No longer are dealership websites just for displaying contact information and vehicle descriptions. Today, customers are looking for a more responsive and immersive experience when it comes to engaging with a dealership website. According to a Cox Automotive survey, 83 percent of auto customers prefer at least one online function on a dealership’s site. In a world where time is precious, customers are looking for convenience in the car buying process. This idea can start with your online presence. So, to make the car search process easier for your customers, here are six must-have tools to include on your dealership website.

Payment Calculator

A payment calculator is excellent in that it allows customers to see what they are financially getting into before they make a purchase. The use of a payment calculator can minimize the F&I process if used correctly. While customers should be encouraged to use this feature before they enter the dealership, it is not a bad idea for sales staff to have this tool on hand during a showroom walkthrough.

Online Application

The Cox Automotive survey also indicated that 85 percent of customers would purchase from a dealership that allows them to buy a vehicle digitally. While your dealership might not be in the position to facilitate this fully, a significant portion of the F&I process could be handled before customers even step into the showroom. Some dealers are allowing potential car buyers to pre-apply for specific vehicles online. This action significantly decreases the time of the car buying experience as well as takes the guesswork out of sales staff finding a car that customers can afford.

F&I Education Tool

Is it easy for your customers to find out what F&I services you offer and how they can save them money over the long-term? By the time customers purchase their car at the dealership, they are likely too exhausted from the process to want to hear about any other offerings. It is a better plan to introduce them to F&I features and services before they enter the dealership. Have a page dedicated to describing what your F&I services are, and how each one can benefit customers.

Chatbot

Chatbots are a great way of ensuring you do not miss out on capturing a lead. Your staff may not always be available to respond rapidly, but an AI-based chatbot can provide necessary information about your dealership that can get the ball rolling. Chatbots can give details on cars, book test drives, broadcast discounts, offer repair quotes, and give additional information that can increase customer satisfaction. While a staff member should always reach back out to a customer, a chatbot can stand in the gap until that happens.

Vehicle Inquiry Forms

In addition to the general contact form, each VDP should have its own inquiry form. Not only does this prevent customers from having to leave the page, but it allows you to see the exact car they are interested in for purchase. Customers should not have to go back to the main page to refer to a vehicle they like or search for a contact number. Conveying their interest right from the VDP should be easy.

Save and Compare Tool

Selecting a car is one of the most challenging decisions a customer can make. Making this process as easy as possible should be the priority. Allowing customers to use a save and compare tool gives them the option to see the price, attributes, and history of two cars (if used) side by side. Helping customers narrow down their choices makes it more likely that they will choose to purchase from your dealership. Customer satisfaction goes a long way, and helping them through this decision will stick in their minds.

Final Thoughts

Dealership websites have come a long way. These days, people are spending more time online than ever. This extends to researching items they are looking to buy. Your dealership website can be a valuable resource to customers who are still weighing their options. Providing tools like the ones mentioned above make an arduous process more manageable, and it makes it even more likely they will choose to complete the sale with your staff. When possible, make a practice of finding ways to make your website a valuable resource in the car buying process.

 

Sources: ChatbotsLife, WardsAuto, Spidersnet 1, Spidersnet 2

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