Let’s cut to the chase. Online shopping is here to stay. Research indicates that more than 263 million American consumers shop online. For perspective, that’s about 80% of the U.S. population. If you’re wondering whether people actually prefer this route or are doing it because they have no other choice, the former is true. Around 56.6% of American consumers prefer an online shopping experience.
The industries dominating e-commerce include apparel and accessories, computer and consumer electronics, furniture and home furnishings, and health and personal care and beauty. However, want to know what industries are also attracting online shoppers? The auto market.
Consumers are embracing online car buying and seeing more satisfaction from it than those who purchase vehicles in person. A 2022 survey by Progressive suggests that 78% of U.S. consumers who bought a vehicle online thought it was a highly satisfying online shopping experience. In comparison, only 58% of people who bought a car in person thought it was gratifying.
The great satisfaction rates with online car buying provide a significant reason to believe that consumers will continue to take a digital path to purchase a car. An IBIS World report even indicates that the 2022 online car market will surpass its current value of $38.1 billion by 5.1%.
However, what does all that mean for your dealership? Why should you care about any of this information? It’s simple—you need to start creating a great online shopping experience to ensure you get a piece of the digital pie.
Steps to creating an online shopping experience
Building a great digital experience for online shoppers can sound intimidating, especially if you’ve never done it. If your dealership has generated most of its sales in person—like many dealerships have— shifting your focus online can sound like a challenging task. You may not know which strategies to take to accomplish this goal. But fortunately, this article will provide specific steps your auto dealership can take to start creating a great online shopping experience.
1. Provide incentives and rebates
There’s nothing like a good deal to get consumers to purchase a vehicle online. That’s why you should make sure to spotlight every incentive and rebate available on your website. Be clear about the deals consumers can take advantage of when they shop online. The digital shopping experience should always promote incentives and rebates to increase sales.
2. Have a unique brand voice
If people have never heard of your auto dealership but come across it online, how can you ensure they remember your business? Develop a unique brand voice.
You want your dealership to be memorable, and one of the best ways to accomplish that is with a brand voice that’s relatable, personable, and distinct. Consumers want to feel like they know you even if the relationship they’re building with you is online, so make sure you create a brand voice that builds a lasting connection. Doing so will lead to trust, and trust will lead to purchases.
3. Implement VIN-specific ads
Personalized advertising is always a great way to deliver an excellent online shopping experience, and with VIN-specific ads, you can do that. These types of advertisements target consumers who are ready to buy a car and match them with suitable vehicles in your inventory. How does that work?
Maybe a shopper is looking for information online about a vehicle. In that case, VIN-specific advertising will provide that information through creative, interactive ads. Basically, this strategy is all about delivering personalized content and prioritizing a hyper-targeted marketing approach.
4. Refresh your company website
Your website is the first impression that consumers will receive about your dealership. As such, you need to make sure it’s top-notch. According to Stanford web credibility research, 75% of consumers admit they judge a brand’s credibility based on its website design. So how can you update your site in a way that builds trust with online car shoppers?
First, focus on loading speed. Around 79% of consumers said they wouldn’t return to a slow website to make a purchase, and 44% of consumers would share their poor experience with others. If you don’t want to be the dealership people are talking negatively about, have a fast website. Most people want a web page to load in two seconds or less.
Next, make sure you have great images on your site. Ideally, they should be your own photos. However, if that’s not an option, use high-quality stock photography.
Finally, make sure your website is easy to navigate and clutter-free. Your site should be intuitive, with call-to-action buttons clearly visible, categories readable, organized, and clickable, and links working perfectly. Your site shouldn’t be bogged down with too much information or graphics. It should be simple, sleek, and easy to follow.
5. Handle DMV needs online
In a world where everyone wants things done quickly, you can’t afford to handle your customers’ DMV needs online. If you have to get tags, titles, registration, and license plates for car buyers, don’t do all of this the traditional way. Visiting or calling the DMV will require your customers to wait weeks to get what they need as you gather and fill out the correct paperwork.
If you want to give buyers what they need faster, move your DMV tasks online. You can easily do this by working with a private DMV services company like Barry Risk Management, which uses a fast online process to provide the DMV documents your customers need in a timely manner. Even better, companies like Barry Risk Management gather and fill out the DMV paperwork for you so that you don’t have to worry about it, saving you time as well.
Craft the best digital journey
With more people going online to find and purchase cars, you must start building an online shopping experience that attracts and pleases potential customers. Using the tips above will get you started on the right path, so implement them as soon as possible. That way, you can position yourself as an option for online car shoppers.