The Internet has certainly revolutionized our industry and, for the most part, that revolution has been a positive one. But with so much information available to consumers, who now spend an average of 17 hours online visiting dozens of Websites to research their next vehicle purchase (known as the “Merry-Go-Round” effect), the Information Age has actually become the Indecision Age.
Studies have found that today’s car buyers are influenced by a staggering 24 different touchpoints along their journey to purchase (19 of which are digital). These include Google search results, OEM Websites, third-party sites, brand social media pages, dealer Websites, YouTube videos and more. Dealership visits have declined to an average of one to two visits today, versus five in 2005, and nearly 50 percent of consumers do not purchase the car they originally had in mind.
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The end result is the ever-growing challenge for dealers to break through the digital clutter to drive more consumers to their showrooms. But how do you make your Website the last and most important Website a car buyer visits before they visit you? Here are some simple engagement tips to help turn Website visits into showroom visits:
• Drive the right traffic. Your Website is only as good as the quality of traffic landing there. Be sure to implement a traffic source that reaches large volumes of in-market car buyers who have indicated the make and model of interest and their specific geographic location for optimal engagement. And don’t link that traffic too deeply on your site. Linking too deeply can hurt the consumer experience by preventing visitors from seeing all the vehicle options in your inventory, your specials, the tools you offer to help them purchase a vehicle or information about why your dealership and your brand is head and shoulders above the rest.
• Offer the right information. A clean, easyto-navigate Website with information that guides consumers to their final purchase decision is best. Showcase your inventory prominently, be sure specials and incentives are clearly defined and offer information about the benefits of CPO versus new or used, along with the benefits of buying versus leasing. Highlight your F&I products and offer trade-in information. Content is king, and that’s never been more true than it is today, so be sure to provide all the information a visitor needs to stop their research, visit your dealership and, ultimately, buy from you.
• Provide the right services. Now that you’ve got the right traffic and information, it’s time to offer the right services such as texting, next generation video chat or shop-by-payment technology to optimize engagement. Texting is a preferred method of communication among today’s consumers, so offering texting capabilities backed by a Web-based lead management system for text — one that helps capture and manage leads and assists with compliance — is smart. Video chat has evolved to enable a dealer to co-browse his or her Website with consumers, which is great for mirroring the offline experience online. And, since payment is a significant purchase influencer, tools that enable consumers to shop by payment with your inventory, without the need for a social security number or date of birth — what an awesome user experience! — is an excellent way to drive traffic from your site to your showroom.
It’s plain and simple. The people who visit your Website without ever leaving a footprint are missed showroom appointments and ultimately, missed sales opportunities. Turn up the volume on your Website’s engagement strategy to drive more consumers onto your lot and into your cars.