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I'm curious to hear the way some dealerships streamline their process for merchandising their Pre-Owned Inventory online.  Specifically when Pre-Owned vehicles are purchased from auction or you determine you want to keep in inventory the vehicle you take in on trade, what processes are in place?  Who annotates all the options on that particular car? (I'm not talking about VIN explosion but actual features and options unique to that car).  Who does the detailed descriptions?  Do you display vehicles online that have not been photographed yet?  Do you include wholesale vehicles in your online display?  Certainly there is a "lag time" from when the car comes in inventory and when you wholesale it out.    Obviously all these things are great practices including detailed descriptions to get consumers engaged.  We are a very process-oriented dealership but we don't necessarily have a process in place for this.  It wold be great to hear from some folks who use A.D.P. Drive DMS, BZ Results and DMI's inventory platform and AAX inventory management system.  Thanks in advance.

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First off for inventory management we use Dealer Specilties/ DIY program. For DMS we use ADP. For pricing we use vAuto. It starts in the back office with the girls entering them into ADP. I have hired a student from the local college who works approximately 25 hours. As soon a vehicle hits the lot someone either the student or a detail dept. employee gives it a look over. They will scrape off the writing, make sure the inside is presentable and put a stock # on it. Then the picture taker will run it through the car wash and drives it to a staging area where he takes between 20 - 40 pictures. He will do as many as 12 cars in a day anything more then that I will help with picture taking. While this is happening the used car managers are pricing the vehicles with vAuto and entering the pricing into ADP. The girls in the office will certify any CPO vehicles. next the picture taker will use good old cut and paste from ADP to Dealer Specialties DIY, do a VIN explosion and add as much info as he can. Next he will upload the pictures he has taken as well as 6 marketing tiles that we use on all of our cars. Once the car is in the system the used car managers will go to the options tab and make sure that the VIN explosion worked and make whatever adjustments need to be made (we learned this the hard way). Then I will use a tool called Ad Writer to write custom comments on the vehicle. I do not write this to the consumer only, it is heavily slanted toward Google and SEO. I finish them all with a call to action. Once the car is done it automatically gets exported to our website through who adds a video through their CarFlix video tool. Then it is exported from there with the video, custom comments, pictures and marketing tiles out to, and I will then post it to CraigsList. All the other distribution is done through Dealer Specialties Get Auto. Then we will print Window Stickers and Buyers guides which the lot attendant will apply when he parks the vehicle on the lot. All in all it takes about an hour to an hour and a half per vehicle combined. I'd say that 95% of the inventory is pushed to our website within 24 hours and the third party sites within 48 hours. Is this a lot more work then the way most people do it , yes. But it is worth it. Also the combinations of expenses come out to be less per month then we had a service doing it and we get many more pictures and the marketing tiles. Plus having more pictures makes for better "Videos". The key to this is that ownership and management, service and detail all understand that job one is to get the cars up online even before they are "lot ready". YES we do not wait for the cars to be completely serviced and detailed prior to putting them online. Take pictures of the car when it is not 100% detailed and compare this to after they are, there is not enough difference to wait 5 days to post your cars. As I said we do this with 95% the other 5%, trades and long shipped auction cars you have to wait but even then detail knows it is a priority to get them cleaned pictured and posted. We also take pictures of all our new cars and add marketing tiles to them. We have seen a spike in our VDP #'s since we instituted this process as well. As for your other question, no we do not post wholesale units...quite frankly we just don't have the time. We may soon be adding a second college student and start doing our own video walk arounds of the vehicles. I suspect that this may take a little longer because I will probably wait until they are lot ready and then there is editing as well. hope this helps but after all like Phil says that's what friends are for.
Great post AJ! You've done an excellent job at answering the questions but also detailing your processes. I particularly like the "why" you do the things that you do. Those details are often overlooked in process discussions/posts. You could even make your post a general post to the ADM community. I'd bet it would be very helpful to many dealerships in the community.

Thanks again,



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