Powersports Business has turned to Pete Batten, chief product officer at Dealer Spike, to provide insight on the critical role your dealership’s website plays during COVID-19 shopping.
By Pete Batten
Most customers today research a product online before visiting the dealership, and thanks to the recent pandemic shutdown, the internet now plays a bigger role than ever in how customers shop for units and services. Increasingly consumers are purchasing online without first seeing the product in person. In order to engage with these primarily online leads, dealers need to optimize their digital marketing strategies.
E-commerce is not new to the customer’s buying journey — 88% of consumers began the shopping process online even before businesses had to reduce their store hours— but recent events have resulted in an e-commerce boom. Previously online sales have been increasing at a steady rate of 1% a year, but we can expect to see a decade’s worth of growth by the end of 2020.
Dealer Spike dealers have seen a sharp increase in website visitors and leads as customers demonstrated a strong interest in purchasing inventory online. We have found that incorporating the following digital marketing tactics into your sales strategy has helped dealers convert more online leads into buyers:
Optimize Your Website
Your website serves as your online dealership. A high-performing website strengthens your dealership’s online presence, which brings in more leads and yields even more opportunities to close sales. To boost your website’s performance, keep your content fresh and rich with inventory-relevant keywords. Once a month, conduct a website audit and remove any old or ineffective backlinks that may be slowing down your website or affecting its ranking on search engines.
Include Custom Images
More than half of online shoppers want to browse through product images, and custom photos receive 349% more page views than stock photos. Supplementing your inventory listings with custom images significantly increases customer engagement and builds your dealership’s credibility by proving these units are real and are on your lot.
Many consumers engage in comparison shopping as a key component of the buying process, browsing multiple dealer websites and unit listings before making their choice. To avoid losing new leads in the early stages of their search, re-engage online browsers through targeted ads that appear in prominent search engine and social media slots and encourage previous visitors to return to your platform.
Engage on Social Media
Because social media has become so accessible and mainstream, consumers regard posting frequency as a direct representation of your brand commitment. By maintaining regular activity on your social platforms, you are building credibility with your followers. Consumers are more likely to make a purchase from brands that they trust.
It’s important for dealers to maintain an online presence as much as possible in order to engage with potential leads who are shopping for units on the internet. Dealers who don’t invest in optimizing their e-commerce strategy miss innumerable opportunities to engage potential buyers on the internet. As consumer shopping behavior shifts toward virtual channels to browse and even purchase units, optimizing your sales strategies to include an effective digital marketing sales strategy is crucial to your continued success.