Inventory is Short: 3 Ways Your Dealership can Win the Long Game

27.04.21 04:57 PM By Layton Judd

Dealers are facing inventory shortages that will continue to have short term, and possibly long term, effects on business across the automotive industry. And the timing couldn't be more inconvenient. 

Automotive News noted that "It's an awful time for dealers to be running short. The U.S. economy is making a comeback, and consumers are flush with tax refunds and another round of stimulus checks. Americans who have stayed away from dealerships for a year are getting vaccinated. The spring selling season is heating up — so much so that one forecaster says the industry could have its strongest sales rate in nearly four years this month. That is, unless too many shoppers give up because they can't find what they want.

Additionally, the price of obtaining inventory from auction has increased substantially and is eating away at profitable margins. With assembly lines idled with not enough microchips and demand for new vehicles booming, dealers across the country have disconcertingly watched their inventory wither away. Many have even given up on investing in marketing that can help.


No or low inventory: Dealers are having to get creative to solve the challenge of keeping up with units sold month over month. Part of the solution is given the opportunity to purchase vehicles from ALL sources outside traditional trade-ins and auctions, with costs that have inched upwards to 90% of retail in many cases.


To say that the only thing that is the understatement of the year(s). Similar to its award-winning "In This Together" and "The Road Back" campaigns, 3 Birds has taken a 3-prong approach is assisting today's dealers in meeting those challenges. 

They quickly mobilized early in the pandemic to deliver proven lift and ROI with communications that changed alongside consumer sentiment and business interruptions. Data- and behavior-driven dynamic automated marketing within your own database is more than just equity mining and lip service - the power to pivot with essential messaging and agile technology is key - and not truly found anywhere else. 


Here's 3 Birds' advice: Don't stop. 

Just as you are getting creative and spacing out vehicles from 3 feet, to 5 feet, and finally to 8 feet or more apart to maintain a full lot, getting ahead of the inevitable bubble is how your dealership finds itself on the full and positive flip-side. 

Here are 3 ways that 3 Birds' is uniquely positioned to help:

  1. Newsletters: Make sure you are including relevant messaging in this one-and-only communication stream that reaches every single prospect, sold, service, and retention customer in your database. Things like "We buy trades with no purchase necessary" piques the interest of your audience and gets them to engage as a new opportunity. 
  2. Flex Campaigns: Quickly identify in-demand and top performing models needed and who owns them in order to immediately market directly to them with a hyper-targeted and personalized message that converts.
  3. Conquest: Go even farther and layer geo-targeting or other relevant and exclusive data filters to market to those customers with clear intention and purpose. 


One successful Ford dealer in the southern states testified that they sold 100 used vehicles and 100 new vehicles last month. No big deal, right? But take into consideration the fact that they had never carried more than 95 cars on the ground at any given time using the above messaging and system. 

We call that a win (win-win!). 

Cutting it close on new and used vehicle inventories and wondering what will have to give? Branded digital marketing to your database, and especially to your trade sources, is critical right now. Let us show you how we are helping our most successful dealers stay top-of-mind with sales and service prospects and customers, acquire more trades, and stock their lots.