Many dealerships offer their customers the added convenience of online shopping for parts and accessories. With so many sites offering the same products, it can be a challenge for a dealership to find success in the e-commerce arena.
An e-commerce store cannot be managed with the Field of Dreams philosophy of “If you build it, he will come.” However, with diligence and good practices in place, you can find profitability.
If you are starting out, choose an e-commerce platform designed by experienced Web developers. Some of the key components to a positive online shopping experience include search and sort capabilities to aid customers with quickly locating parts and accessories; clean, appealing product detail pages; and a simple checkout process in a secure (https) environment.
When you set out the open for business sign, don’t sit back and wait for consumers to find your site. Proactively seek out buyers by advertising the ease of shopping your online store – at your dealership and through print and other media ads. Also, advertise through digital channels, which include your website, social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter, search engine marketing and e-newsletters.
Entice customers to purchase from you by offering sales and specials. Advertise these sales at your dealership. Send coupons to your e-newsletter subscribers and reward Facebook fans with unique savings. Use pay-per-click campaigns linking directly to a landing page on your site that promotes the special or to the product page.
Give customers a reason to come back. Encourage repeat sales by providing a top-notch customer service experience. Prominently display your toll free number on your website. Quickly respond to voicemail and email inquiries. Process orders quickly, and securely package them to reduce the risk of damage. Provide tracking information, so your customers can track the progress of their shipment.
Upon completion of the order, keep in touch with your customers. Send them a personalized thank you note and include a coupon for a future order.
Whether you are just getting started or managing an existing e-commerce site, you will increase the traffic through your online front door and ultimately through the doors of your dealership by advertising your site and specials and by providing a user-friendly shopping environment, quality customer service and follow-up upon completion of each order.