Car sales in the United States are starting to flatten which is putting a lot of stress on dealerships. Just because averages are going down doesn’t mean that every dealership is feeling the heat though.
Some car lots that are well-positioned to sell cars via eCommerce are finding that their sales are straightening thanks to their ability to tap into an increasingly abundant amount of internet-only shoppers.
If you’re a marketing manager or an owner of a car dealership that doesn’t know the first thing about internet auto sales, keep reading. By taking in our tips on how you can bolster your online sales success, you may hit your dealership’s quotas in the coming months or even far surpass them.
1. Make Sure Your Website Exists and Is Optimized
Step one to successful internet auto sales is having a website. If your dealership doesn’t have a website that’s online right now, make creating one a priority.
Smaller dealerships can get away with using templates like those from WordPress to quickly get online. Larger dealerships with expansive inventories may want to go to a custom website builder to create a site that’s tailor-made to their needs.
With your website up and running, leverage tools like Google PageSpeed Insights to ensure that your pages are functioning properly across desktop and mobile devices.
2. Make It Simple to Find Cars on Your Site
When people click onto your dealership’s website, chances are, they want to know what cars you have in stock. To accommodate that want, make it simple for prospective customers to filter your online inventory by make, model, year, miles, and price.
This filtration feature may be something that your dealership needs to get built custom by a design agency. For smaller dealerships, using plugins like “WP Inventory Manager” may suffice.
3. Take Tons Detailed Inventory Pictures
People are only going to buy cars online and/or schedule test drives is if they feel as confident as possible that they’re going to like what they’re getting. The best way to create that sense of confidence is to take lots of detailed pictures of your inventory.
Look no further than dealership giants like CarMax to see what a good approach to vehicle photography looks like.
4. Post Inventory on Social Media
Don’t be one of those dealerships that think social media is a played out means of driving business. It’s not.
Platforms like Facebook boast hundreds of billions of users, many of which reside in your market. By posting new inventory on Facebook’s “Marketplace” or your dealership’s business page, you raise your odds of selling.
5. Always Keep Your Inventory Up to Date
There’s nothing more frustrating in internet auto sales than dealerships that have inventories on their websites that aren’t correct. This irritates consumers and makes them less likely to engage in buying cars online which is bad for the auto industry as a whole.
If you’re going to take internet auto sales seriously, make sure that you have a dedicated person on your team that can keep your online inventory up-to-date within 24-hours.
6. Be Transparent About Pricing
The better prices that you can offer online consumers, the less likely that they’ll feel the need to show up at your lot to get a good deal. Do what you can to offer as close to “best and final” pricing on your website as possible.
By doing that, you’ll contribute to a culture of car consumers that feel confident they’re not leaving money on the table by purchasing over the internet.
7. Allow Buyers to Apply for Financing Online
Most car buyers don’t have cash on hand to buy a vehicle. These buyers will likely need to go through your dealership’s financing department to see how much car they qualify for before making a purchase.
Make it clear to your online shoppers that even if they don’t have cash on hand, they can still buy a vehicle online. You can do this by making your financing offers clear and the application process simple through your website.
8. Cultivate an Email Following
Just because a website visitor doesn’t buy a car from you today doesn’t mean that they won’t in the future. To keep that prospective buyer in the loop, ask them to subscribe to your dealership’s email list when they click on your website.
Email lists are an extremely valuable asset that most modern businesses possess. The more robust your email list is, the easier it’ll be to move new inventory that lands on your lot.
9. Learn About SEO
It can be hard to drive traffic to your website. One of the best and cheapest ways to start getting leads to pour in is to learn about and implement an SEO strategy.
SEO stands for search engine optimization which essentially makes your website appear more attractive to search engines. If you don’t know the first thing about dealership SEO, talk to a marketing professional or get your bearings by reading this guide to dealership SEO.
10. Take a Multi-Platform Approach
General internet auto sales platforms like TrueCar and AutoTrader boast millions of monthly users. By sharing your inventory on those platforms in addition to your website, you’ll find it much easier to pull in buyers.
Internet Auto Sales Are the New Frontier of Car Buying
We predict a future where the majority of car buyers will forgo going to dealerships in favor of buying cars 100% online. Is your business prepared to survive in that landscape?
If it isn’t, leverage our internet auto sales tips to start building a future-proof foundation. You’ll thank us later.
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