The good news: The stereotypical car salesman (slicked back hair, in-your-face attitude, pinky rings, gold chains, smooth-talking…you know the guy) has been mostly eradicated from the industry. “That guy” is mostly used these days for parody advertisements, memes and SNL skits. Why isn’t he effective anymore? Because consumers say he isn’t. Our methods and processes are driven by how our consumers want to shop and purchase. They have to be!
The bad news: There is a digital version of him alive and well on thousands of dealership websites!
Let me explain. Annoying pop-ups and pop-unders, flashy banners, irrelevant coupons, live chat boxes on every page…this is not the way today’s automotive consumers want to shop. This is Interruption Marketing and no less of a turn off than being approached by “that guy” on the physical lot.
According to the DrivingSales 2015 Automotive Customer Experience Study, the reason that consumers still use third party sites like Edmunds.com, ConsumerReports.com and KellyBlueBook.com for research is that dealer websites tend to be “pushy” and lack transparency. Sound familiar? Sounds like “that guy” to me!
Listen, your efforts to get shoppers to your website are working if the shoppers are there. Your email campaigns, social media, SEM and SEO, TV/radio/print advertising…all costing you time and money…have worked! Why wouldn’t you do everything possible to keep them there? Why would you push them away?
Auto-intenders are educated, focused and intentional in their shopping journey. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that their visit to your website is coincidental or accidental. Give them what they want and convert more of them into dealership visits. Note that I did not say appointments. Many of these website visitors will not call you, not submit a form, not send an email – if you give them a satisfying website experience, they will likely just show up!
So, how do you get your message across on your website in an impactful way that satisfies the consumers’ shopping experience at the same time?
- Navigation – Keep it simple! Make sure your Specials tab is easy to locate. It’s the second-most visited page on your website!
- Unobtrusive Coupons – You need to present a great value proposition, I get it! But you don’t need to digitally “tackle” your potential customers and slap them in the face with it. Slider Coupons that sit off to the side with a noticeable and appropriately-labeled tab will do the trick.
- Targeting is Your Friend – If your website shopper is clicking on Toyota Tundras, then the above-mentioned slider coupon should be a Tundra offer. If they switch to 4-Runners, the next coupon presented should switch as well. If their shopping behavior suggests (or likely screams) that they are looking for a Camry, then why wouldn’t your Camry specials be presented front and center on your specials page?
- Pricing is a No-brainer, Seriously – “Call for Pricing” does not work! If you still believe this, you also need to rethink dial-up Internet and your addiction to your GameBoy. Be transparent with your online pricing. Period.
- Be Consistent – NEVER let your specials pages be blank! You might as well post a link to your competitor’s website, because that’s where your potential customers are going next. It’s a huge job, so automate the process if you have too much on your plate…and who doesn’t?
Let’s work together to get rid of “that guy” altogether. He had his glory days. The time has come to bury him once and for all! Is he still lurking on your website? Look closely!