The days of heading to the car dealership “blind” are over. As in most industries, auto dealership customers shop and gather information online before purchasing.
And according to a Deloitte survey, 36% of car buyers turn to the dealership’s website for information before making the trip.
That means an effective website is critical for auto dealers to maximize their sales. But how can you best leverage your website’s power?
7 Website Optimization Steps for Auto Dealers
- Enhance the User Experience
- Showcase Inventory
- Implement Online Financing Options
- Build Trust and Credibility
- Utilize Live Chat and Chatbots
- Implement Targeting Marketing
- Monitor and Analyze Website Performance
Here we’ll comprehensively discuss precisely how to enhance your website optimization and maximize the effectiveness of your dealership’s website.
1. Enhance the User Experience
First of all, you need to make your website a pleasant experience. Information should be easy to find, and the navigation should be smooth. It also needs to be clean and visually appealing.
In today’s world, you must optimize your website for mobile devices since that’s where many people, particularly younger generations, browse.
Creating an interactive virtual showroom experience and 360-degree vehicle tours can also enhance the user experience. You can even incorporate virtual test drives to give the buyer a virtual dealership experience.
Most importantly, your site needs clear and compelling calls to action, such as “schedule my test drive” or “get my pre-approval.”
These CTAs, particularly when personalized with a word like “my,” can significantly increase the likelihood of an in-person visit. Statistics show that personalized CTAs have 42% more conversions than generic CTAs.
A visit to your website that generates leads through your CTAs is the most important of all the sales cycle stages. Without leads, you can’t proactively make sales.
2. Showcase Inventory
People like to shop online, so you need to showcase your inventory. You need to use high-quality photos and videos and provide detailed vehicle descriptions.
Be sure to keep your inventory listings clean with easy-to-find information.
Organized and searchable inventory listings will enhance the user experience and be more likely to spark their interest.
You can include CTAs here, such as “take a virtual test drive” or “ask the dealer a question.”
Keep your inventory updated in real-time so visitors are interested in something other than a car that’s no longer available.
3. Implement Online Financing Options
Everyone hates sitting in the dealership for hours while the finance department works its slow magic. Allowing people to save time by getting approved online can significantly increase their likelihood of coming in.
The more comprehensive you can make this process, the better because it will make their visit to the dealership shorter and more pleasant.
The better you can make their overall experience, the more likely they will be to come back for their next vehicle purchase.
You should also integrate an online payment calculator that tells the customer their upfront costs and monthly payment.
If you wait until they come in to let them know their costs, they’re more likely to get gun-shy when they see the numbers.
4. Build Trust and Credibility
If your dealership has earned any awards, display those as well.
Customers also want to know the people they’re dealing with, so include a page with team member bios and credentials.
The bios have a personal touch, with information about families or anything else that might create a personal connection between the customer and the team member.
Another way to build credibility is to be transparent about vehicle pricing. If you don’t display prices, your site visitors will likely visit another dealership’s site that does.
5. Utilize Live Chat and Chatbots
Live chat on a website can increase website conversions by 2.8 times. People want immediate answers to questions and don’t necessarily want to talk on the phone so a chat feature can enhance the customer experience.
Chat is a great way to capture leads as well. You can have a chat start with a request for the visitor’s email address so that you can follow up.
Be sure to make the chat experience comprehensive, with the rep offering personal assistance, recommendations, and even a walk-through of the buying process.
When live reps are unavailable, you can have an AI-powered chatbot to offer answers and make recommendations.
6. Implement Targeted Marketing
Your website should have trackers to capture customer data and follow their online behavior, which allows you to use data analytics for personalized marketing. It means that you’ll be able to generate relevant ads appearing on other sites they visit, such as social media.
You can also use their data to drive your social media marketing strategy.
You’ll know how people interact with your site and what social media sites they visit, so you can create ads and posts with content related to their behavior and put them on the most relevant social media channels.
You should also capture visitor emails with a popup, or through your chat feature and other calls to action. It allows you to create customized email campaigns that offer information based on their activity on your site.
Your emails should contain at least one call to action.
7. Monitor and Analyze Website Performance
You’ll want to measure your website’s performance using web analytics tools continually. You’ll want to track how much traffic your site is getting and your conversion rates.
For an auto dealership, your conversion will have stages, the first being a click on your calls to action. A visit to your dealership is next, and a purchase is the last.
By monitoring all of these metrics, you can see where you’re having success and where you’re not so that you can identify areas for improvement.
Your website can be a powerful tool for increasing sales if you fully employ the strategies necessary to optimize your site.
Before making a car purchase, most people go online to explore their options, so if your site is not optimized, you’re missing valuable opportunities.
A professional website designer and developer can help you implement your website strategies, or you can find apps easily integrated into your site to provide you with all the necessary functions.
In any case, it’s crucial to maximize your site’s potential so that you can see your sales numbers climb.
Esther Strauss is the co-founder of Step By Step Business, as well as an accomplished author and speaker.
Esther is a business strategist with over 20 years of experience as an entrepreneur, executive, educator, and management advisor. She has founded companies in technology and media.