Dealer Websites – Finding the right product for your dealership
Tuesday, November 26, 2013
A dealer website is your dealership’s online showroom and with the
growing number of customers searching vehicles online before going in-person to
a dealership, it’s critical to get that online visitor to your site and then to
your dealership. So what are the must
haves in a dealer website product? What
is the right product for your dealership? Your dealer website needs to attract, engage,
and connect with your online visitors and provide performance measurement.
Attractiveness of a website includes both getting customers to your website as
well as attracting their attention upon arrival. For your dealer website to get customer
traffic it needs to be optimized for search engines. This includes using appropriate search engine
optimization (SEO) meta tag descriptions and keywords in the source code of the
webpages as well as using relevant keywords in the page copy. Dealer website products that provide content
management systems or tools that support adding metadata and copy and
supporting ongoing updates to pages are a great choice.
Once the visitor has come to your site, it needs to create a great
first impression. This includes eye-catching
website template designs/colors and components like large-image slideshows and
featured vehicles sections. Look for a
dealer website product that gives you template and color options that you can
"test drive” to see what works with your visitors and a product that supports
high-visibility content areas on the homepage so you can catch your visitors’
attention and draw them into your vehicle inventory.
keep visitors on your website, you need to make sure your website is
engaging. Select a dealer website product
that is easy to use and allows the customer to search vehicles by a variety of relevant
parameters: make, model, price, and year and then click to inventory detail
pages to learn more and see additional pictures. It is best to choose a dealer website that
supports a large volume or unlimited vehicle pictures to maximize your showroom’s
Now that you have an engaged visitor looking through your vehicles, you
need to make sure your dealer website effectively connects them to you. The dealer website should have dealership contact
information including phone, email and physical address on every page in the
header section of the page, so it is always readily available.
Besides general contact information, a dealer website can provide connectivity
through lead generation and interest capture, including online credit
application, request for information, or schedule a test drive forms. All provide the opportunity for a customer to
connect with you as well as a valuable and actionable lead. Make sure your website product supports the
connectivity options you want.
Finally, don’t forget social media. Including social media channels on your dealer
website can keep you connected to customers and provide potential viral and referral
networking. Make sure your dealer
website product supports the social media channels your dealership uses like Facebook,
Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, and You Tube and be sure to use them frequently so
the information is always relevant and up to date.
In order to tell if your dealer website is performing, you need to be able to
measure it. Statistics such as total and
unique visitors and page views of different site sections like inventory, featured
vehicles, and information request pages will tell you how many people are
coming to your site and what they’re looking at while there. You can use this information to better
understand your customers’ areas of interest.
Most dealer website products provide analytics. The most common forms are either a custom
dashboard or integration with Google Analytics.
With the dashboard option, high-level metrics relevant to your selected template
are provided in table or graphic format.
With the Google Analytics option, you’ll need to sign up for a free
Google Analytics account and use a Google tracking code available in the
account to tie into the website. With Google
Analytics you’ll be able to see more detailed information like the users’ path
through your site (entry and exit pages), time spent on site, and a variety of other
demographic information. What type of analytics
is best for you depends on your desired level of analytical detail.
There are many different dealer website products on the
market. Do your research to make sure you
identify products that will attract visitors with SEO and captivating, testable
template designs, engage and connect them to you with easy-to-use functionality
and contact methods and provide you with a comfortable level of measurement
capability. Once you have a short list
of products that meet your needs, you’ll be able to price shop and identify the
best value for your money. The
marketplace is very competitive, and you don’t have to pay a lot of money to
get a great dealer website.
Monique Seifullin is VP Corporate
Marketing & e-Commerce for Nowcom Corp. Nowcom’s DealerCenter DMS
provides robust functionality, connectivity to over 1,000 finance sources, and
Dealer Website, BHPH, and Online Ad Post add-ons. For more information,
visit www.dealercenter.net or call