Many automotive dealerships strive to boost the level of connectivity between the lead generation elements of the website and the other products and services they use: web analytics, their CRM, payment processors, credit vendors, etc.
After all, it’s very important that your dealership’s website is able to capture such important lead information and then transfer it to the appropriate programs to be organized and processed for proper follow-up.
While the aforementioned type of website/vendor connectivity is extremely important for your dealership’s day-to-day operations (and for the overall success of your dealership), there’s another type of connectivity that many folks don’t talk about — and that’s the connectivity in your consumer experience on your dealership website.
In this day and age, it’s so important for your consumers to be able to connect with your dealership’s website on a deeper level. When the majority of consumers visit your dealership website to shop around, they’re fully investing themselves into their research.
Because it’s such a significant purchase, consumers want to gather as much information as they can and as fast as they possibly can. And they want to compare the information they find on your website to other dealerships in the process.
Of course, while a consumer is gathering all the required information from you, you simultaneously want to gather useful information on your consumers. The best way for your dealership to initiate this exchange of valuable information is to create a more connected experience on your website — one that encourages engagement and and improves consumer satisfaction.
Popular websites like Amazon, Google and Facebook are only a handful of websites, but they exemplify ideal connectivity between the website and the consumer.
Even OEMs like Toyota and Hyundai provide exceptionally connected experiences to consumers. And believe me when I say that there are plenty of other websites are catching on and encouraging increased connectivity between the consumer and retailer.
So just what constitutes as a “connected” website? Here are four of the more common traits that sites like Amazon and eBay possess, and that your website should possess too!
The Website Remembers Each Consumer
One of the first traits of a highly connected consumer facing website is when a website remembers who its consumers are. If a consumer visits your dealership website, completes an online trade experience, leaves and comes back, shouldn’t that website remember who that consumer is?
Of course it should. If a consumer has already provided supposedly vital information to your dealership, why should they have to enter it again? It doesn’t make sense.
Not only does it show that your dealership has a complete disregard for the information they collect, but frankly, it’s also a pain for the consumers. Your consumers should continue to explore your website, research inventory and engage with new experiences — not refill all of their basic information.
If a consumer has already said that their name is “Ashley” and that they’re interested in buying a used sedan, your website should automatically remember that information. Not only is it courteous to the consumer, but it’s extremely helpful to a consumer who is trying to figure out their very next steps.
The Calls-to-Action Are Personalized
The second trait often found on highly connected websites are personalized Calls-to-Action (or Smart CTAs). In case you’re unfamiliar, Smart CTAs are calls-to-action that change based an individual consumer’s previous actions on the website.
These CTA’s are highly personalized and they help encourage consumers to take specific steps that help push them further down the purchasing funnel.
Although consumers often have a decent idea of what they want when they’re visiting your dealership website, the options presented to them can be overwhelming — and that can cause many consumers to come to a stand-still with their research.
Personalized Calls-to-Action (or Smart CTAs) are amazing because they offer possible solutions to individual consumers looking for their best next step. For example: If a consumer has already completed a full trade appraisal experience on your website, it doesn’t make sense to continue showing them a large banner to capture a trade-in lead.
It’s a much better idea to rotate out the trade CTA’s since they’ve already become a trade-in lead and swap them out for test drive or pre-approval CTA’s. The options for these CTAs are limitless, but they put your consumers on a path that helps them make the best decisions for their current buying scenario.
Equal Exchange of Value Between Retailer & Consumer
The third trait that helps consumers to better connect with your website is “equal exchange of value.” What this essentially means is that the consumer is getting some of equal (maybe even greater) value from your dealership’s website after they submit their basic contact information and purchase preferences via an interactive experience.
A good example of this would be a trade appraisal experience. When a consumer submits their contact information and purchase preferences to you, they’re provided with an immediate trade appraisal of their current vehicle.
In the past, many consumers would have to submit their information via a static form and wait for a sales rep to reach out to them with their trade appraisal. While most consumers want to speak with a sales rep at some point (primarily right before they’re about to make a purchase), consumers often don’t want to talk to anyone when they’re still in the research phases of their purchasing journey.
The best thing you can do for your consumers who are still in the research phase is to give them precisely what they’re asking for. Not only will they be satisfied that you were able to give them that information, but the very speed they get this information helps speed up the process.
Don’t Force a Consumer to Talk to a Salesperson
The fourth and final trait that helps with consumer connectivity is when your website eliminates obstacles that force a consumer to talk to a sales person. Like I mentioned before, most consumers want to talk to a sales rep at some point — but if they’re still in the research phase of their journey, they probably want to look for information on their own.
Right before a consumer is about to submit a form or complete an experience, many harbor pensive feelings. The reason for this is because consumers believe that once they submit their form to the dealership, they’ll immediately get a phone call from sales rep asking if they’d like to come in for a test drive — all before they get their trade appraisal, e-price, or even determine what they want to buy. And let’s be honest with ourselves: these are perfectly valid feelings to have. Once a rep captures a lead, their first instinct is to immediately follow-up.
Again, consumers will often want to speak with a sales rep at some point. Nothing beats literal human interaction. The problem is that consumers don’t want to be pressured when they’re still trying to figure out what they want — or if they want a vehicle, in the first place. To alleviate this pressure in your online experiences, all your dealership has to do is provide options.
All About Connectivity
If a consumer wants to speak with someone, they can check a box or select from a drop down that that’s what they want. If they don’t, they can dictate otherwise. It’s important for your dealership to explain that it’s okay or consumers to want to be left alone for a little while.
Consumers appreciate when dealerships ease up a little and offer them the opportunity to explore on their own. Although this might seem like the opposite of connectivity, the ability for consumers to communicate their options in a direct manner is honestly what connectivity is all about.
These types of traits often lead to better engagement and lead themselves to showroom more often. More importantly, nothing is being sacrificed. When implemented properly, these traits have created more opportunities for consumers to interact and engage with dealerships.
From a consumer’s perspective, building a more highly connected website shows that you’re making an honest attempt to better understand the consumer and help them make the best purchasing decision possible.
Consumers get what they need from the website without any hassle, and they can speak with a rep on their own terms. These are traits that are most prominent in sites like Amazon, and that’s why these sites continue to be so successful.