Listen to Your Web Site

October 2008, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

by Jason Ezell - Also by this author

Aside from being an “Ups” machine for your dealership, a huge value of your Web site is what it can tell you about the buying public. Since almost 90 percent of everyone out there looking to buy a car goes online at some point to research that purchase, the Internet can give us the most accurate, current and specific facts about shopper trends. We know exactly what are the most and least popular vehicles every day, every week, every month. We can see what colors and options are most sought. We know from using our specials pages on our Web sites if a lease payment or purchase price was more attractive as a loss leader.

Never before have we had these types of facts at our fingertips. Newspapers could tell us how many papers they threw to how many curbs, but not specifically how many of those people read them or how many were actually looking for cars. The radio can tell us how many people listen, but not how many of those actually retained what they heard.

However, if someone comes from Google to your Web site and searches for a lime green Honda civic with a spoiler, you can bet that person wants a lime green civic with a spoiler. Plus, you can also see what ELSE that consumer looked at while on your site. In fact, we can see everything he did on your Web site before he actually submitted contact information, and we can see this same data for every person shopping on the Internet. Big Brother at work? Maybe, but the data is invaluable.

Your Web site should be able to produce a report showing you exactly what cars had the most looks and which ones had the fewest. If it doesn’t, you probably have the wrong Web site because this is a large part of what you are paying for.You might think this data would be an easy speculation, but you’d be surprised.

If I were a dealer, I’d take that report and market my cars with it, meaning I would change up my street-front rows and line it with the most-looked-at cars from my Web site report. I still see dealers in town with street fronts full of SUVs and trucks because they want to sell them. In this economy, you aren’t going to talk someone into buying an SUV, so don’t waste your front line trying to push them out in the streets.

I’d also see what new vehicles were the most searched or most configured on my site, be sure I have the right mix of new cars, and market them well on the lot and in print ads. I would use this data to put the right cars on my specials page and in my print ads because I know they are cars that are getting the most attention. They are what the people want! See for yourself what your Web site can tell you. Pull the reports, see exactly what the buying public is doing and adjust to fit those demands. It’s a powerful tool we have never before had the luxury of having. Use it wisely!

Vol 5, Issue 9

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