The Internet and the way consumers access it is changing at such a pace, many in the technology industry are struggling to keep up – let alone dealers trying to sell cars online.
A staggering number of people now access the web from their phones – in fact it’s predicted this will very soon overtake the number of people logging on from desktop computers – while ‘being found’ online is becoming increasingly difficult.
Those were just some of the stark messages coming from Google’s very own automotive experts at the web giant’s inaugural conference for the motor trade, Think Dealer.
Delegates to the conference included marketing directors and managers from all of the UK’s car manufacturers and large advertising agencies who were advised on how their dealers can adapt in this ever changing web world.
‘This thing called the Internet is not going to go away – it’s just going to get faster.‘
‘The motor industry is not moving fast enough’, said Richard Trinder, Google UK automotive industry director. ‘It is lagging behind other industries at a time when change is getting faster. This thing called the Internet is not going to go away – it’s just going to get faster. It’s a tough market out there and dealers need to understand the speed of change.’
Trinder then listed some shocking facts about car buyers. Some 71 per cent are undecided on brand or model when they start looking for a new car – giving you a real opportunity to sway their decision.
Buyers currently spend around 3.2 months looking for their new car and are willing to travel to get it – most said they wouldn’t think twice about traveling more than 30 miles for the right deal. And where do they start that search? Online. In fact, while 53 per cent will start their search on the web, an incredible eight out of ten will use the web at some point.
‘The Internet influences key decisions throughout the car-buying process,’ explained Trinder. ‘That’s why it’s so important that dealers are there, visible, at the very start. We know that 65 per cent of car buyers find their eventual seller online. And, more startlingly, 22 per cent actually change who they intended to buy from after what they found online.
‘The retail industry is the current leading light in marketing online. The problem is the motor trade does not care enough about dealer websites to capitalise on where consumers are. You wouldn’t not care about how your showroom looked would you, so why do it online?’
What can dealers do to generate more sales?
Nissan Insider has put together a short list of the best ways for Nissan dealers to generate more sales. You’ll notice they’re simple tips, but tips that you really should capitalise on.
– Take ownership of your site on Google Places. This is your web page where contact details of your site are displayed, a picture, and importantly, any reviews about your firm are aggregated from the web.
– Respond to queries and questions within five minutes. If you wait 30 minutes to reply to an email as opposed to replying within five minutes, the chance of converting that enquiry drops by 21 times! And…
– …respond to negative reviews. Take the conversation offline by responding with an apology that the customer has had a bad experience and a telephone number for them to call. It shows other users that you will act.
– Set up a Google Alert for the dealership’s name. This will flag up any comments made about your business online so you know it’s there and can respond.