How to Reassure Customers in an Inventory Shortage

How to Reassure Customers in an Inventory Shortage

Written By Eric Schlesinger

In this digital age, your dealership’s website is your front door. 

The internet has afforded shoppers the luxury of access to your business on multiple levels. So much so, that they may never even need to step foot in your showroom to know what you’re all about. 

Or so they think. 

Perception is everything. This is especially important in the Google era. With online reviews being highly visible, and your inventory readily on display, active car shoppers can arrive at conclusions quickly. 

Customers note disappointing aspects of a business when they interact with them. Every touchpoint is a place to impress or disappoint. Consumers notice things, they stack up the competition, and they warn others when they see disappointments as well. 

Your Dealership Website Should Reassure, not Redirect, in an Inventory Shortage

In the midst of an unprecedented chip and inventory shortage, it is critical to control the controllable. As a result of the lack of inventory, the search for a car that suits a customer’s very particular needs will spread out over many outlets and sites in the automotive retail space. If you don’t have what they are looking for, another dealership might. 

Or at the very least, they’ll be happy to look into getting it for you. 

While access to the inventory you need might be beyond what you can easily control right now, your status as a helpful resource is not beyond your control and is paramount for positive long-term customer perception. Embracing the opportunity to reassure the shopper who can't find what they are looking for is a powerful way to set up your dealership for success long into the future. 

If you have the potential to reassure your customers and look into possible options, why board up your digital dealership’s front door? 

Our Customer Engagement Experts speak with tens of thousands of shoppers each week. The inventory shortage and how websites often display inventory as a result are a barrier to earning that sale and long-term customer relationship. If you show nothing different than the lack of inventory found elsewhere, why would shoppers continue down the path with your business?


3 Ways Dealerships Can Capture Shoppers During an Inventory Shortage

Brian Pasch, expert on all things in the automotive and automotive retail space, recently published a blog highlighting some of these barriers-to-entry on dealership websites and the frustrations it caused. We had similarly noticed these small but powerful oversights and share those sentiments as a provider who chats for thousands of dealerships every day, and wanted to weigh in on the topic and provide solutions. 

Not equipping your website with ways to reassure and retain potential customers is all but guiding them to your competitor. A lack of inventory may be unavoidable. How you handle that situation, though, is completely within your control. 

Here are some ways you can capture the attention of active car shoppers looking for what they need in an inventory shortage: 

  • Use Live Human Engagement

The modern-day customer, especially in times of shortage and a pandemic, is used to disappointment. When they do go to brick-and-mortar stores, they walk through halls of empty shelves and understaffed aisles. They have learned to mostly fend for themselves, and their expectations regarding the customer experience have gotten considerably lower. 

When it comes to automotive sales and live messaging, it’s no different. Their expectations regarding a live chat interaction have fallen into expecting a bot or contact grab. The digital car shopper is still very much a human being and deserves real, empathetic engagement to increase reassurance and trust during these lean times. 

ActivEngage’s CEEs (Customer Engagement Experts) are trained to deliver just that through our managed messaging platform: a dynamic, engaging conversation that can help give your customer confidence that even though inventories are low, your team’s commitment to assisting them won’t stop there. 

  • Use Behavioral Offers

Active car shoppers are doing their due diligence and hopping from site to site to seek out the perfect vehicle for them. This hopping around makes it a bit tricky to capture and maintain customer attention. 

Every customer is on a journey. They go on your website, go to the inventory page or attempt to use the website search bar, and take a look around. If they see you don’t have what they are looking for, they’ll most likely bounce. You can utilize the behavior of the unique customer journey to deliver dynamic offers and present them with new possibilities.

ActivEngage’s ActivTarget uses the power of online customer journey behavior to note what your customer is looking for and deliver them a reassuring message that can put them on a waitlist or set them up to speak with a sales representative who can look further into their needs. 

  • Don’t Gut your Website of Much-Needed SEO

As mentioned previously: honesty is important regarding your inventory. You certainly don’t want to mislead your customers about what you do or do not have in stock: whether it’s on the way or sitting on the lot. 

However, if you have the capability of looking into a special order, dealer trade, or any other avenue you have to secure a vehicle, try not to omit model names from your inventory filters. 

Instead, consider keeping the options open but redirecting them to a waitlist or follow-up form regarding what your team can look into. This allows your website to remain visible for shoppers searching for certain models, and then live messaging engagement and behavioral offers can carry them further down-funnel in their customer journey and keep you in the running.  

Keep your Digital Dealership’s Front Door Wide Open

Inventory shortages are projected to sustain well into 2022, and the automotive sales industry has some question marks hanging overhead. The pandemic has made meeting the customer where they are more important than ever! 

With ActivEngage, you can equip your dealership’s website with premier digital engagement tools to help reassure and retain curious customers on the hunt for their perfect vehicle. Including: 


Ready to discover how ActivEngage helps your dealership succeed?