About 2 weeks ago, I discussed the major shift that was happening within the automotive industry in regards to their digital presence. In a nutshell, dealerships are adding significant upgrades to their websites in order to provide better resources, and impress consumers who are currently have lots of options in front of them. In addition to website alterations, dealers are also leveraging other online resources (like social media) in order to reach new consumers and keep loyal customers in the loop.
In that post, I didn’t really divulge into everything that dealerships were doing to evolve their digital presence. Sure, I discussed the concept of upgrading one’s website (and even named an example), but there are so many things that dealerships are doing to make sure their websites kick some serious butt. In fact, with all the new software for auto dealers coming out, there’s no excuse to not at least experiment a little. The same goes for off-website stuff too. That being said, what are some of the changes that dealerships are making? Let’s take a quick look:
Overall Website Design Changes
Remember how I mentioned that many dealership websites worked off a 3rd-party template? Well, dealers are still using those templates — but they’re coming up with some awesome ways to make those websites entirely their own. That, or they’re simply scrapping the 3rd party vendor to hire a website designer. Either way, dealers are quickly putting extensive focus on the overall look of their website.
Dealerships want to stand out, so they’re cleaning up their HTML, adding unique fonts and creating an experience that consumers don’t feel overwhelmed by. Dealerships websites are no longer cluttered by pop-ups, inventory (on the front page) and various calls-to-action.
Interactive Lead Capture Tool Customization
Most dealerships nowadays use some sort of Interactive Lead Capture tool (Think your Blackbooks, Auto Traders, and KBBs). However, like the websites I mentioned previously, a lot of those tools are also pretty template heavy. Instead of leveraging a generic template with generic questions and standard logos, dealerships are now attempting to personalize their tools in order to provide consumers with a smoother experience on their website. For consumers, landing on a dealership’s lead capture tool and discovering entirely different logos and rich media mentally skews the experience for them. It often times leaves consumers feeling confused.
If your dealership uses the standard template, it’s as if the consumer has left the website. If I’ve learned anything over the last few years of working in automotive marketing, consumers are much happier when their shopping experiences are seamless. Dealers are beginning to realize this too, as they're altering the tool’s color scheme and images; as well as adding rich media. More importantly, they're customizing the questions being asked on the form itself. They’re questions these consumers have likely never seen before, so that adds to the overall “uniqueness” of your dealership.
You’d be very surprised to learn that, at one point, many dealerships didn’t really keep very close tabs on the analytics of their website — mainly because they didn’t know such an option was available to them. Over the past few years, dealerships have become extremely aware of the power that comes from looking at platforms like Google Analytics to figure out more about what consumers are actually doing on their website. And yes, I added extra emphasis on the word “actually” for a good reason. When consumers fill out a form on your website, they’re basically telling you the truth (and why wouldn’t they? It’s in their best interest to do so). The problem is that a lot of consumers will do certain things without really giving it a second thought. For example: a consumer might visit your website knowing they want a sedan, but they keep eyeballing the “Trucks” section of your website. Subconscious behaviors like this can be tracked and leveraged for future marketing efforts (Promotions, Facebook/Twitter posts, messaging, etc.); or even retargeting — which is typically occurs automatically once results are captured! Basically, web analytics tools provide a completely unobscured view of your consumers.
As you can tell from the examples above, dealerships are paying very close attention to the new types of technology coming out. Because competition is so fierce between dealerships, investing in upgrades is a wise decision that’ll prove to be quite fruitful as time progresses.
What sorts of new technology do you think we’ll see in the next few years? Tell us in the comments.