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Advertising in the automotive business is a tough thing to track, especially when it comes to direct mail, TV, newspaper, and radio. More and more dealerships are starting to pull more and more away from the ‘traditional advertising’ and putting it where you can track it more effectively and that is the internet. How many times does a customer walk in the showroom and the salesperson marks them in the CRM that they are a ‘drive-by’?
Almost 80% of the buyers that walk in the showroom did research online, but did not establish contact before coming in to look at the vehicle. 67% of those buyers went to the dealer’s website to get information on the vehicle. This is a reinforcement that you have to have quality photos, good descriptions, and be competitively priced, or they will never show up at your front door. Of the 80%, 64% were ‘walk-ins’, 27% picked up the phone, and 9% emailed into the dealership. This shows me that almost every person that walks in the showroom is an internet customer.
Since so many consumers are hitting your dealership’s website, how does it look? Is it user friendly? Is your website easy to navigate? Does it encourage them to engage with you (i.e. chat, a coupon pop-up, etc)? Is your website mobile phone friendly? You want your website to convert that consumer to make a call or send in information on a vehicle or special. That percentage should be in the 3-5% range of your total unique visitors. I have been leary of chat, but have become a proponent of it in the last couple of months after putting it on our website.
Things to concentrate on for 2011 is to make sure that your website are all of those things above. Also, work on SEO to direct traffic to your site. Buy urls that will enhance your visibility on the internet. Buy for example buy a url that has a model and your city. Build that landing page and direct them back to your main website. Not only focus on sales, but look at your fixed operations. Look at buying your city oil change dot com. I did this and it was the top of google searches within 3 weeks. We are generating phone calls and click throughs to our website. Click throughs and engagement with the customer is the key. Make it happen in 2011!