Your #1 source for auto industry news and content


Every car has a story: How to jazz up your used inventory website listings

If you’re thinking of a quick lunch, you may choose to “Live Más” and pick up Tacos and Nacho Fries from Taco Bell®. Let’s be clear, there’s no logical nutritional reason to do it, and one could argue that regularly eating that kind of food is harmful. But there’s something else behind the choice, and that’s emotion. 

Taco Bell’s former Chief Digital Officer, now at Strava, Zipp Allen, says, “Being able to meet [customers] where they are [is] about ensuring that the customer feels appreciated, understood, and known by the brand, no matter where they interact.”

When customers feel appreciated, understood, and “known” by the brand, they will be emotionally invested, even if it involves how your dealership sells used cars online.

Without a doubt, emotions are still the driver behind purchasing a vehicle. For example, it’s why a person struggles between having to buy an SUV and giving up their sports sedan. Or it’s why a person would NEVER be seen in a (put any brand here). Ask a person why they have their vehicle, and you’ll get a range of comments based on emotion —otherwise, we would all be driving a Mitsubishi Mirage, also known as “Everything You Need to Get Around.”

So, how do you attract emotional buying? Storytelling. Storytelling will help you build a foundation to tell moving stories, and, as Zipp said, it’s essential to tailor it to an individual user and make it personal.

Tips on creating a story

In a recent report, it was discovered that “72% of customer interactions over vehicles now take place via digital means.” So, how can you capture more interest? Tell a story about your vehicle. Here are some tips on how you can provide more than the basics and do some storytelling:

Video: A picture may be worth a thousand words, but videos are more emotional. One consistent customer request is for dealers to show or provide a link to a video walk-around. These videos create a better experience by letting you romance the product and give a story of the vehicle’s history.

When creating a video tour of your car, there are a few things to keep in mind:

  1. Focus on the exterior of the vehicle. Be sure to show off any unique features or design elements.
  2. Give viewers a quick walk-around of the interior, pointing out any especially notable features.
  3. Spend some time talking about the engine and performance specs.

Photos: Use compelling and eye-catching images. You can have words about the features and benefits of your latest model. However, people don’t just buy cars; they buy status, success, and image symbols. For example, a photo of an AWD pickup parked in a target customer’s outdoor setting is more enticing than one surrounded by sedans in a used car lot. So, the next time you’re planning photoshoots for your incoming used inventory, make sure to include some interesting and eye-catching images. They might be the key to driving sales.

Sell the Benefits: Write a brief but enticing description of the vehicle.

For example: “This car is a sleek and powerful machine that turns heads wherever it goes. It’s got a sleek design that screams speed and power and the performance to match. Plus, the built-in GPS ensures that I never get lost, even in the most unfamiliar territory. This car is the perfect way to get around town (or even out of town!) in style and comfort.”

Be Mobile Friendly: With more and more people reading content on their phones, ensuring your website is optimized for small screens is essential. In addition, fewer people search online, so a responsive website (one optimized for mobile and desktop) ensures customers won’t miss information or have issues reading through the used car listing. 

With 2x as many automotive consumers starting their research online versus at a dealer, it’s crucial to provide emotional reasons for your listings rather than only facts. By following these tips, you can give potential buyers a better sense of what your car offers. So, whether you’re selling a classic muscle car or a low mileage SUV, these could be just the thing that helps you seal the deal.

Stay up to date on exclusive content from CBT News by following us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn.

Don’t miss out! Subscribe to our free newsletter to receive all the latest news, insight and trends impacting the automotive industry.

CBT News is part of the JBF Business Media family.

Steve Mitchell
Steve Mitchell
Steve Mitchell is a contributing writer and reporter for CBT News. He earned bachelor's degrees in Marketing and Television from the University of Texas in Austin and a Masters of Theology study from Dallas Theological Seminary in Dallas. His passion for automobiles lead him to become a creative director for automotive marketing ad agency. Most recently, he was the manager of interactive marketing for Mitsubishi Motors, NA.

Related Articles


Manufacturers In This Article

More Manufacturer News

Latest Articles

From our Publishing Partners