Whether it’s groceries, clothing, or cars, shoppers expect the process of buying things to be simpler and more convenient than ever before. As an increasing number of people purchase cars online, the good news for car dealers is that buyers prefer to use dealership sites as a resource (rather than the manufacturer’s). The downside is that many dealership sites aren’t yet up to speed with this trend.
Creating a seamless online shopping experience can not only keep customers returning to your site, but back through your doors for years to come.
Show, Don’t Tell
With your site serving as the new showroom floor, it’s essential you make it as much of a one-stop shop as possible. Introduce as many visual and interactive elements as you can. Optimize your photos to include high def, interactive elements — giving shoppers a digital opportunity to really understand what it’s like to climb into your vehicles. Add detailed videos to highlight each vehicle’s features and always be on the lookout for other ways to visually put your vehicles in front of shoppers.
To help shoppers make an informed decision, put everything they need to decide right at their fingertips. Today’s online shoppers are savvy, and they do their research, so give them the tools they need to do that with access to third-party vehicle rating services (Edmunds, cars.com) right on your site. By creating a complete buying experience in one place, shoppers can feel confident about their buying decision and won’t feel compelled to search elsewhere.
Pro Tip: Make online shopping even more immersive for potential buyers. Augmented reality features can help shoppers get behind the wheel (without actually getting behind the wheel).
Put Your Best Features Forward
You know where your dealership truly shines, so make sure online visitors have a clear view of all your capabilities. From the moment they enter your site, you want to grab and keep their attention. A great way to do this is to show them why they made the right choice. Clearly highlight promotions. Spotlight your extraordinary team and service center. Post a complete list of all the offerings you provide. Ensure shoppers get as much information as they need to feel good about their vehicle purchase through your dealership.
Keep It Simple
Car shopping can be complicated. Optimize your site to streamline each step, starting with simplified search features that allow customers to easily sort options by model year, color, style, price points, etc.
And to make financing as seamless as possible, consider adding resources for shoppers to start the consumer financing process right there on your site. Creating a painless process for your customers can help keep them interested and engaged.
Pro Tip: Your customers’ digital experience can be expanded even further when they finance through your dealership and Ally, which offers Auto Pay, online bill pay, vehicle protection-products and more all in one place.
Keep the Conversation Going
What’s one critical element of the shopping experience no picture can capture? Questions. Make it simple for customers to ask them (and find an answer) by including a chat feature that’s easy to use and (most importantly) responsive. And for questions that can’t be automated, commit adequate resources to providing timely responses.
Your website is only one place to have digital conversations with your customers. A significant portion of Gen Z, Millennials and Gen X shoppers use social media when they’re researching vehicles. So, design your website so that links to your social channels are easy to find (no hiding them on your contact page, design the icons into your website header or footer). And post content that is truly helpful on your social channels (i.e. your latest promotions, financing options and resources).
Finally, be responsive. A social account that doesn’t quickly respond to inquiries will hurt you more than help you.
Time to Hit the Gas
The consumer has spoken: Online car shopping is here to stay. Digital dealership experiences are essential to keeping up with consumer buying trends so that you can meet them where they’re at. By providing interested buyers with the tools they need to make an informed purchase, car dealers can keep them coming back, in person and online.
Ally Auto Dealer Services has the solutions you need to help you provide your customers with the financing they need. Learn more.