Research on website conversion rates for dealer sites?

Brent Albrecht
Has anyone seen recent research on the conversion rates for an auto dealers website? Looking specifically for what % of visitors convert to leads, and what percent convert to a sale? If you know of research out there would love to see it, or even if you have stats from your own website you would be willing to share? Thanks
mark rask
I have not seen any research but we avg about 8 pct
Brent Albrecht
Thanks Mark...8% convert to a Lead - by calling or filling out a lead form?
Dennis Galbraith
Brent, the most complete and generally accepted method of measuring conversion is (phone + email + chat) / unique visitors. It's also important to distinguish the difference between total conversion and conversion strictly for sales leads. We commonly see total conversion in the double digits and make it easy to see this and 36 sub-conversion metrics in the dashboard. A lot of things can contribute to the conversion rate going up or down, and it's not a metric one should use on its own. For example, a dealer with a conversion rate of 16% might find it very profitable to drive additional traffic to the site converting at 10%. That will lower the total conversion rate but increase the number of leads in a way that makes sense. This could apply to a service like yours, which is why we provide so much transparency into conversion. Without doing any additional work, dealers should be able instantly see how many leads they are getting from various traffic sources (e.g. Adwords, Yahoo/Bing, Lotlinx, etc). That just makes sense for dealers and the various vendors serving them.
Michael Bilson
Dennis is right on target. It also depends on how or what you measure. At Conversica, we measure results by actual engagement. Dealership sites that convert in the double-digit range have ease of navigation and compelling calls to action. The home page has everything a consumer would want to find, and most of the calls to action click through to a form or a clear path to a form. The most important forms are inventory, sales specials, credit application, trade-in tool, service appointment and service specials. Of course, conversion goes beyond the home page. Pricing, pictures, descriptions, credit applications, reviews, staff pages, and customer experience all play a part in a healthy conversion rate. Even keyword content aids conversion because it brings visitors with a specific goal in mind to your site.
Lindsay Kwaselow
It's important to not weigh in too heavily on leads. According to CDK Marketing (formerly Cobalt) only 1% of your web traffic will actually submit a lead. That being said, it's still important to have a solid strategy to convert the 1%, but the best way to optimize your website for conversion is by promoting the value in your vehicles above the fold visually, and in your comments. The average consumer doesn't know trim level. Show them why your Chevy Tahoe LTZ is priced higher than the other base models they've looked at. We've conducted studies that show dealers that graphically display the value, option, and recon highlights (that mean the most to the consumer) above the fold on their VDPs have a 65% faster turnover rate than dealers who do not. Things like "Priced $2,100 below market average", "New Tires and Brakes", "Navigation" - So the question becomes, are your VDPs optimized to convert? Do they justify your price with value or do they look like everyone else's with an irrelevant alphabetical laundry list of features and options?

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