5 Ways to Add a Personal Touch to Your Online Sales Process

sales process

Nothing connects humans on a broader scale than the internet. If something newsworthy happens, you are bound to see it in your social media or news feed within minutes, and it can reach millions within a very short time. Connecting with a long-lost friend is also easier than ever.

As good as the internet is at connecting people, it can also feel very impersonal at times. Your dealership website faces this dilemma every day. Shoppers expect to have information at their fingertips, but online shopping definitely lacks the personal touch of an in-dealership experience.

So the question is, how do you personalize the shopping experience on your website so that visitors can feel some sort of personal connection with you before they ever set foot in your store? Let’s examine 5 ways to add a personal touch to your online sales process.

  • Get to know your buyer

If you want to personalize the online shopping experience, you will need to learn more about your potential buyer. Visitors will generally be reluctant to share personal data until they absolutely have to.

Many dealer sites offer the ability for shoppers to create a wish list. This typically requires a profile creation. This is an excellent opportunity to request additional profile information from your shoppers. A well-rounded shopper profile can go a long way to helping you better understand their needs and how to help them.

Internet cookies are also a very effective tool in learning about your shopper. By tracking visitor behavior, you can begin to personalize the online experience based on what pages your visitors are looking at, what vehicles they are watch-listing and what keywords they are typing into your search box.

You should be taking all of this personalized information and using it to provide a tailored online shopping experience for your potential buyer.

  • Integrate social media and encourage interaction.

All of the major social media platforms have plugins you can install on your website. Most platforms have options for you to show your visitor which of their connections already follow your dealership on social media. This adds credibility to your dealership and helps the online shopping experience feel more personal.

You should actively encourage your visitors to “like” your social media pages and to engage with you outside of your website. Web pages should be easily shared across platforms, and your shoppers should be encouraged to share the vehicles and pages that they like with others online. An interactive experience is a much more personal experience.

  • Showcase your dealership

You have to assume that a shopper’s first experience with your dealership will be on your website. Unfortunately, the experience on many dealers’ websites does not match the look and feel of actually being in the store. Your website is a place where your shopper should be able to “touch and feel” your dealership before visiting.

Take full advantage of the “about us” pages on your website. Make sure you have complete profiles on all of your sales personnel and staff. Offer a virtual tour of the dealership on your site. Offer a breakdown with complete details on every service offered at the dealership, and generally try to re-create your dealership experience online.

Video is a great way to showcase your dealership. Many internet marketers will attest that video is King for engagement and conversion. Don’t be afraid to use a lot of video on your site to create a more personal experience.

  • Share your dealership culture

Too many dealer websites are only focused on selling cars. To be fair, this is obviously the main focus. However, you can spice things up a bit by sharing personal stories about your staff. Sharing testimonials from satisfied customers and generally sharing the culture of your dealership with the online visitor.

Anything you can do to help your potential buyer see you as real people and not just a generic dealership hiding behind a sterile website will help them feel more comfortable walking through your doors. If you sponsor events in your community, share the pictures on your website and social media. If you have employees that volunteer in the community, highlight them.

Don’t be afraid to let shoppers see “behind the curtain” and get an insight into the positive aspects of the culture at your dealership.

  • Allow customization

The online shopping experience has changed dramatically in recent years. With the ever-growing dominance of Amazon and other ecommerce sites, buyers are starting to expect that vehicles should also be available for purchase through online checkout. This is especially true for younger buyers just coming of age, who have grown up not knowing a world without Amazon.

Implementing an online checkout on your site, may or may not make sense for your dealership, but it does offer great opportunity for personalization. As a buyer proceeds through the checkout process, you can allow them to customize their purchase by choosing from a menu of vehicle options, financing options, vehicle accessories and more, and they can do it on their own terms.

This strategy may seem counter-intuitive to a personal experience for your shopper, but there are opportunities throughout the process to connect with your shopper and reassure them. Live chat, personal concierge service, no-penalty return periods and other means can be implemented to foster buyer confidence and connect with your potential buyer.

Personalizing your online sales process should be just that, personal. Take these ideas as a starting point for self-reflection. How do you wish to be perceived online and how do you want your shopper to feel on your site? At the end of the day, you must put yourself in your potential buyer’s shoes and imagine how the online experience looks to them. Does their perception match what you envision for your dealership? If not, you have some work to do.