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Ryan Gerardi

Ryan Gerardi Futurist

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Mystery Shopping vs. Shopper Consideration Assessments

Each and every day hundreds of people, if not thousands, are visiting your dealership website. While many people reach your website as a result of clicking on links from emails you send, ads you run, social media posts, etc....practically speaking a majority of people arrive as a result of searching your dealership name on Google.

Of the thousands that decide to click on a search result and visit your website, how many hundreds do NOT do this? Why do they overlook you and eliminate your dealership, and how valuable could they have been for you?

Phrased differently, how much potential business are you NOT acquiring as a result of cracks in your online presence, and how much is this costing you?

What Are the Losses?

Considering that each dealership customer is potentially worth a million bucks over a lifetime between the business they bring you directly and refer, the loss of potential business is significant. Even if only 1-3% of website visitors convert into incremental sales and service business immediately that doesn't mean the remaining 95%-plus have no value.

If you could make improvements to your online dealership presence that reduce the "lost potential traffic" by say 25% and get these people onto your website, how would this impact your bottom line and improve your ROI?

Reality is, there’s no way to know how much potential business you are losing because there’s no way to know how many people overlooked or eliminated your dealership. You only know how many are considering you.

Here’s What we Do Know

We know that low ratings on review sites cause people to eliminate your dealership. When you search a dealership name on Google and append the words, “dealership reviews” Google shows all the stars, ratings, and number of reviews on relevant sites such as Facebook, Yelp, DealerRater,, Edmunds, and of course Google itself.

We know that people overlook you when they don’t like what they see.

We know that people click on these links which means they see what your profiles and listings look like. They see what your Facebook page looks like, they see what your Yelp listing looks like, they see what your YouTube channel and LinkedIn page looks like.

We know that you only have a few seconds to make a good first impression and if you don’t then you get eliminated.

So while you’re busy launching the next marketing campaign or ad initiative, spending tens of thousands a month to get your dealership front and center with folks to go online and research you and your online presence is not buttoned up, how many ad dollars are going down the drain don’t have to be?

Shopper Consideration Assessments

Unlike Mystery Shopping that puts your process and your people to the test, a Shopper Consideration Assessment puts your online presence to the test. An assessment that scrutinizes your dealership from the initial phase of the shopper’s consideration journey where you know you are being eliminated is a simple and practical test you can and should be running your dealership through at least twice a year if not every quarter.

One challenge with shopper consideration assessments is that they are difficult to do objectively because they can make the people responsible for your online presence at the dealership look bad. Nobody likes that. This is why it’s best to have a third party perform these types of assessments.

Another challenge with shopper consideration assessments are that you can’t have vendors performing them when the vendors themselves have stake in the performance of your online presence. They don’t want evidence pointing to them that they are the cause for cracks in your presence.

A final challenge with this type of assessment is while your dealership presence might look good on paper, you have no way of knowing how it compares with others. A dealership with 500 reviews on DealerRater and a 4.9 rating, but lacking reviews elsewhere does not fool the savvy shopper comparing that dealership to one with a balance of reviews and ratings across multiple sites.

Standing Out Above the Competition - It's a Numbers Game

I’ve been performing shopper consideration assessments for more than three years now. During this time I’ve accumulated data on hundreds of dealerships and even devised my own proprietary scoring system. You’d be amazed how low-performing the average dealership is in these areas, and what little effort it takes to stand out above the competition.

To give you an idea of the numbers, the social media portion of my assessments evaluates dealerships on Facebook, YouTube, and LinkedIn and is based on a potential high score of 19. Of those 19 points, Facebook is worth up to 10, YouTube up to 6, and LinkedIn up to 3.

Most dealers score between 4-6 points on Facebook, 1-2 on YouTube, and 0-1 on LinkedIn. The average overall score for social media fluctuates between 4 and 5 points.

So consider this...the dealers that take action on the areas keeping their score down can almost immediately place themselves in the Top 25% of dealerships when it comes to social media.

How long are you willing to wait before you stop the leaking from your online presence and improve your ROI?

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