The pandemic helped to popularize digital car sales, which may be tough on brick and mortar retailers. Here’s how to keep up with the competition.
The days of traditional car-buying aren’t over, but the landscape has undoubtedly changed. Between COVID-19 forcing so many people to switch to digital car sales, as well as a boom of online retailers who were around even before the pandemic, traditional businesses have almost no choice but to make some changes. That doesn’t mean you have to go all-digital, but it does mean reevaluating the various platforms you may use to sell cars.
Consumers of most products are shifting to online purchases, but selling cars online is different from selling something like clothing or kitchenware. Cars and trucks are expensive purchases that used to involve test drives, in-person signatures, and more. While some of that is coming back as the pandemic eases up, retailers that are only online will continue with these practices, which could mean steep competition for traditional lot car sales.
Fortunately, there are things you can do to enhance your digital car sales without giving up your brick-and-mortar establishment. Here are a few things to consider as you think about pivoting to an increasingly popular way of purchasing a car.
Discover 5 simple ways to improve your digital car sales
1. Use a professional website
When your business has historically been in-person, it may have seemed unnecessary to invest a lot in your website. But as more and more people turn to online shopping, it’s more important than ever to make sure you have a professional website that not only looks sleek and stylish, but is also easy to navigate and can show people details of the cars they’re considering. The cleaner the website looks and the easier it is to get around, the more likely someone will spend time shopping there. Perhaps it will turn into an online sale, or maybe they’ll come into the store after all, but the presentation should be on point so you can be ready for either.
2. Search engine optimization
You’ll find more success with digital car sales if your website appears at the top of the Google search results. Invest in search engine optimization (SEO) for your website so that more traffic will flow to your page. One of the best ways to do this is to offer valuable blog content that people will be interested in reading. Once they’re on your site, it’s likely they’ll at least poke around a little bit.
3. Enhance social media presence
One of the things that makes the in-person experience so memorable is the human interaction aspect of it. And while nothing can replace in-person socialization, social media is a great way to engage with customers who aren’t coming into your store, but might still want to do business with you. Post interesting stories, funny comments, or informative tidbits that will intrigue people. Reply to comments and engage with your customers regularly. This behavior mimics the in-person experience in a way that could very well lead to more digital car sales or even more lot sales if you’ve enticed someone to come into the shop.
4. Keep a variety of inventory
Your car lots are only so big, but the more variety of cars you can offer, the more likely your digital car sales will improve. People are looking for all kinds of different vehicles for all sorts of reasons. If they do happen upon your website and don’t find what they’re looking for, they’re likely to move on to another website without even calling to see if what they’re looking for might be available. Of course, depending on where you live, there may be a higher demand for certain vehicles over others, so don’t stop paying attention to that. Just keep in mind that you probably don’t know how many people are shopping your site online, and you don’t want to miss a sale just because you don’t have a variety of inventory.
5. Be mobile friendly
In addition to having a professional website, make sure that it’s mobile friendly. More and more consumers are interacting from their phones, and if your website is clunky or isn’t optimized for mobile, you’ll likely miss out. A consumer’s mobile experience should be as smooth and seamless as any other online transaction. This may take a little more investment, but the return will be worth it when you see how many sales come from mobile car shopping.
Online auto sales aren’t going away. The dealerships that can incorporate online sales into their business plan are the ones who will survive and thrive in the future.
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