Want Customers to Take the Off-Ramp to Your Site? Prioritize Your Digital Presence

By the time a prospective buyer sets foot on your dealership’s lot, chances are they’ve done a fair bit of research. In fact, according to a recent report, before shoppers visit a dealership:

  • 69% will have researched vehicles
  • 52% have selected a vehicle make or model
  • 55% have researched local inventories

Unfortunately, your customers’ investigative process can also be riddled with obstacles.

Outdated promotions, confusing web design, and a lack of specific information all lead to frustrations that your customers then carry into the showroom, assuming they even make it that far. This begs the question: Is your dealership giving customers a smooth ride all the way from the sofa to the driver’s seat?

Give your website a fresh coat of paint

Purchasing a vehicle is no small decision, so it makes sense that consumers crave transparency. You can provide that in the form of a regularly updated, easily navigable website that offers a hassle-free shopping experience.

Considering the importance of a strong web presence, it’s shocking that over a third of dealers cite their website as the part of their business most in need of innovation.

A simple list of vehicles with matching photos and prices barely gets your site a passing grade these days. Buyers’ guides, video brochures, and personalized advertisements are just a handful of the many tools at your disposal to optimize the customer experience and turn your site into a virtual showroom.

Make sure customers take the off-ramp to your site

You wouldn’t locate your business right off the interstate without some eye-catching signage to catch drivers’ attention. In the same way, having a great website doesn’t mean much if the average consumer never sees it. With all the local dealerships vying for clicks, prospective customers can have trouble narrowing down which business best caters to their specific needs.

This is why search engine optimization (SEO) should be a non-negotiable focus area for automotive retailers. Most people don’t feel inclined to scroll through page after page of search engine results, so it’s essential that your business get listed on page one, ideally toward the top.

Google’s search algorithms are constantly evolving, meaning it can take a professional staff to understand them and develop unique, keyword-targeted content that adapts to answer the questions your customers are asking.

Search engines prioritize relevant results, meaning your site should be authoritative and full of relevant content for the shoppers in your area. Authentic, in-depth web pages paired with well-executed SEO are an invaluable resource for dealerships looking to win in the digital space.

Don’t let the wheels come off at the finish line

Even if your digital presence is pitch-perfect, the in-person dealership experience remains a crucial aspect of every vehicle sale. While online shopping now shapes a great deal of our spending habits, 94% of car buyers are still most comfortable purchasing a vehicle at a physical dealership. In fact, the vast majority of consumers will visit two or more lots before buying.

That means that even as the world changes around us, fundamentals like hospitality, excellent service, and respecting potential customers’ time and autonomy are far from going out of style.

Use your digital tools well to win in the digital space, but don’t let the wheels come off at the finish line – the dealership is the engine of your business, so keep it fine-tuned and finish strong.