I consider myself pretty well-versed in digital marketing and e-commerce. After all, I’ve been in the field for years, and have learned a lot about topics like… customer retention, lead generation, and artificial intelligence.
I am fascinated by new gadgets, and am always interested in learning about the next technology.
That being the case, when I decided to move back to the US after living abroad for five years, I assumed it would be a pretty smooth transition. Maybe there would be a few things that I’d be unfamiliar with, like new slang and celebrities, but overall I’m pretty up-to-date. Turns out you can’t really get away from American pop culture, even across the globe.
What I didn’t expect was to be blown away by the seamlessness and ease in every aspect of people’s digital lives. It’s not just that everything is online – most things had gone digital, even five years ago. What struck me is how much easier it all is. Ordering groceries and takeout is simple, requiring just a few clicks or swipes before my order is placed. My digital assistant (I have one of those now – everyone does) can speak to my calendar and remind me of my upcoming appointment, as well as the weather outside. It’s all just so much simpler than it used to be.
Shoppers don’t even realize it, but they have come to expect this level of convenience, or as I like to call it, “concierge service.” If consumers don’t receive it, they will simply browse elsewhere. I quickly noticed myself doing this – if a coffee shop does not allow me to order and pre-pay for my drink from my phone, I go to a different store. Who has the time to wait on lines and pay at a cash register anymore?
This new reality got me thinking: what can dealerships do to ensure that their websites provide the personalized and seamless experience that our culture has come to expect?
The importance of an optimized dealership website cannot be overemphasized here. Car shoppers are spending much more time online, and visiting fewer dealerships in person. In fact, one study found that the average car shopper spends about 14 hours online conducting research. 68% of customers report visiting only 1-2 dealerships before making a purchase – we all know that this means that they have already decided on a dealership during the online research phase. If you want to be the dealership people choose, prioritize, and trust, you need to leverage current technology to personalize your website and engage more of today’s shoppers.
So what can you do? Let’s review some actionables:
You have a lot of information and services to offer your customer, and you want to display it all on your website. The issue is that, oftentimes, visitors have a difficult time sifting through all of your content to find what they are actually looking for, and have short attention spans during their search. So when a shopper can’t find what they need, they will try to find it elsewhere. Your website should be easy to use, with clear menus and navigation bars. This means no overlapping CTAs or buttons, and certainly no distractions when clicking through scroll menus.
Personalized User Experience
When browsing the internet, it almost seems like it was personally created for me. Every sale, article, and product is tailored to my preferences and interests. Your dealership also needs to provide each individual shopper with a personalized shopping experience, displaying content and offers that are relevant to them. You should anticipate what a customer wants, and provide it before they even realize that they are looking for it. This high level of personalization will keep visitors on your site longer, and increase the likelihood of their converting and becoming a lead.
Seamless Task Completion
If a shopper wants to set up a service appointment or schedule a test drive, they should be able to do that directly from your website without picking up the phone or waiting for an email response. Your customers can reserve tables at their favorite restaurants from their phones with just a few clicks on opentable– they’ll expect the same type of service on your dealership’s website. I know I would expect that now, and I’ve only been back in this world for a few months.
Intuitive Follow-Up Interactions
Today’s shoppers expect to be walked through their entire buying process. Guilty! No one wants to search for their next step, or wait to be contacted in order to progress. Your website should guide the user from one interaction to the next, becoming a natural part of their shopping experience.
For example, if a customer requests information about a certain vehicle, they could then be prompted to schedule a test drive for that specific vehicle. If they request an online estimate of their trade-in, they should be asked if they would like to schedule an appointment for a professional appraisal. This type of follow-up is second-nature to today’s online shoppers: imagine adding something to your cart without being asked if you’d also like to see related products. It’s unthinkable.
To drive this point home – 35% of all of Amazon’s sales are estimated to come from recommended products. Think about how this type of concierge service could affect your dealership’s bottom line.
All of the progress that has been made in the past five years is a result of the growing field of artificial intelligence, and it’s only expanding. Machine learning is the idea that a machine, device, robot, and/or computer can learn from sets of data, like a human, and react based on new learnings all the time. When it comes to shopping, these systems remember you and your preferences to make your digital experience as personalized as possible. And they’re constantly learning, so as you browse, shop, and convert, the machine adapts.
If so many other companies are doing it well, why can’t your dealership? By using the tools described above to create the perfect concierge website, you can provide the same seamless, easy, intuitive, and customized experience to your shoppers. This experience will drive them to shop and stay on your site for longer, providing them with more opportunities to convert. With these conversions, your team can close more sales and increase your dealership’s bottom line. Don’t wait to join this trend. Start today.
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