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For those you that have been in the auto industry for a while, you have seen the shift in marketing strategies. It has gone, in just a few short years, from a sales lot full of streamers, banners and lurking sales people, to making room in the dealership for an IT staff to build a website for your dealership complete with links to your Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and any other social media account you desire. My previous experience in the automotive industry was pre-internet, so seeing the change from making charts to make sure you do not have two of the same color cars next to each other, to scheduling Facebook posts and writing vehicle descriptions for inventory featured online is quite a difference. My first and very brief experience with early internet auto sales was for a local Mazda/Saab dealership back in 2003. The “Internet Sales Department” as they so cleverly called it, consisted of an antique laptop on a folding table with a chair in a corner of the sales floor. The dial-up internet was slow, their attempt at a website was far from professional and needless to say, the “Internet Sales Department” lasted about two weeks as my draw and the money they spent for the website far exceeded any sales being made, which were zero. At that point, I might have questioned my sales ability, but there were no leads either. If you do not get your customer’s attention, you cannot sell them a vehicle. Fast forward to 2012 and the game has completely changed.
If you stop and look around, no matter where you are, you see people who are just short of physically attached to their iPhone, smartphone, tablet, iPad, laptop or any other device that the internet can be accessed on at a whim. Searching has become as easy as asking your phone where to find something and in a flash it appears on the screen. Once you locate the site you want, it also gives you the option to touch the screen and call them, get driving directions, email them or any one of a number of other choices. Touch the screen again and you can view their entire website. In the case of searching for an auto dealership, this gives you access to their complete inventory, right there in the palm of your hand. Gone are the days of driving from dealership to dealership looking at vehicles, today you can save gas and time, and relax in your favorite chair to browse instead. Not only does it save consumers time, it alleviates the pressure that they feel walking into an auto dealership with any slight doubt of exactly what they want. While the desire for face to face communication still exists although much less frequent, more people find it easier to email or call about a vehicle than go to the lot and be the next “up” for the sales staff. People have enough pressure in their lives, and if they can alleviate some of it, you know they will.
Now to the point I am trying to make, which is very simple - if you have an automobile dealership, no matter if you have 50 vehicles in inventory or 5000, if you do not have a website, and even better, a mobile-friendly website, expect to be left in the dust. Having a website built and creating a complete internet presence is no longer a luxury for auto dealerships it should be a priority. By providing your potential customers with a one-stop, easy to navigate website, you can potentially sell vehicles before the customer even sets foot on the lot. A good website does not just give your phone number and address and all the vehicles you have, it is much more. The easiest way to determine what your site should have is to imagine the buying experience from the first contact to the first oil change and beyond. Here are some things to consider for a website:
While this is only a short list of things to keep in mind when taking your dealership online, these points are a good start to creating on online presence people will notice. Think about what you would want if you were shopping for an auto dealership while you are relaxing in your lounge chair with your smartphone, iPhone or laptop. Think about what would make you share an auto dealer’s website with a friend or family member who is shopping for a vehicle. Think about what makes you decide to shop on a particular website. Is it the great photos of the products or the clear concise descriptions? Is it because the site is easy to use or because they have special offers? What makes a good website is all of these points, as well as many others.
Whether you already have a site or want to build a site and create an online presence, Interactive 360, Inc. can help. We can provide you with all the tools and create a site that is easy to use no matter if your customer is using a pc, a laptop or a mobile device. We can create a package for you that will provide everything that draws customers to your site and your dealership as well as the tools to retain those customers and keep them coming back. If you want more information on what we offer, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Our experienced staff will work with you to create an online presence that helps you transition from the banners on your storefront to interactive banners on your new website.