Despite the enormous explosion of e-commerce that has occurred in recent decades, one of the most undervalued parts of any dealership remains its website. While the richest people in the world today are those who have earned their vast wealth from internet sales and computer services, dealerships are having difficulty letting go of the old fashioned methods for selling cars. Recently, however, new software is changing these habits and exhibiting a major potential for increased earnings among dealerships.
The Dealership Website Mandate
Despite the obvious benefits of taking full advantage of internet sales, the rate of growth online for the automotive industry has been slow in comparison to other retailers. The main reason for this difference is that it takes a vastly different process to sell a vehicle than it does to sell a small and inexpensive item that can be easily shipped to your door.
In order to compensate for this problem, dealerships have traditionally employed three different strategies online, which appeared in accordance to the available capabilities of online sales and marketing software.
The Website as an Advertising Tool
In the beginning, the typical dealership website existed for the specific purpose of
- Showcasing Inventory
- Advertising Sales
- Attracting Customers to Visit the Physical Dealership
At this early stage, dealerships could not be accurately described as engaging in true digital retailing. The purpose of the dealership website was mainly to allow existing and potential new customers to conduct online research regarding the vehicles they desired to purchase – with the hopes of enticing people to travel to the physical dealership to begin the sales process. The main problem with this strategy is that it risks losing customers to competitors, who host similar websites.
The Website as a Lead Building Powerhouse
The first important development in the quest to allow dealerships to take better advantage of their web presence became available with the development of new and better software, designed specifically by experts in dealership online marketing.
At this stage, auto websites employed services like live chat, digital insurance and financing applications, and text messaging to achieve better communication with customers and offer then a more satisfying online experience. The main purpose of these tools at this juncture, was to interact with the customer to build better leads, which could later translate into an enormous increase in sales.
Now that new online services are available that are designed specifically for dealership sales and marketing, everything is changing. Companies are using apps like live chat, video conferencing and text messaging in cooperation with social media platforms like Facebook marketplace in order to build an entire end-to-end online sales experience.
The fact that the development of different strategies for dealerships online is directly related to the availability of new online software demonstrates how important online services are to dealership’s ability to take advantage of the online market. Contact a specialist in dealership sales and marketing software to learn more.