Best Practices for Digital Car Merchandising

September 20, 2023

Team ACV




Best Practices for Digital Car Merchandising

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A customer searching online for used cars

In the modern era, having a vehicle detail page (VDP) for every vehicle on the lot is essential, representing the first touch point between the dealer and an online buyer. 

Within the individual VDP, you'll place all the necessary information about the car, truck, or SUV to help buyers make a decision. They'll be able to see all the details, images, and videos, read the technical specs and look at consumer reviews. 

Because 74% of shoppers compare vehicles online only1, the quality of your VDP has a direct correlation to your conversion rate, and in turn, profitability. Below are the best practices for car merchandising on a VDP to maximize these benefits.

What Is a VDP?

Vehicle detail pages or VDP are digital listings or web pages that provide comprehensive information about a specific vehicle. You typically find them on an automotive dealership's website or online marketplace where people buy and sell cars. The idea is to give possible buyers an informative and detailed overview of the vehicle so they can decide whether to proceed.

A well-written VDP has several key elements:

  • Vehicle Info:This will include the make and model, model year and trim level.
  • Imagery: Multiple high-resolution photos highlight the vehicle from several angles, inside and out. Videos can offer a virtual tour and further highlight its condition and features.
  • Price: You should display this prominently and include any applicable costs, like dealership fees and taxes.
  • Specifications and features: Here, you’ll find the key specs of the vehicle, such as its engine type and size, mileage, fuel type, efficiency, colors, safety features and technology options. You might also place a vehicle identification number (VIN) here.
  • Vehicle history: The viewer should find a vehicle history report detailing maintenance, accidents, and ownership. It’s often a good idea to link directly to the CARFAX report here.
  • Description: This is the place to be transparent about any known imperfections or issues while writing an accurate and content description of the vehicle.
  • Financial information: Offer information about lease deals and payment options, with a handy calculator. If they are available, include information about extended service contracts and warranties.
  • Ratings and reviews: This information helps to build trust and credibility.
  • Additional information: Include any extra information that could help a buyer make the decision.
  • Similar listings: If available, suggest similar vehicles the buyer may be interested in.
  • Call to action: Finally, the VDP should have a call to action, which can be a button the potential buyers use to schedule a test drive, or contact the dealer for more information.

Adding Images and Videos to the VDP

The first step is to create a range of high-quality photos. Only use high-resolution and professional photos of the vehicle and ensure they are original. Don't be tempted to use stock images unless you're only doing so temporarily while a vehicle is in transit. If you've sourced a vehicle from ACV Auctions, for example, you can use a temporary photo or even a photo from the auction site while you wait for the vehicle to arrive. Get your own unique imagery as soon as that vehicle arrives though, and upload it promptly.

Include pictures from different angles as well as close-ups. Consumers are especially interested in the interior, where they will spend most of their time. If there's any physical damage to the vehicle, you should highlight this for full transparency and include the relevant details. This is likely to build trust between you and the customer, as they’ll be less than happy if they discover this damage after the fact.

Consider creating a 360° walkaround video as a powerful sales solution. These will help customers "inspect" the vehicle just as they would if they were actually at the dealership. Again, pay extra attention to a video of the interior from front to back so potential customers can imagine themselves in the car.

Comprehensive Details That Belong on a VDP

For many buyers, a vehicle may be their largest or second largest purchase, next to a home. Most people only buy a handful of vehicles in their lives, so they’re likely to put a great deal of research into it. Never skimp on the information if you want to build their trust and get the sale.

Don't make customers search elsewhere for details relevant to that vehicle. For example, put a direct, clickable link to the CARFAX report and include information about the owner's history and any accidents, dents, or scratches. If you conducted a presale inspection on the car, include a link so they can download a copy of that inspection for additional information.

Include all the basic information about the make and model and manufacturing year. Include features, especially if they are optional extras for that type of vehicle. These could include sunroof, LED lighting or a sound system. You'll also include the VIN number here and the expected gas mileage (city and country).

You may need to add additional filters relating to the vehicle's status. For example, is it already on the lot or in transit? If the latter, what's the intended "available" date?

If you are offering a warranty, include all the information. Incorporating a service or maintenance package could just help swing the sale.

Also, educate the prospective buyer about your entire sales process so they know what to expect when closing the deal. This may include a pre-delivery service, the delivery process itself, registration, insurance and other essentials.

Only put testimonials or reviews related to that specific vehicle on the VDP itself. Otherwise, put general consumer reviews about your business in another prominent location.

What to Include in the CTA

Once you’re sure you’ve covered all the essential information and uploaded high-quality images and videos, turn your attention to closing. Include a few key CTAs (calls to action) using prominent buttons in several strategic locations. 

You may want to add one button above the fold (or in the display that is always visible without scrolling), to help improve conversions. Make sure your CTA buttons stand out by contrasting with the background and keeping everything consistent with your brand imagery and colors. 

A good potential CTA would be "Request Information," which could go to a simple lead form that requests a site visitor’s first name, last name, email and phone number.

Better Inventory Makes for Easier Car Merchandising

Of course, you need to have the right inventory at hand if you're going to employ these car merchandising techniques effectively. For this, work with ACV Auctions, and you'll be able to source vehicles nationwide confidently with full trust and transparency. Also, we have the best condition report on the market and will ship the vehicle quickly and fairly priced, no matter where you buy it from. With MAX Digital, part of the ACV family, you can turbocharge your merchandising efforts and empower your sales team for unparalleled success.


1. Online Merchandising Is More Important Than Ever To Capture Today’s Car Buyers, Cox Automotive, April 26, 2023, retrieved from