While your online inventory may be raking in leads for your retail business, can the same be said about your online commercial inventory?

The generation of leads is crucial for the survival of many businesses, including auto dealerships. Keep reading to learn more about lead generation and easy ways to optimize your online inventory to draw in more potential customers.

First, what are leads?

According to HubSpot, “a lead is any person who indicates interest in a company’s product or service.” (cough cough… a potential customer)

And what exactly is lead generation?

Lead generation is the process of finding and developing a potential customer’s interest in your company’s products. This can take place through a variety of methods like email marketing, social media, blogs, web forms and more. (If you’re interested in learning more about utilizing digital media to cultivate leads for your business, check out one of our previous blog posts on it here.)

Now, to the good stuff.

How do you optimize your online inventory?

1. Design with Devices in Mind

Robust online inventories are becoming increasingly important.


Because according to Google, “92% of car buyers research online before they buy.”

So, what do you need to do?

When looking at your vehicle search results (VSR) page on your computer, pay attention to the item boxes. Are they short and concise? Or, do they require scrolling?

Now, try the same on your phone. Are you constantly scrolling to get to the next item? Do they load quickly?

If you answered “yes” to scrolling and “no” to loading, you’re going to want to make an update. (Disclaimer: Making this change may or may not be something you can fix on your own, but should be a design change that your marketing agency can easily do.) Shorten your VSR item boxes to display a photo, minimal information and a call to action. For additional information, potential customers can navigate to the vehicle display page (VDP).

Why is this the way to go?

According to a study conducted by AutoTrader, 46% of potential customers are searching for their new vehicle on multiple devices; 23% said a smartphone, specifically. (Keep in mind, this is a stat from 2016, meaning there are likely more people using a smartphone now to do their research.)

And, let’s be real. No one wants to sit scrolling for ages through things they’re not interested in, just to get to what they want to see, regardless of what device they’re on. Plus, all that additional information and space could be slowing down their loading of your site.

NOTE: Just 10 seconds of loading can increase your bounce rate by as much as 123%!

Need another reason to make the change?

By removing excess information from the VSR and routing visitors to the VDP, you will have more accurate data regarding the number of those interested in learning about the vehicle. It should also help with your loading issues.

2. Photos.

Notice the period above? This is serious business.

Imagine you’re the potential customer: You’re searching for a new work vehicle, a specific upfit that’s not altogether rare by any means, but you need what you need, and you’ve got to have it soon. That’s why you’re looking to make your purchase through a dealership. You luck out because ABC Dealership has it in stock, but they’re not exactly located in your backyard. And, when they say they have it in stock, do they really? There are no photos, or the photos they do have are just stock. How can you be sure that you’re getting exactly what you want and need? Is it really worth the trip?

As a retailer, you have to keep in mind that with the internet, you have the potential to reach people anywhere in the world. (Although, let’s be honest, for commercial dealerships, your customer radius is going to be significantly smaller.) Potential customers aren’t always going to be from the area, able to pop in whenever to look at units they’re hoping to buy. That’s why photos are so important. They tell us what words often don’t and can be the difference between a potential customer making the trip to your dealership, and not.

What kind of photos should you include?

Think about what you would want to see as a potential customer. Make sure to take photos of the unit at your dealership. Capture the outside from different angles, the inside and any special features it includes. While there’s no magic number of photos that will perfectly satisfy these potential customers, you should shoot to include 15-30 photos on each commercial listing.

3. Words

While each of those photos is worth 1,000 words, it doesn’t mean you’ve said so much that you don’t need to add anything else. Make sure to include all the relevant details about the unit in your listing. This is particularly important for used vehicles. For those especially, you’ll want to include vehicle condition, mileage, recent service and/or reconditioning history, fuel economy and anything else you would want to know if you were in the shoes of a potential buyer.

4. Limit the Number of Calls to Action

CTAs. They’re great because they provide us with quick stats and help visitors take action. But, because of how great they are, we can sometimes go a little overboard. While you may want visitors to “Contact Us for Pricing,” “Request a Quote,” “Get Financing” and “Schedule a Visit,” try to pick which is most important. Usually, your CTA should be something like “Request a Quote” or “Lock in Price” because using too many CTAs will reduce the number of visitors who take action.

5. Double Post/Promote

No, we’re not talking about multiple listings for the same unit to create the illusion that you have more. We’re talking about expanding where you list your inventory.

In addition to posting inventory on your own website, consider utilizing other popular online commercial vehicle listing platforms. For instance, Work Truck Solutions provides dedicated websites for dealerships to showcase their own commercial inventory with the option to distribute listings simultaneously to their Comvoy national marketplace. Additionally, Commercial Truck Trader stands as another popular widely recognized national marketplace that dealerships and private sellers frequently use for listing their commercial vehicles.

Of course, there are other sites, like Autotrader, Cars.com and Craigslist, that are more widely recognized, but aren’t actually geared toward the commercial segment of the market, that you can post to. Similarly, you can take to social media, linking your inventory to posts or ads, which will help drive more traffic back to your website.

How do these changes actually impact your lead generation?

By optimizing your online inventory, you’re making your site more navigable and improving the visitor’s experience. This is important because the goal of lead generation is to convert those site visitors to actual leads. And, by making your online inventory easy-to-use with a simple path to becoming a lead, you’re more likely to reel them in, moving them further down the sales funnel and one step closer to becoming a customer.