Dealers need to work harder to forge a distinctive online identity and reach customers anywhere any time, according to Codeweavers sales director Shaun Harris.
Poorly optimised mobile websites remain a frequent problem across the industry but delivering a memorable and distinctive customer impact is key to optimising profits, Harris asserts.
“Rather than the traditional ‘product push’ that dominates most automotive websites, I believe dealers need to focus more upon the customer experience with a ‘process’ led approach,” he said.
Harris points to the strategies adopted by online retailers with their fresh, topical and engaging content and capacity to present added value and complementary services during the browsing experience as the way ahead.
He feels that dealers need to work harder at differentiating their digital presence to make it memorable and more engaging, stating: “We need to embrace the fundamentals of marketing to grab the attention and interest of customers; success will be earned those who win hearts and minds and make the experience of buying and owning an absolute pleasure; much of this now starts and is often maintained online.”
While recognising that corporate visual identity priorities are a key area for franchised dealers, Harris believes that originality in tone and content can help add real value to a dealer’s presence and are as important as how it is delivered.
Areas such as dealer personality and ethos, affordability and aftersales support are areas that could be developed, speaking to the acquisition and ownership needs of the customer.
As well as imaginative web presence, this same principle needs to carry through into a dealer’s social media presence. Creating interesting content and encourage customer interaction.
Another area that Harris feels can be developed today is the capacity for technology to target customers anywhere, any time. He said: “If dealers need a compelling argument for such approaches, in core retailing, 43% of consumers would spend more in mobile friendly stores that offer services such as mobile payments, loyalty programme, reservations, product availability checks, and location-based promotions. We should want some of that.”