Today’s car shoppers spend six to eight weeks comparing makes and models before they even begin looking at particular inventory. They take this time to identify the makes and models that will best fulfill their needs and are within their desired price and payment range. Many create spreadsheets with the information that will help them make a buying decision. If they are this prepared when an inventory search brings them to your website, shouldn’t you be too?
Consumers are also extremely knowledgeable about their own trade vehicles. Consumers have access to more information about the market value and how to determine this value than even car dealers had only 15 years ago. The mystery of how much a trade is worth and a dealer’s ability to steal trades has diminished with today’s educated consumers. Today’s information empowered consumers demand more from dealers and the first impression they will likely get of you and your dealership is your website.
Let’s follow the consumers path to your website. First during their six to eight week research period they use sites like Edmunds, New Car Test Drive and Car and Driver to learn about different makes and models, options and pricing! Next when they are ready to start looking for the actual vehicles in their market that are available, an Autotrader.com search leads to one of your units and they visit your site for the first time. What kind of first impression are you putting out for them?
Is your site mobile enabled and does it offer valuable information that will encourage car buyers to give you the opportunity to earn their business? Is it unique or is it a cookie cutter site just like every other dealer in town? Dealers spend millions of dollars building unique dealerships that stand out amongst the others on dealership row. They should put the same effort and attention into their websites.
Dealers need a website that can be easily updated by the dealership staff to stay up to date and relevant. The easiest way to do this is use a website with drag and drop capabilities. Imagine a website that can be updated as easily as you can drag and drop something into a PowerPoint or Word Doc. In most other industries this is the standard. In retail automotive the largest website providers through consolidation and OEM mandates have kept many dealerships in the internet stone age.
So, have you stopped and asked yourself what your website is telling consumers about your dealership? Perhaps you have one of the very inexpensive template sites or OEM sites and you’ve always just figured you were good because everybody has one too. Do you want car buyers’ first impression of you to be that you are just run of the mill? If marketing is nothing else, at it’s very core, marketing’s goal is to make yourself stand out. Is it not? If you want to lead in your market, it is time to upgrade