The High Costs of Dealership Website Downtime

Most dealerships probably don’t give much thought to website uptime or downtime. You trust your provider and assume that your dealership’s website will be live 99%-100% of the time, with exceptions for regularly scheduled maintenance.

However, when a website goes down unexpectedly, it instantly becomes priority number one. And rightfully so, because the potential impact can be enormous.

One of the most high-profile downtime events took place earlier this year in July when Amazon.com suffered a website crash as soon as Prime Day began. According to Business Insider, the one-hour downtime event may have cost the company up to $100 million in lost sales.

This example is an extreme case from the world’s largest ecommerce company. Yet the impact can still be substantial for a single dealership – or even greater for multiple stores within a group if they share the same website provider and host.

What could downtime mean for you?

Lost opportunity. As with the Amazon example, lost opportunity is likely the most serious potential effect of site downtime. For a dealership website, that means lost leads, service appointments, and potential sales.

Reduced productivity. When your site is down, any employee who manages website leads and sales will be idle. What other work are employees not able to accomplish? What are your customers not able to accomplish?

Damage to reputation and brand perception. Equally troubling, but perhaps more subjective, is the potential damage this has on your dealership’s image. According to a Gomez study, 88% of online consumers are less likely to return to a site after a bad experience.

Damage to SEO. It’s possible that your ranking in Google and other SERPs will be impacted, depending on the length of your site’s downtime. Single, short-duration downtime events might hurt rankings temporarily, but will likely have minimal long-term effects. However, frequent and/or extended downtime events will result in increased bounce rates, and will give Google more reason to bump you for a more reliable site.

Wasted ad spend. Unless you catch the problem early and pause your ad spend during a downtime event, those digital advertising dollars will be directing to pages that error out. If ad spend is not paused, users will be subjected to the same poor user experience and brand perception we discussed earlier.

Your website is your digital dealership, with one major difference: people expect it to be open for business at all times. An unreliable website is like hanging a “closed” sign on your door in the middle of the business day. You can’t afford either one.