How easy is your website to use compared to the competition?

The question remains …

Would you buy a car from you?

“To help improve the customer experience … consider looking at your dealership from the outside-in to examine your dealership processes and experience what customers experience,” wrote Chris Walsh, marketing strategy, competitive analysis and sales process expert.

He posed the question in a recent article in Dealer Solutions Magazine, so we took it a step further, pretending to be a general manager of an actual dealership pretending to be a customer.033017 IL Time to move on from tax season and plan for May-hem (and summer)

Related: Paying attention to your dealership’s online reputation

This time we took the analysis a step further, moving on from online search results and reviews to look at the websites of our dealership and two of its nearest competitors representing the same brand. For purposes of this exercise we also looked at the same model vehicle.

It didn’t go as we hoped, possibly leaving our dealership to wonder about the answer to that question.

Two of the three dealerships, including ours and the one that received the best online reviews, delivered similar homepage experiences, providing a search function that allowed us to identify certified pre-owned models that we were seeking and generating similar results.

The same two dealerships also offered real-time online chat, which they initiated but didn’t overplay.

The third dealership provided a less robust search function – in this case, requiring an extra and not-so-obvious step to screen for certified pre-owned vehicles – and no live chat opportunity.

The presentation of CPO models that met our search criteria was the same across the board.

Another point of difference, however, was the Web page navigation bar – our dealership offered 11 choices, dealer No. 3 offered 10, and the No. 1 dealership provided seven, although it had the strongest eye appeal and dropdowns that were better organized and more engaging.

Overall, the dealership with the highest review ratings also provided the most pleasant, friendly interactive experience online – a result that could motivate our general manager to make some changes.

Because every minute a prospect spends with your competitor is one he/she isn’t spending with you.

In any case, looking at your store as a customer would, seeing what they see, can be eye-opening, helping you make your dealership’s online presence a better customer experience, and, most important, bringing more prospects to – and through – your doors.

Next: Social media changes the game online, but what’s it to you?

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