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Jared Hamilton
From: Jared Hamilton
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Dennis Galbraith

Dennis Galbraith Chief Marketing Officer

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Role of Dealership Websites Inside the Store

Mobile phones greatly changed the role of the dealership website. Many of us used to gage a website primarily on its ability to convert shoppers into contacts. That remains important, but today the site is used by customers even while they are in the store. Savvy dealerships are turning to high-content websites and training personnel on the use of that content when working with customers in person as well as on the phone or online.

When the website is loaded with content about the vehicle, within a navigation platform that makes things easy to find, anyone with the site in front of them can be an expert on the vehicle. Employees can remind shoppers what awards a particular vehicle won in the model year it was created. They can assure customers the vehicle includes the options or marketing packages important to the shopper. They can even bring up manufacturer brochures and owner’s manuals on the vehicle, right on dealers website.

This information is particularly important for used vehicles. Some sales people are truly experts regarding the new vehicles they sell, but that’s extremely hard to achieve with used vehicles. This is especially important now that more and more stores are placing an enhanced emphasis on the sale us used vehicles. Thousands of dealerships use pricing tools like vAuto or FirstLook, and virtually every dealer now understands the importance of merchandising their inventory with photos, videos, and text descriptions. Dealers need a differentiator. Additional information, better navigation for that information, and training staff members on how to use this information can all lead to significant competitive advantage.

There is an inverse relationship between information and customer doubt, and a direct relationship between information and perceived value. Providing more information can help improve close rates, hold gross, and shorten the time it takes to sell a vehicle within the store. It’s difficult to know what information will be vital to a particular individual. Providing complete transparency, as well as making it easy to find the information, makes it possible for each shopper to quickly obtain what they need. It can also help each person in the dealership quickly find the information they or the shopper are looking for.

Dealership websites not only play a huge role in driving traffic to the store, they have a significant role within the store. Living up to the opportunity requires more content than most dealership websites provide.

Megan Barto
Great post! But from an analaytics perspective,. what is your opinion on filtering out your store's IP address from saaay your Google Analytics? I don't want the 12 hours a day I spend on my inventory pages to skew my bounce rate/time on site/any other metrics. Does anyone else out there do this?
Shannon Hammons
Megan, I too want to filter. My bcd and myself are on the site a lot. I don't want skewed numbers.
Megan Barto
Shannon -- do you use Google Analytics?
Shannon Hammons
Megan-- Everyday
Dennis Galbraith
This is an excellent point Megan. In a perfect world, you could see the in-store activity separated from the exterior activity, yet keep the administrative activity out of both sets of metrics. My friend, Jeff Kershner, advocates handing the shopper a tablet computer when the store is extremely busy. I think we'd want that user data, but would not want to confuse it with what shoppers are doing before they come to the store.We want the website to deliver a great experience across all devices and all user objectives, but that doesn't mean we want the data all jumbled up together. I'm not sure IP address is the right filter going forward.

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