BY KENSEY EDWARDS
We’ve said it before - and we will probably say it again - the Internet has changed how buyers shop. It’s the explanation for so many of the changes in consumer behavior. People are turning online first before they ever choose to set foot inside your physical dealership - and, because of that, how you are presenting yourself digitally is becoming more and more important. While there are many ways to look at this topic, let’s talk about what this means for your website.
Your website is probably the most concrete extension of your dealership - and it should feel that way because 78% of buyers say your website will influence their perception of your dealership and the experience you’ll offer.1That’s powerful. If your website looks messy and outdated, a buyer may assume that they will have a similar experience in-store. And even if that’s completely false, it may keep them from ever coming in to your physical location - which is obviously not what you want. Your website should be one of your top tools for drawing buyers in - which is why it’s so important that it convey the experience they would have in person. The consistent experience is not only good for your brand, but helps build trust with the buyer.
So what exactly is important in building this great website? Well, it should...
Be Mobile Friendly
Just like the Internet - mobile devices are only increasing in their popularity and functionality. Buyers are able to do more and more from their smartphones, which is why it’s not surprising that 64% consider mobile functionality an important feature of a dealer’s website.1Not only does having a mobile friendly site show that your dealership is up-to-date on the latest trends, but it also makes it easier for buyers to search for their bikes on the go - and considering that Cycle Trader’s mobile traffic was up by 14% as compared to this same time last year, it’s obvious they are doing that more and more.2Make sure you either have a designated mobile site or that your desktop site is responsive, meaning it will automatically resize to fit a mobile device. Honestly, we would recommend a responsive design, because then you don’t have to update your website twice.
Call Out Your Most Valuable Assets
I think it’s pretty obvious that the most valuable thing on your site is your listings. It’s why buyers are there, right? So it’s no surprise that 69% of buyers said that your vehicle detail pages are the most important thing on your website - just as they would say the bikes on your lot are the most important part of your dealership.3Cycle buyers are focused, they don’t like fluff, and definitely prefer to get straight to the point - and that’s how they are using your website. They want to see the goods. The page that shocked us with its lackluster love was the Service Page. Only 2% of buyers felt this was the most important page.4Considering we asked buyers who are actively searching, not necessarily current owners, we guess that makes sense. Either way - we would encourage you to keep this page up because we don’t have to tell you that service is as important a part of your business as sales.
Include ALL the Information They Could Get In-Store
There’s no way you would leave the price off a bike you have for sale on your lot - so why would you leave it off an online listing? We’ve heard all the reasons why you might want to - but the most popular is the thought that it will force buyers to call for that information. And here’s the thing - you’re not wrong. The majority of buyers on Cycle Trader said they would call either about a pricing question (40%) or to check the availability of the bike (48%) if that information isn’t available online.5However, considering that you want your website experience to be as close to your in-store experience, this tactic might not be the best. In some cases, it works for dealerships - but the majority of the time, the buyer isn’t ready to have the buying conversation with you yet. If they were, they would have already showed up on your lot. We would highly recommend giving buyers the information they are searching for up front, giving yourself a competitive advantage over the dealerships that don’t provide that information, and helping to draw in truly qualified leads - instead of just exploratory ones.
Overall, knowing what consumers expect from your website is helpful - particularly when thinking about it as an extension of your dealership. We understand that maintaining your online presence with everything else you have going on in the physical dealership can be a lot to ask - but with the way consumers are shopping these days, it’s really becoming more of a “must-have” rather than a “nice-to-have”.
Kensey Edwards is the content manager for Cycle Trader, an online marketplace connecting powersports buyers to sellers. In her role, Edwards focuses on consumer research and trends in the ever-changing digital landscape — and translates those insights into content and education to help dealers compete in the broader powersports industry.
2.) Adobe Analytics, July 2018