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Is low inventory messing up your dealership’s website experience?

On the latest episode of Auto Marketing Now, host Brian Pasch, founder of PCG Companies and BPE Enterprises, discusses website design and the impact that low inventory has on the shopper experience. 

Recently, on behalf of another customer, Pasch began shopping around for a specific vehicle made by Audi. He got in touch with a few Audi dealers in his close network and ended up having a confusing experience throughout the process. He found that automotive website companies, seem to be removing vehicle models and trim packages that are out of stock, from dealers’ websites by default. This means, that when a customer comes to your website and narrows down their search to a model that may not be in stock, they won’t see anything!

But what happens if a consumer is open to ordering a vehicle, or already wants to order a vehicle? They won’t be able to access any information about it on your website. More importantly, is there no way a customer can order a car through your website? As Brian did more research, he found that this problem isn’t isolated to Audi; this problem is across every website platform used at scale. There are some smaller platforms that do a better job, but most franchised dealers don’t use those platforms.

You might be saying to yourself- well, if an item is out of stock, shouldn’t the website take it off? Sure, maybe for clothing retailers or take-out restaurants, but that’s not how the car business works. You want your customers to be able to search out of stock options so they can order them from you. Just because you don’t have an Audi Q5 hybrid right now, doesn’t mean customers won’t order one from you and wait. What was even more astonishing was that none of the dealer websites Pasch visited provided a brief explanation as to why that model was out of stock.

Website providers need to rethink their inventory management strategy and at least explain to consumers why certain vehicles are not showing up in search results. A banner with a simple message like: These vehicles are in high demand and low supply. If you don’t see the color or configuration you want, please call our vehicle acquisition department. Don’t forget to add your phone number to this banner as well.

Without any sort of messaging, you are assuming that every customer knows what is going on in the automotive market. Take a critical look at your website experience right now. Make sure you can see every model in the search tool and make sure to test the search experience for vehicles that you know, are not in stock. Work with your website provider to fix this experience.

If you have a problem with your website provider fixing your inventory display, email and you may possibly qualify for a fast-track program to get your website updated.

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Brian Pasch
Brian Pasch
Founder of PCG Companies and BPE Enterprises, Brian Pasch is a thought leader, effective strategy driver, and industry change agent. In tune with the fast pace of the digital marketing environment, he successfully leads OEMs, dealers/dealer groups, and ad agencies by helping them harness data, eliminate waste, and incorporate efficient marketing tactics.

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