Bringing your car dealership online can be a daunting task, but it is a necessary move as more and more customers are starting to purchase vehicles over the internet. In 2019, over 800,000 cars were sold online, and this number is projected to grow to up to 6 million cars in 2025. Below are six tips that will help your dealership succeed as you make the move online.
1. Be Responsive (in design and communication!)
One of the most important tips when bringing your car dealership online is to be responsive to those who visit the site. This can be done in two ways, depending on how the visitor is interacting on the site.
● First, if a user is just browsing through the different pages of the vehicles and clicking on and off the site, the best way to reach them is to have chat boxes pop-up on the site. Make sure that you have a live user in customer service ready to chat if a visitor engages with the chat box. Typically, if users are just browsing, they will have some questions as they navigate through the site.
● Second, if a user inputs a request for a quote or is intent on making a purchase, your team must be ready to respond immediately. Waiting longer than twenty-four hours after a user shows interest will likely have them searching on a different dealerships site, costing you their business. Learn more about how to set up an online customer service team here.
2. Include High Quality Images
Purchasing a car is a huge decision. It is an expensive purchase that, on average, lasts a driver about eleven years. When deciding on what car a user wants to purchase, if they are looking online, they want to see every inch of the vehicle. Ensuring that all your product photos are high-resolution is imperative. You should also include a zoom feature in the photos so that when a user is looking at a specific detail or feature of the car, they are able to view it up-close and in-depth.
Along with the high-quality images, be sure to include a list of key features that are available with the car. Keep the information in short, bullet-point lists so that it is easy to read and understand what the highlights and unique selling points are.
3. Make the Site Accessible
An inaccessible website means that users with disabilities are unable to properly access and consume the information on a website. For automotive dealers especially, making sure your website is accessible is essential. Up to 94% of prospective car buyers now connect with dealerships through their car dealer websites, mostly via mobile devices. If the website is inaccessible, and those with disabilities cannot properly find the information they need, car dealerships are at risk for being sued due to lack of compliance and are also risking losing more business by unintentionally excluding those with disabilities.
If you currently are unsure about whether or not you have correctly made the changes to make your website accessible, there is a tool that can help. accessiBe is an automated solution that can be implemented onto a business's website to make it accessible and ensure proper ADA & WCAG compliance. The site will then be safe and accessible for those with epilepsy, visual impairments, hearing impairments, and the list goes on. Site users can even make customized adjustments to the website pages using the accessiBe widget to suit their individual needs.
4. Email Marketing
Email marketing is one of the best ways to get new visitors to your online dealership, as 75% of adults claim that email is their preferred method of communication. Automotive dealerships that use email marketing have seen increased sales and customers bases.
● Keep your list updated. With new customers inquiring about information daily, email addresses being changed, and contact information always changing it is important to keep your email list up to date. If you do not ask for your new customers' information you will not be able to reach them with your campaigns. Additionally, if you are finding emails bouncing back, you likely are using outdated information.
● Make the message personal. People love to feel that they are getting an exclusive deal or that a discount is personal to them. By making sure your email campaigns address the user by their first name in the message, they will feel that they are being directly contacted and this can increase the likelihood of a response.
● Make sure the emails are mobile responsive. Almost 50% of people now use their phones to open emails. If your emails do not load properly on a mobile device, the user will just delete the message. By ensuring that your users can view, read, and respond to emails on their phones, this will raise your chances of getting responses.
● Respond. As stated previously, being responsive is the major key in having a successful auto dealership online. If a customer responds to your email campaign, be sure to contact them immediately to help guide them through the process of shopping for a vehicle.
5. Publish Press Releases
As your dealership is catered towards local customers, publishing press releases on your website will attract more attention. Anything that is newsworthy for your dealership should be written about and posted. Special deals, products, or sales are all great topics to write about. Be sure to keep the press releases short, simple, and informative. You can also push your press releases to be posted on other local websites to attract even more customers online.
6. Include Customer Reviews and Testimonials
When making purchase decisions, users want to know how others have felt about the purchase. 89% of consumers read online reviews before making a purchase. And about 75% of users trust these online reviews as if they were a personal recommendation. Especially when it comes to big purchases like a car, users want to know exactly what and who they are purchasing from. If you can ask customers that you have a great relationship with to review your dealership and the car they most recently bought to post online, future customers will feel better about buying from your digital car dealership.
Overall, putting your car dealership online is a really important step to make in this digital age. It can attract more customers than ever before, and by following the six tips above, you will see immense growth in your business.