Why auto dealerships’ websites must be attractive to women shoppers


women shoppersEven in an increasingly connected world, an auto dealership’s Web presence is no guarantee of success in generating sales to women shoppers.

While dealership websites ranked as the No. 1 stop for women researching new vehicles – clearly providing those businesses opportunities to boost sales – 41 percent of women responding to a Women-Drivers.com survey said the dealer’s website “was not helpful.”

The report did not indicate why the women surveyed did not find certain websites unhelpful, and the website did not respond to a request for more information about the results.

The other top websites women use for shopping research are, in order, Kelley Blue Book, manufacturer sites, Consumer Reports, AutoTrader, Edmunds, Cars.com, Carfax, Craigslist and J.D. Power.

The results are important to dealers because women buy more than half the new cars sold and influence 80 percent purchases, the website reported separately. Survey results came from Women-Drivers.com’s study “2014 Women’s Car Buying Report: Shopping, buying, leasing + service trends at car dealerships.”

Recommendations to dealers for improving their websites, in general, include:

Providing fresh content regularly. “Blogging is a very effective way to inform your customers, bring a wealth of SEO value to your site and establish ‘the voice’ of your dealership,” according to Dealer.com. Blog posts should be informative and professional to supplement marketing strategy, but lively and interesting with original content, tags and images to keep the reader engaged.”

Diversifying your content. While vehicle inventory is the “heart and soul” of a car dealership, said Speed Shift Media, “make sure to talk about your service center, finance department and parts store so that visitors understand the full breadth of your dealership’s capabilities.”

Selling your people, not just your cars. “At the end of the day, people buy from other people,” according to Speed Shift Media. “Personalizing your website with staff profiles and opinions contributes to improving a car dealership website experience by ‘humanizing’ your business and building trust with your prospects before they even set foot on your lot.”

Building new Web pages each month. “New content is looked upon very highly by search engine algorithms,” said Speed Shift. “If you have a special promotion going on or want to talk about a new vehicle model that has recently been released, creating a new page with good content will help you attract people through search and give them the information that they need very quickly.”

Of course, all of that must be done keeping in mind the differences between women and men shoppers. See Auto Remarketing, Kruse Control and Jean Knows Cars for more on attracting women shoppers.

“Women are leading the way being sophisticated users of new technology solutions,” wrote Anne Fleming, president and car buying advocate of Women-Drivers.com, in Auto Remarketing online. “Her most prized possession is her smart phone and, with mobile usage now mainstream for her, she expects her favorite brands, including her car dealership, to be a tap away.”

And to address her interests and concerns.

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