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How car dealers can hook customers online

Essentially, dealer websites all contain the same range of information (vehicle search and information about the dealership) so Murray-Jones advises dealers to think about how they can go beyond that.

That means having videos, user and/or expert reviews, a blog, social media channels, embedded editorial from worthy, impartial sources and localised content where relevant.

Consider how users might want to search for a car. Sun Motors allows users to search using broad criteria such as car type and fuel economy, rather than just make and model.

Make sure that you have a responsive website, which means it can be viewed on a tablet, mobile and a desktop. And bear in mind that there are different smartphone screen sizes.


'Your website is your digital forecourt'

“Your website is your digital forecourt,” said King. “If you have one picture of a car or an incomplete description and you don’t tell me the selling points of the car you will lose me.”

Video is becoming increasingly important. Nearly two-thirds (61%) of vehicle shoppers view online video and a quarter will watch an hour or more.

“If someone searches for a car on your website, they need to be distracted by the fact there is a video next to the photos,” said Andrew Howells, chair and founder of Citnow, a video sales system.  

The video should be high quality so that it can be enlarged to full screen and no more than a minute, with three key points about the car, and a call to action, according to Howells.

Consumers should be prompted to request a ‘personal presentation’ (a five-minute video introducing the salesperson and the dealership and giving more detail about the car) by filling in an online form.

Dealers can also email a personal presentation when an appointment has been made to help ensure that the customer turns up.

“We know that 50% of people who turn up for an appointment will purchase a car,” said Howells. “Selling one extra vehicle a month will cover the cost of your investment.”

GForces’ customer Nicholas Mee and Company produced a £1,000 video of a mini Aston Martin DB Convertible Junior, which has had more than 200,000 hits on YouTube and millions of views worldwide.


Using customer testimonials

Customer testimonials, along with customer reviews from independent sites, should feature on your website.

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