6 Steps to Making Your Website More Than a Digital Brochure

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The expectations of today’s car shoppers are rapidly evolving. Shoppers are significantly more mobile, more tech-savvy, and more informed than ever before. They expect purchase process transparency and an engaging website experience where digital interaction is key to a successful sale. The days of dealership websites functioning as digital brochures are long gone.


But how do you embark upon this digital transformation?


For Dealer.com clients*, the strategy outlined below will help you not only optimize your digital presence, but meet and exceed shoppers’ expectations while achieving your business goals.


#1. Create engaging content that aligns with your customers’ needs.

When looking to bridge the gap from website to showroom you want to create an experience that resonates with your soon-to-be customers. Match that same level of customer service and education that you already disseminate every day in your showroom to your website. That way your customers’ digital expectations will align with how their physical experience will be at your showroom. Make your webpages more than landing pages: make them resource pages. What are the most common questions your F&I team are fielding, common/uncommon service questions? Poll other departments at your dealership and build pages that can solve pain points for customers. Anticipate those questions and respond with a page that answers. Stuck on where to start? Take a look at these previous articles around modern SEO and Resource Page building best practices.


#2. Tailor website customizations for all traffic – desktop, tablet, or mobile.

Over 50 percent of traffic across the Dealer.com network comes from mobile and tablet devices. You must  effectively “speak” to this traffic with an experience specifically tailored to these devices. Mobile customizations are just as important as those for desktop. Mobile customers are looking for more than just your dealership’s phone number and directions. They’re browsing inventory and doing deep research. From seniors to millennials, mobile shoppers span every major demographic and are using their mobile devices to make informed decisions on what to buy, where to buy, and who to buy from.


Think about your own shopping habits. You want a page that’s easy to navigate from your smartphone and has the important information you are looking for – regardless of what you are shopping for. Keep that in mind when thinking about your mobile customers.


#3. Make your slideshow an efficient path to inventory.

Customers are hungry for information. The internet has enabled shoppers to be more informed prior to visiting your dealership, and we need to make it easy for customers looking on your site to reach your inventory, fast. Make sure your slides have a clear message and, if possible, link them to your vehicle listing pages (VLPs) and vehicle details pages (VDPs), where, on the latter, customers are more likely to convert. VDP views also give you great insight into who is scoping out your inventory.


#4. Use VDP views to your advantage.

If you have a particular vehicle that’s racked up a lot of VDP views , odds are someone’s coming to your showroom to look for that car. Ever have those customers arrive unannounced (no form or phone call), but are clearly informed about the details of a specific car in inventory? That customer was on a VDP. Unannounced traffic is on the rise and dealership showroom visits are becoming more strategic. If shoppers are in your showroom, their intent to buy is high. With this in mind, be as knowledgeable of inventory as possible, and have that frequently-viewed car close by and test-drive ready to help achieve the goal of a truly seamless online to in-store shopping experience.


#5. Match inventory excitement – from physical to digital showroom.

In your line of work, there are stickers, balloons, streamers, pricing changes, and vehicle placements , to name just a few merchandising strategies. And it takes a lot of effort and skill to do this well and create excitement. This needs to carry over into your digital merchandising strategy, too. Fortunately, it takes a lot less physical effort.


Dealer.com Inventory Lifecycles can help you automate how you merchandise your inventory from the second your cars arrive on your lot. and as they age on your lot.Adding custom comments, image overlays, and/or featuring vehicles on your website homepage are all great ways to generate more awareness and excitement around your inventory.


#6. Track results with Analytics.

Numbers are important. With Dealer.com Analytics, you have direct insight into your dealership’s digital performance. From time on site to conversions, you can slice and dice reports to paint an overall picture of the business. Analytics reports from MyCars™ and from within the Consumer Demand section can equip Dealer.com clients with the data needed to make the next strategic business move.


You are in a unique spot in today’s technology world. Use your website to your advantage. Start your customers’ journeys off with well-built out pages and clear paths to inventory. Set the tone for their arrival at your dealership, then impress them again once they’re there.


Jillian Charest is a learning specialist at Dealer.com


*As always, Dealer.com training material is available 24/7 inside of ControlCenter. Click ‘Tutorials’ from the Welcome screen, or ‘Get Help’ from any page in ControlCenter.