratio, they’re paying a lot of money, sometimes an absolute premium. You know, if I was running a dealership and I was looking at my choices for vendors, the cost to value ratio is going to be one of the most important ones on my list.” 

With a focus on superior service and aims to build long-term partnerships with dealerships, Dealerslink has built a strong reputation in the automotive industry for its innovative approach to customer service. 

“The Dealerslink Support Team makes it so much easier to know if I have an issue or a problem. I can get on a call, and I don’t have to jump through hoops to get somebody on the phone. I call them and normally somebody answers the phone within probably two to three rings, and then after that have my issue fixed.”  

Joshua Kliethermes, Internet Director at Johnny Londoff Chevrolet 

Related: Benchmarking Success in Customer Retention 

Choosing the right automotive inventory management software is vital for any dealership aiming to streamline operations and enhance profitability. Dealerslink stands out due to its comprehensive features, cost-effectiveness, and excellent reputation. By opting for Dealerslink, dealerships can ensure they have a powerful tool to manage their inventory efficiently and effectively, driving business success. Request a live demo of Dealerslink today. 

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