Internet of Things (IoT) devices found their first home in inventory management when Carnegie Mellon University modified a Coke vending machine to monitor its own inventory all the way back in 1982. These days, IoT devices are all over the place — there are 31 billion of them in the world right now, and experts estimate that there will be 35 billion by 2021.
You’re probably already using IoT devices to make your life easier at home, but are you using connected car devices to streamline inventory management at your dealership? If not, it’s time to start. Connected car devices can help you keep track of where your cars are on your lot, how long you’ve had each car, how many test drives they’ve been taken on, and more.
Know Where Your Cars Are
Depending on the size of your dealership, you could have more than a thousand cars on your lot at any one time. If you’re running a smaller dealership, that could still mean managing a few hundred cars.
Connected car devices can help you keep track of all the cars on your lot, and that goes far beyond just knowing what cars you have and where they’re physically located on the lot. You need to know how old each car is because the longer a car sits on your lot, the older it gets, the more it depreciates in value, and the more money you lose on it. Keeping track of the physical location of your cars can help you make decisions about where to position cars so they might sell better. Installing a connected car device in each car gives you the data you need to rotate cars around the lot to perhaps sell them faster, especially if your sales data shows that you’re selling more of the cars parked near your showroom or near the front of the lot than those parked all the way in the back.
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Identify Popular Makes and Models
What cars are your customers most interested in? You need local market data in order to determine which makes and models sell the best in your area. Connected car devices can give you data on which cars are selling, and for how much, so you can pinpoint the makes and models that will make your dealership the most money. With dealership margins narrower than ever, you need the right mix of inventory if you want to turn a profit.
Get Test-Drive Data
Connected car devices can give you data about how often a car is driven, how far, and how it performs. Test-drive data can be invaluable, especially when it comes to cars that are test-driven over and over again but still aren’t sold. When you’re having trouble selling a car that keeps getting test-driven, that’s when you know it’s time to either take steps to make that car more appealing to buyers — perhaps by fixing small issues with the vehicle — or to get it off your lot by trading it to another dealer for a model that better meets the needs of your customer base.
Keep Track of Loaner Cars
Offering loaner cars to customers at your service department is a great value-add proposition that can draw in more customers for both service and sales. But you might hesitate to hand over the keys before you have a means of tracking those loaned-out cars, and you’d be right to worry. Connected car devices can help you monitor the location of loaner cars via GPS tracking. They can also alert you if the customer is about to take the car out of a certain geographical area or if they’re about to go over the mileage limits you set in the loaner agreement. They can even automatically measure fuel levels in the car, and help you determine who to hold accountable for dings, scratches, dents, or other damage when you get the car back.
If you’re looking for a modern inventory management solution for your dealership, it’s time to install connected car devices in your cars. In addition to helping you keep track of cars, these devices can give you the data you need to tweak your inventory and boost sales. Don’t keep managing your inventory the old fashioned way — it’s time to bring your dealership into the 21st century.