Did you know that less than one in five people actually call a dealership to purchase a car? This means that modern car shoppers are turning to alternative means of researching and purchasing their vehicles – namely, the Internet.
In fact, 61 percent of the purchase process is done online, with the average car buyer spending about 14 hours on the Internet during their search.
Additionally, according to the FourEyes 2022 Automotive Benchmarks report, which analyzed data from over 21,000 car dealership websites, online form fills accounted for the majority of both qualified leads (63 percent) and sold leads (62 percent) between December 2020 and November 2021.
These statistics ultimately prove that having a website is critical for any car dealership in 2023. Keep reading to learn more about the benefits of having a car dealership website, as well as the proper steps to take when building one of your own.
What You’ll Learn In This Post
- Examples of Excellent Car Dealership Websites
- Common Features of a Car Dealership Website
- 4 Steps to Build a Successful Car Dealership Website
- How to Market Your Car Dealership Website
Benefits of Having a Car Dealership Website
There are many advantages that come with having a website for your car dealership. Not only will it substantially help get the word out about your business, but a website will also improve the customer experience and boost your dealership’s productivity and efficiency.
Increased Customer Awareness
Due to the competitiveness of the industry, having a website is one of the best ways to increase awareness about your car dealership – both locally and nationally. A website also provides an opportunity for additional avenues of advertising, such as search engine optimization and pay-per-click, making it an effective means of attracting and retaining customers.
Improved Customer Experience
A website will enhance the overall experience by allowing customers to browse car listings, make inquiries, and book viewing appointments all from the comfort of their own homes. Plus, this will reduce the amount of time spent at the dealership, which will likely result in customers feeling less pressure regarding a potential purchase.
Having a website can also improve your dealership’s operational efficiency by streamlining the car buying process and increasing productivity. For example, customers have the ability to fill out test drive waiver forms and other paperwork before entering the dealership, freeing up their time and resources that can now be spent on making sales.
Examples of Excellent Car Dealership Websites
While there are countless car dealership websites on the Internet, not all of them stand out in terms of functionality and user appeal. In this section, we’ll discuss a few sites that have successfully set themselves apart in the automotive industry.
1. Hendrick Automotive Group
Hendrick Automotive Group provides many valuable features, including a pop-up chatbot that asks customers if they need help, as well as the option to search for specific vehicles based on year, make, and price. This allows car shoppers to easily access a catalog of the company’s available vehicles at its 93 dealerships across the United States. Additionally, those looking to sell their existing vehicle can fill out a form to receive an instant cash offer.
2. Berkshire Hathaway Automotive
Another large US dealership with over 100 franchises, Berkshire Hathaway Automotive, allows customers to discover a variety of new, pre-owned and certified vehicles by searching a certain year, make, body style, mileage, or price point. The website even offers a map integration on its homepage so users can find their nearest location. Information about service centers, trade-ins, and protection plans is also available.
CarMax, a used car dealership, offers a convenient way for customers to search through its library of over 50,000 vehicles on both the website and the mobile app. A chat bubble icon is also available for instant information about buying, selling, trading, or financing a vehicle. The website even includes Instagram photos of recent customers with their new cars, as well as various articles meant to assist with vehicle research.
Common Features of a Car Dealership Website
As you can probably see, successful dealership websites share many of the same features, such as car catalogs and the ability to search for available vehicles based on different metrics. It’s important to note that these features are essential aspects of a car dealership site and should absolutely be included when building one of your own.
Essential Info and Location
This one’s a no-brainer: customers need to know where to find your dealership so they can stop by for viewings and test drives. You’ll also need to be sure that any other necessary information, like your phone number and email address, is clearly stated on your site, as well. Additionally, if you have multiple locations, you may want to implement map integration for customers to easily find the nearest dealership.
Offering a digital catalog of your dealership’s available vehicles will enhance the customer experience, as customers can browse and compare cars at their convenience. It’s also a great way to improve your dealership’s marketing funnel. However, because 40 percent of customers are likely to purchase a new car based on photos alone, it’s crucial that your catalog includes high-quality photos and 360-degree videos that showcase each vehicle’s features and technical specifications in detail.
Services on Offer
If your dealership provides additional services like car maintenance, then creating specific pages for these services on your website can help relay pertinent information to your customers. You can also create pages to explain financing options and how customers can sell or trade their existing vehicles.
Support and Contact Options
You should also provide different ways for customers to contact your dealership without having to actually make a phone call. For example, you could offer real-time chat, submittable inquiry forms, or even a page dedicated to FAQs. This will greatly improve customer satisfaction and ease their car buying experience.
4 Steps to Build a Successful Car Dealership Website
Now that you understand the benefits and essential features of a car dealership website, it’s time to use that knowledge to build one of your own. By following these four steps, you can rest assured that your site is poised for long-term success.
The first step is to brainstorm your website. This will involve defining its purpose as well as the audience that you are aiming to attract. You will also need to determine what features will be required based on your target audience and overall business goals.
Once you’ve outlined your website’s main concept, you can begin designing the site with its required features and your car dealership’s branding. Because your website should be appealing and engaging, you’ll need to pay close attention to its user interface (UI) and user experience (UX). Making use of proper UI/UX principles will ensure that your website runs smoothly and provides the best car shopping experience possible.
After designing your car dealership website, it’s time to develop it. This step will involve extensive experience, skills, and technical knowledge, so it may be worthwhile to hire an expert website developer for assistance. However, there are various aspects to consider when choosing a development agency for your project.
Portfolio and Experience
It’s important to first examine an agency’s portfolio to confirm that they have relevant experience and expertise to build your car dealership website. You should also determine if any of the developer’s previous projects resonate with you, as it’s unlikely they can create a product that’ll meet your requirements if you don’t particularly like the work that they’ve done.
Clearly Defined Development Procedure
You’ll also want to make sure that the agency provides a clearly defined development procedure. This will help involve you in the development process and ultimately instills a sense of trust and transparency. If an agency doesn’t have a development procedure available, it’s typically a sign of inexperience.
Your car dealership website will require ongoing maintenance after its launch; otherwise, bugs are likely to occur. As a result, it’s critical that your developers offer post-release support options.
Once developed, you can publish your website and start promoting it to customers. However, even after it’s gone live, you will need to closely monitor your website for bugs and work with your developers to resolve any errors as soon as possible. This step will continue for as long as your car dealership website is available on the web.
How to Market Your Car Dealership Website
After your car dealership website has been built and launched, you can then explore how to get the word out about your site. This can be done in a variety of ways, including Search Engine Optimization, pay-per-click advertising, and social media marketing.
Search Engine Optimization
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) refers to the process of improving your website’s visibility on Google and other search engines by focusing on various ranking factors, such as content quality, keywords, page experience, and backlinks. This will cause your car dealership website to appear higher on the list of results when people search for products or services related to your business. If done correctly, SEO is a highly effective marketing strategy, as the more visibility you achieve in search results, the more likely you are to attract potential customers.
You can also pay to have your car dealership website show up on the search engine result page. This strategy, known as pay-per-click advertising, can be simply done by utilizing tools like Google Ads, which allows businesses to bid for certain keywords in order to have their ads displayed to relevant customers. For example, if you choose to advertise a specific vehicle, then your ad will only be revealed to people who are actively searching for that type of car.
Social Media Marketing
Having a social media presence is another marketing strategy that can help you reach a wider audience. While this can be done by paying to have ads placed on platforms like Facebook or Instagram, you can also advertise your car dealership organically by posting content on your page and engaging with your followers.
Idea Maker’s Experience In Website Development
Founded in 2016, Idea Maker combines experience with dedication to offer a transparent development process that puts our clients in control of their own ideas. Schedule a free consultation with us today to learn more about how our expert designers and developers can help you bring your car dealership website to life.