7 Items that Car Buyer Expect On Car Dealership Websites

By: Jennifer Schallehn

Customers used to go from one dealership to another looking at cars, asking questions, and getting vehicle info.  Now, thanks to the internet, customers can go from one dealership website to another allowing them to do their research online. After the customer finds the vehicle they are interested in they can ask questions and schedule a test drive.  Visiting the dealerships are quickly becoming the last step of the car buying experience. Everything a car buyer needs and wants to know about a car, from photos, price, specifications and financing information is available on the dealership websites or so it should be. The question becomes:  Are you giving your potential customers what they want and need on your dealership website in a way that will result in a sale? 
The list of what car buyers want in a dealership website is not long, but crucial to making those sales.  A car dealer website needs/must be:

  1. Engaging/User Friendly– Once a customer lands on your website, you have roughly 10 seconds to capture their attention.  If you cannot capture their attention they will leave. Automotive websites don’t have high entertainment value so you must make sure the user experience pleasant and easy.  You must achieve a balance of an appealing design, easy navigation, and informative content. If you make your site is cluttered by using to much information or photos, hard to read text, links to blank pages, making the user’s experience difficult, confusing and frustrating, you will lose them.

  2. Spectacular Photos/Content – Anyone can take pictures however to make ones that can make any car look like a million dollars, will attract and keep a customer’s attention.  After all, buying a car is a huge investment. Your customer wants to feel as if he’s getting the best car out there and the photos you use are the visual pitch. Engaging text that is realistic lets the customer know what makes your dealership’s vehicles stand out from the rest is the key. Your dealership’s website should always provide the vehicle’s specs. Not all customers will know the difference between a V6 and a V8, the content has to speak to both the car aficionados and the buyers that just want the right car.

  3. Inventory Searches – A car dealership should always have inventory search buttons that allow customers to choose vehicles by new vs. pre-owned vs. certified pre-owned, model, make, color, year, and price. Some car dealerships search inventory features such as drive train and engine type.  Dealership websites that allow customers to get online quotes, calculate financing, schedule test-drives and chat with the staff helps them feel more comfortable. A dealership’s website should allow a customer to research vehicles and feel confident that they have made the right decision. The primary purpose of the dealership’s website should be to help customers find the right car quickly and easily on the site.

  4. Social Media Share buttons –Friends and family play a huge role in a buyer’s purchase decision of major ticket items.  Buyers like the ability to email or post picture and information to social media sites to show their potential purchase to friends/family. They value their family and friends’ opinions, and they want them to feel their excitement. If your website doesn’t have the ability to share vehicle photos /information on various media channels, customers may move to a site that does.

  5. Internet deals/specials/coupons– Customers can’t shop online without being bombarded by coupons or promo codes, not to mention special deals. As a result, customers expect to find deals/promotional codes, especially when the item is as expensive as a car. If you don’t have a section that says Internet Deals or Specials, customers may pass you over your site. We’re not saying you have to give away cars in these deals, but the advantage of having this section makes users feel they may get a better price from your that they cannot get anywhere else. You can rotate the coupons, for things like purchasing a service agreement or just the occasional oil change at a discounted price. The key is to have an internet specials/discount section as part of your car dealership website.

  6. Schedule Test Drive/Place Car on Hold – Giving your potential customer the ability to schedule a test drive or place a hold on vehicles online, helps them feel that their dream car is in reach. They don’t have to be afraid that the vehicle will be sold before they can see it. There is nothing more frustrating than finding the perfect car only to find out it has been sold. Having this unique feature will show the customer you care about them enough to work them.

  7. Optimization for Smart phones/Tablets – Optimize your website for smart phones and tablets, 90% of customers flip back and forth between PCs and mobile devices. If your website isn’t optimized for smart phones and tablets, you are losing leads. Today it is more important than ever to have the ease of mobile website access, you potential customers are looking for convenience.  When customers search for vehicles online they want to be able to see everything about the vehicle if they cannot people tend to become frustrated. Once a potential customer is frustrated they will move on to another dealership’s website. Providing a seamless and user-friendly transition for customers who land on your website helps ensure you will keep those customers. It should not make a difference which device(s) they use to access your site during the day, week or month, they want to do it with ease.

When it comes to customers that shop for cars online, they want to be able to do as much online as possible. The 7 features we have highlighted are the key for any dealer to keep customers happy, engaged, and invested in finding a car on their dealership’s website. Leave one of these items out, and there’s a good chance your potential customer will move onto the next website.

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For the past 15 years AutoJini has been providing Auto Dealership Website Design and search engine optimization solutions to dealers & franchise.

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