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Jared Hamilton
From: Jared Hamilton
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Yesterday was my fathers birthday, the big 60, and I had the perfect gift idea for him.  A copy of Seth Godin's new book Tribes, which my son and I are featured in. (Get a copy see for yourself)  The problem was I left the nicely wrapped copy I had for him at my home and did not realize it until after we traveled thirty miles to his. I was not going to let that stop me from putting a copy in his hand on this day.  The boys and I visited the local big chain book retailer to pick up a copy and it reminded me why I prefer to shop online for certain things.  It also proved how much more efficient it is as a consumer to do so. We trotted to the business book section and started scouring the books to find our coveted copy.  It appearded that there was no rhyme or reason to how the books were shelved and after 10 minutes we visited the kiosk to see if there was even a copy in the store.  Theirs was not self serve so we had to wait 3 or 4 more minutes for someone to come help us. After giving the name of the book to the clerk and then having to spell both the authours name an the title to here  and being informed that there was 12 copies in the store in the business section I wanted to scream.  After explaining to her that we did not see it there and her insistence that it was the manager came to our rescue.  She informed her and us that it was on display by their coffee shop and went and grabbed us a copy.  The price was around five dollars more than I could of bought it for online and the process took around 25 minutes longer even if I had to type my credit card number in at checkout, which I don't.  This process explains why online book retailers are more successful than their brick and mortar counter parts. To state the obvious that is why consumers visit dealers online before stepping into the showroom.  They want to make sure you have what they want before they waste their time visiting you.  They want what they are after even if that is now what they buy in the end. It could be a specific used car or new car color trim selection.  It could be competent secondary financing to make up for their credit short falls.  It could be to just window shop to see what is available.  For what ever reason they want what they came for before they decide to engage you. The longer you can hold them on your site giving them the information they want the more likely they are to reach out to you buy either submitting a lead or visiting your showroom.  Anything you can do to sell them on doing business with you while they are there will let them win and you win. Make it easy for the consumer to get what they want should be your first goal.  Keeping them on your site longer, with an effective call to action is your second.  Here are some things that you may want to try to increase conversions.
  • Turn the pop ups and pop unders off.  One website site I recently visited causes a pop under on every navigation from a single inventory item even back to the search feature.  A customer experiening this may leave and never come back.
  • Make sure your cars are priced even if it is list price.  Think if you visited a store that did not display prices until you were ready to check out would you go there often?
  • Keep all sections of your site updated.  If you have a specials page make sure something is there or turn it off.
  • Give them more than one way to contact you.  Is your phone number on every page and each inventory item?
  • Tell your story.  Let them know what makes you different from "Down the Road Motors".
  • Get rid of the auto played audio.  Let the customers decide if they want to hear about you virtual showroom.  If they are looking at work and that comes on they may bounce to never return.
These are just a few starting points to help your average time on site and conversion ratio.  I am sure some will disagree or even have more tips.  Please tell us about it in the comments. By the way, my dad liked his gift and now I have two copies of Tribes in my vehicle for back up.  It is doubtful I will ever buy another book in a brick and mortar store.  I told them there was no reason to renew the discount card that was given to me for Christmas last year even though they had a "Special" the cost of books online is cheaper without discounts and I can find exactly what I want when I want and even get a few recommendations in the process.

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