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Dealer internet sales strategies vs. the online car buyer

Some companies engaging in e-commerce have the Field of Dreams complex, thinking if they build an adequate online presence, online consumers will come in droves. In reality, the key to a successful online sales strategy goes beyond digital infrastructure and involves active engagement with potential buyers.

Download our white paper to learn more about "The Evolution of the Online Car Buying Process".

 

Think about it. You could build a shiny new car lot and stock it with a complete inventory of quality vehicles, but would you then leave the customers to fend for themselves? Just as your on-site sales force engages potential customers, answers their questions and addresses their concerns, so should your website.

Fortunately, the online car buyer is inherently different than your typical online consumer. Rather than conducting entire transactions from inception to delivery, à la global entities like Amazon or Overstock.com, successful online auto marketers use their online presence to open potential leads and drive new customers to the lot.

Online buyers will eventually arrive at your dealership due to:

>> Economic Investment: Purchasing a vehicle is a significant investment for most families. Smart car buyers will likely want to inspect the vehicles in person before making a large purchase. Also, negotiations are much more conducive to face-to-face communications.

>> Location and Deliverability: Unless a customer is looking for a rare or unique vehicle, they are likely to look locally to make their next car purchase. This is especially true for those with trade-ins or looking to leave the dealership in their next vehicle.

>> Complexity of Transaction: Few other market transactions involve the many nuances of a car purchase. Taxes, titles, trade-ins and credit approvals involve several extra steps and attention to detail. Fortunately, much of this work can be completed ahead of time with the proper online strategy. 

The key for a positive online experience is to provide as much information as possible to the customer before they step foot on the lot. Just like your physical location, your website should aim to keep customers engaged so they do not leave prematurely and/or disappointed. Also, enabling buyers to do much of the research and legwork on their own both empowers the potential buyer and saves your dealership time and effort. Popular online services can include: 

  • Complete online inventory with actual pictures and instant access to individual vehicle’s history reports;
  • Multiple communications channels, including social media, live chat, question forms and FAQs;
  • Online credit applications; and
  • Current specials, customer reviews and other relevant information that can influence the decision-making process.

Today’s online vehicle consumer has infinite options available at a click of a mouse or stroke of a touch screen. Engaging them in the car buying process online, anytime of the day, and on their terms, is a sure fire way to attract non-traditional consumers to your dealership.

Another sure-fire way to connect with new online customers is by becoming a select dealer with MaxTradeIn. Potential customers, trading in their vehicles, leave the MaxTradeIn.com experience with a real offer in hand on their trade-in from the highest bidding dealer, ready to make their next purchase.

Views: 263

Tags: buyer, car, dealer, internet, maxtradein, online, sales, strategies

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Comment by Dane Hulse on October 4, 2013 at 7:12am

Great message, Rachel!

Dane Hulse

Automotive Professional Network and Resource Exchange for Car Dealers, Managers, OEM and Marketing Practitioners seeking Best Practices.

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