Stop Treating Your Auto Dealership Like an eCommerce Giant

By: Andy Medley

[vc_row css_animation=”” row_type=”row” use_row_as_full_screen_section=”no” type=”full_width” angled_section=”no” text_align=”left” background_image_as_pattern=”without_pattern”][vc_column][vc_column_text]Amazon may well be on its way to taking over the ecommerce world, but when it comes to shopping for a new vehicle, the transaction is a bit more complicated than reordering your dog’s favorite brand of dog food.


People just don’t buy cars that way. When they land on your auto dealership website, they are “shopping” for a new vehicle, but they are not ready to make a purchase. According to the 2018 Car Buyer Journey Study from Cox Automotive, 77% of the traffic on your site is NOT ready to buy. Our data shows the same numbers, with 79% of online car buyers surveyed this summer saying they are in the beginning or middle stages of shopping.


Do these calls-to-action sound familiar? Get Pre-Approved, Schedule a Test Drive, Contact Us, Buy Now. Each one is focused on closing the deal and offer little information to those online consumers who are simply researching their options. So, why is your auto dealership website only focused on the end transaction?


Reach Car Buyers Along the Journey


When Stacy decided to look for a new vehicle, her car-buying journey included more than 900 digital touchpoints in a three-month period, doing 71% of the research on her mobile device. She searched Google 139 times, watched 14 YouTube videos, looked at 89 images, interacted with auto dealers 69 times, and engaged with the vehicle manufacturer 186 times before she decided to buy.


For Jeanette, a consumer who went through PERQ’s online shopping solution on one auto dealership’s website, it only took five website sessions before she decided to buy two days later. She started around dinnertime on August 8 by researching the Honda Pilot Touring for about 5 minutes, then checked for special offers before scheduling a test drive on August 10. She continued to research the website on her mobile device the next day, right after her lunch break and later that same evening. On the day of the test drive, Jeanette visited the website again to make vehicle comparisons and confirm her choice.


If your website or sales team is only focused on closing the deal, you’ll never know about Stacy and Jeanette because they left your website a long time ago to find the information they were after to make a final decision.[/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space][vc_single_image image=”29445″ img_size=”large” alignment=”center” qode_css_animation=””][vc_empty_space][vc_column_text]

Engaging Visitors Throughout the Online Journey


Most automotive sites rely heavily on static lead forms, credit tools and buy-now messaging. Online shoppers find this approach overwhelming and it often results in higher bounce rates.


Most car shoppers are turned off immediately by static lead forms. They’re not willing to just give up their information knowing a sales rep will be calling them in the next half hour. And while dealers say “buy now” buttons produce leads that convert, they typically only see one or two of those per month.


Websites that engage the online shopper throughout the entire buying process produce better results. When shoppers are in the discovery phase, entice them with a personalized Returning Website Visitor greeting or New Customer Welcome incentive. For the majority still in the research phase, gain more details about a particular car shopper by offering a New Vehicle Body Match Style Assessment quiz or learn whether they are interested in leasing or financing. Serve up special offers or tools that allow them to schedule their own test drive or determine monthly payments with a calculator.


The more you engage online shoppers with information to fulfill their research needs, the longer they will remain on your website, and ultimately trust your brand to complete the transaction.[/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space][vc_single_image image=”30532″ img_size=”large” alignment=”center” style=”vc_box_border” onclick=”img_link_large” img_link_target=”_blank” qode_css_animation=””][vc_empty_space][vc_column_text]

What Type of Auto Dealer Are You?


Auto dealerships across the country typically fall into one of three categories:

  1. Buy Now: This auto dealer doesn’t want to speak to the researcher. They focus their site and efforts on the group of shoppers ready to buy. Their calls to action point toward the transaction and their sales teams are trained to convert those leads. They receive fewer leads, but they convert well.
  2. Contact Us: This auto dealer wants to capitalize on all website traffic and they’ve tried various tactics, but they haven’t found the right product or suite of products to achieve their goals.
  3. Take a Test Drive: This auto dealer engages the customer online, captures and nurtures leads from initial research, and converts more leads to sales by combining multiple tools in the same digital retailing space.


Where does your auto dealership fall? A digital retail solution that focuses on all phases of the consumer shopping experience should deliver the next best steps in the buying process. That connected experience delivers results.


While the Amazon way of shopping in today’s digital world makes sense when it comes to easy and convenient purchases, buying a new car takes a little more work. Empower all of your online car-buying shoppers with the right tools to do their research in their own time.[/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space][vc_column_text]

Additional Auto Resources: