In today’s world, the internet is increasingly important. From home computers to the ever-present mobile phones, the internet is everywhere at all times. It can behoove almost any business to have an online presence, and car dealerships are no exception. From inventory lists, customer service, ever expanding social media and more, having a website can boost your dealership to the next level.
Why You Need a Website
Most vehicle purchases are concluded at the dealership. After all, not many buyers want to buy a car without seeing it in person and taking it for a quick test drive. However, this doesn’t mean a good website isn’t important. Indeed, over 80 percent of auto customers prefer to start the process online. They are more likely to buy a vehicle from a car dealership that has a complete website that lets them see their inventory, reserve times, complete prerequisite payment info and more. Denying a customer this opportunity means they are unlikely to visit your dealership or purchase from your fleet. Your website should, therefore, focus on providing everything possible in order to make your dealership a one-stop-shop. A good website is also an important factor in building your dealer brand. While people are familiar with big car brands like Ford, GM, Chrysler, Jeep, etc., you need to build your dealer brand as the place people think of when they need a vehicle. By building an online presence, people are more likely to see, visit and remember your dealership.
Other Online Resources You Should Use
Cars.com is one of the leading automotive pricing and research tools, with an estimated 15.5 million unique site visitors each month. It offers comparisons and in-depth research that allows customers to make smart choices. Dealers can list their vehicles on this site where potential customers can view, get basic information and compare to others. Directing some of that traffic your way by listing your inventory on a site like Cars.com can help boost your sales. Just make sure that when the customer heads to your site, your inventory is up to date, pricing is accurate, and the car’s information is easy to find and ready to go. The fewer roadblocks you put in front of a customer’s online experience, the better the chance they make the trip to see you. Additionally, don’t be afraid to use social media to your advantage. Having a presence on big social sites like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter are great ways to generate buzz, make big announcements, showcase specific vehicles, roll out sales and more. Even better, social media allows potential customers to share and tag even more people, generating more traffic and more potential sales.
You also want your dealership prevalent in local Google My Business searches. Ensure all your information is correct, that it directs people to your website, and encourage happy customers to leave reviews, even if you have to provide incentives. You can even take pictures of happy customers and post them, with their legally obtained permission. An underrated aspect of your site will actually be its name. Make sure your web domain name is easy to spell, uses SEO-style keywords, avoids hyphens and numbers and uses a .com address. Understand that your website is an extension of your showroom and lot. A good one attracts customers, generates interest, primes people to be buyers and more. Let it show off the personality of your dealership and employees and help buyers to understand that your dealership is a safe and friendly environment that will get customers in the vehicle they need and driving away thrilled with their new purchase.
Tips for Designing a Great Website
So now that we know the importance of a good website, the question is what makes a website good, especially for a car dealership. Some of this will depend on the specifics of your dealership. A single location dealer with no repair shop will have fewer needs than a multi-location, new and used dealership featuring a full repair shop. No matter what, the main thing is to have your inventory on your website and updated frequently as you add new cars to the lot. High quality, eye-catching photos or videos, accurate and well-written descriptions and as much information about the specific car as possible are all recommended. It also is a good idea to provide information on the brands and models you sell and allow customers to experiment with flexible pricing that lets them pick various features. It should also be mobile friendly, as people increasingly shift to mobile devices to do their searching and browsing. Another good idea is to have testimonials from happy customers on your website. Indications of trustworthiness and efficiency in the buying process can convince a customer to make your dealership their first stop. One potential pitfall to be aware of are pushy ads or chat notifications. Customers often prefer to start online due to the lack of high-pressure salespeople and situations. Pushing that environment on a customer through your website is a good way to turn people off. However, it is good to have it as an easily visible contact option for when they are ready.
Benefits of Listing Your Inventory Online
It cannot be overstated how many people begin or do significant parts of their car buying process online. And with humans as visually focused as we are, having your inventory online is a must. Many dealerships are currently trending toward the use of eye-catching videos that can show the entire exterior and interior of the vehicle. This is a great tactic for both new and used vehicles and can be used to show off specific features as needed. When a potential customer initiates a search, estimates show that any website has about thirty seconds to capture their attention and keep them on the site. This is especially true when buying cars. A customer will be immediately turned off by a dealership that features no inventory or a poorly photographed one. This is your chance to show off your cars and make a big first impression. Whether a customer is searching for new or used vehicles, an online inventory will quickly allow them to view options, settle on potential buys and commit to your dealership instead of going elsewhere.
It is also worth noting that a good picture in the Google My Business section can be especially engaging for a customer, as it may be the very first thing they see about you, and in comparison to other local dealers that also appear on the search. Make sure to have your most eye-catching pictures posted and rotate frequently to show fresh inventory. Lastly, don’t forget that allowing your inventory to be posted on sites like Cars.com can generate even more web traffic to your site and ultimately, to your lot.
A website may seem a complex and daunting undertaking for business as variable and complex as a car dealership. However, with the knowledge we have about customer’s shopping habits, there is no denying that an online presence is a must to ratchet your sales up a few notches. With the prevalence of social media, aggregators such as Cars.com and Google My Business, you have increased the power to make a splash with your sales.