The car buying process almost always starts with the customer searching a dealerships’ online inventory. By the time they’ve made it to your dealership, they’ve already decided that they are buying a car from you. According to an Automotive dealership research study, 61% of customers said their experience buying a car was not any better (and in some cases worse) than the last time they purchased a vehicle. A lot of this has to do with the time-consuming paperwork and days of negotiations when buying a car. Convenience is the main reason so many buyers are transitioning to digital storefronts. Customers want the entire process to be as seamless and least time-consuming as possible.
Ideally, your customers should be able to find your website and navigate it with virtually no issues, even if it’s their first time being on the site. Like meeting a new person, your website has ONE chance to make a positive first impression with the customer. The site needs to have regular updates, organized landing pages, fast load times, and be accessible on whatever device the customer decides to use. Failure to meet any or all of the listed prerequisites can lead to customer dissatisfaction and may cause them to search for cars elsewhere.
You already spend tons of time training your sales associates to make the car buying process as streamlined as possible. Taking a more hands-on approach with your website could make a significant difference in how many sales you have per month.
1. Your auto dealer homepage is a mess
Think about how many times you haven’t been able to find something on a website. You go to the drop-down menu, navigate to the section you think the landing page will be on, only to find it’s not where it should be. Now imagine your customers doing the same thing on your website. After the second or third attempt to find the New Specials or Payment Calculator pages, they may give up and move to a competitor’s site. The menu bar needs to have a clear path to every single landing page on the site.
Make sure to include relevant content on your homepage. Cramming useless or unneeded information onto the home page not only makes your website harder to navigate but may overwhelm the customer. Our recommendation is to include a carousel of specials you have going for the month, a drop-down menu at the top of the page, and a contact form at the bottom.
The best way to avoid any confusion or frustrated customers is to be proactive and test the website yourself. You can also hire a 3rd party representative to test how quickly and effectively they can navigate your website.
2. You have not optimized your automotive dealership website to be mobile-friendly
According to a study conducted by an automotive research group , 52% of buyers use multiple devices when shopping for a car online. Unsurprisingly, desktops still reign supreme with 77% of users making this their platform of choice. It should be noted that the use of mobile devices grew 11% year over year (from 48% to 59%) in 2018-2019.
Shoppers now fall into the “always connected” category, as they use mobile phones, desktops, and tablets daily. Websites and the car buying process in general, need to be optimized for these devices so that the customer has the best and most convenient shopping experience possible.
3. Your SRP and VDP pages take too long to load
Nobody wants to wait for a webpage to load. According to Aberdeen Research, approximately 5% of all organizations say that their users leave after a one-second delay. After two seconds, the abandonment rate for mobile websites triples. After three seconds, 40% of all websites experience abandonment by their users.
As you can see, users have a low tolerance for slow and clunky websites.
So what causes a webpage to be slow? Often the content that you publish on the landing page will cause loading delays. If you’re using high-resolution images and other bandwidth-intensive content on the page, it will load exponentially slower than a page with optimized content. Simplicity and minimalism are direct answers to this issue. The site design should be simple and use smaller-sized images.
If you want more insights on how to speed up your web pages, there are many free and paid options available, depending on what fits within your budget and best suits your needs. We recommend using Google PageSpeed Insights. Their tools are free and thoroughly test multiple areas where there could be slowdowns on your site.
Customers want to have a seamless shopping experience when buying a car. A majority of customers have started looking at digital storefronts before they ever set foot on a dealership. You need to optimize your website to be quick and efficient. We do this by organizing all landing pages on the website, making them navigable on the homepage, optimizing the site to be accessible across all customer devices, and ensuring our web pages load as quickly as possible. Any delays in the shopper’s experience online could lead to a missed sale at your dealership’s physical location. Be diligent, be proactive, and make sure your website is ready to be accessed by all your future customers.