What Key Features Do Car Buyers Expect From Car Dealer Websites?
28th July 2023
Motor vehicle dealers and garages must ensure their car dealer websites have the key features that are essential in order to stay relevant with current car buyers’ needs, or they risk becoming less appealing to prospective customers when their competitors are producing more modern websites in comparison.
There are a number of key features and tips for car dealers and garages looking to get the best out of their website to make it an excellent selling tool:
When buying anything online, prospective customers need to have confidence that the website is genuine and that they can trust they are dealing with a professional business. The fastest way to achieve this is by having an SSL certificate on your website, which displays a padlock icon next to the URL in your customer’s internet browser to indicate that the site is safe for them to use and input personal details. Without an SSL certificate in place, car buyers could well be hesitant about submitting any information and may look elsewhere if your car dealer website does not look genuine and secure.
Another way of building immediate trust online is by displaying your dealership or garage’s positive customer reviews on your website. Your reputation is key for bringing in new customers and as reviews can be a deciding factor when buying from a business, highlighting positive feedback from previous customers can undoubtedly help your prospects’ decision-making process. If you have a Trustpilot account, your website could even display your Trustscore and link to your profile page for further peace of mind for car buyers.
Car dealers and garages should also consider linking to their social media accounts on their website, proving that the company exists on other platforms, to increase trust with customers. Regularly posting updates about vehicles for sale, advertising offers, company news or simply sharing what you’re working on through Facebook, Instagram or Twitter will help to steadily build you an online presence that shows how open and accessible you are as a business. Your social media feed could also be linked to your website so that your latest posts are visible without customers needing to individually visit each profile on the different platforms.
Being transparent with your online audience will boost trust, which is why an About Us and Meet The Team page can help online customers learn more about a company and its people that they are considering doing business with. These pages are important for your prospective buyer to get an idea of who you are, so it’s a good idea to take the time to create the content that portrays you as one of a kind. Describing your company’s journey of how you got to where you are today can help customers see you as a well-established business, while introducing staff members one by one online allows your customers to put a name to a face when they finally visit your premises, instantly building rapport.
Upon arriving at the showroom, you want your premises to be instantly recognisable as the same company from your website, so ensuring your branding is consistent will help with this. It’s a popular choice for car dealers and garages to prominently display photographs of their building or showroom on the website so that customers know what to expect ahead of their visit. Using the same colours and fonts online that you use on signage and around your building will also give a professional impression to customers visiting in person and create familiarity with your company.
Easy Search Function
Many buyers will be flexible on a car’s make and model whilst either looking in a particular price range or based on their finance affordability per month, whereas others will have already decided on a particular make or model and will narrow down their search from there. Whatever their needs, providing customers with an easy-to-use search feature that caters for any preference is key for converting online visitors into customers.
Car buyers should be able to easily select the desired make and model in their search while also having the option to quickly make changes and base the search on their financial preferences instead. Combining both tools in one search and positioning this at the top of your home page will lead potential buyers to your stock much quicker after landing on your website and this can shorten the time it takes customers to make contact with you.
Displaying comprehensive videos, images and information of your stock on your website is more likely to result in prospective buyers visiting your showroom to take the vehicle for a test drive. Upgrading your photography skills by investing in a professional camera and using the same angles for capturing images of your stock will instantly transform not just your images but also the reputation of your dealership. Consistent stock images, regardless of the vehicle make and model, demonstrates professionalism, which will make online visitors more confident in buying a vehicle from you.
Your vehicles can also be presented with walkaround videos, giving car buyers the chance to watch a tour of the vehicle in addition to clicking through images one at a time. This gives you the opportunity to describe the range of vehicle features as you make your way around the car and inject some personality into your vehicle content. Alternatively, if you want to impress online visitors with a more engaging vehicle details page, 360 degree images can be used to let customers freely roam around your vehicles on their mobile or PC from anywhere, literally putting themselves in the driving seat of your cars while they make their buying decisions.
By adding a live chat feature to your website, there will always be a way for your online customers to receive answers to any questions they may have, either about a specific vehicle or more general enquiries, no matter what time of the day or night it is. With statistics showing that more than half of automotive enquiries are being made outside of traditional business hours, the 24/7 availability you’ll gain from using live chat could be essential to stopping prospective car buyers from leaving your website to deal with a competitor if they have unanswered pending questions.
Instant Stock Updates
Keeping your stock up to date at all times on your website ensures maximum accuracy when online customers discover your vehicles. You don’t want potential buyers arriving at the dealership only to find out that your prices online weren’t updated or the car is no longer available, so staying on top of your vehicle information is essential for creating a healthy relationship with your prospective customers.
If you have a dealer management system that is fully integrated with your website, then any changes made in the vehicle record of your software should instantly update to reflect the same information online, including stock images, descriptions, pricing and anything else on your vehicle details page.
Online car buyers won’t want to miss out on a vehicle they’re interested in, so it’s essential for dealers to provide them with the option to reserve their desired car online to ensure they get a chance to view it in person and take it for a test drive. With online payment integrations, customers can easily pay a reservation deposit by card on modern car dealer websites at any time of the day or night, which means you’ll be able to continue selling cars even outside of your business hours.
Additionally, your service customers might prefer to book their vehicles into the workshop online, rather than making a phone call, so the online card payments can also be used here to secure their commitment, which can help reduce no-shows.
A car dealer website that’s fully integrated with your dealer management system should feed the reservation and customer details straight back into your DMS, ready for your sales staff to progress at the earliest opportunity.
Car buyers want to know at an early stage whether or not they can afford a vehicle that has caught their eye on your website, so providing them with the tools to assess their affordability online will help them to kickstart the sales process even outside of your dealership opening hours.
Adding finance calculators to your vehicle pages will let prospective buyers adjust the car’s deposit, monthly payments and the length of the finance term to suit their needs. Consumers like convenience, so being able to carry out this process online can be very attractive to potential customers. It also shortens the buying process by allowing them to do this at arm’s length and therefore can be more likely to result in a sale.
Part exchange valuations can also be essential to online car buyers if they have a vehicle to sell, as they will need to factor this into consideration when assessing a vehicle’s affordability. A simple form that allows customers to quickly input their current vehicle information and receive an offer instantly on your website could be the motivator for the customer to purchase their new vehicle from you.
Online customers expect responses at the earliest opportunity, especially if they have just left a deposit with your dealership or garage. The traditional method of logging in and out of different systems to access your website leads can unfortunately mean there’s a delay in the response, with some leads even becoming lost in the process.
Any leads you receive online can be fed directly into your dealer management system if it’s fully integrated with your website, ensuring nothing gets missed and your team will always be ready to respond to customers as soon as possible.
Dragon2000 design industry-leading websites for the motor trade with all of the above features available. If your website isn’t bringing you enough leads and needs modernising to drive the conversion of vehicle sales and service bookings, contact us at Dragon2000 today and our expert website design team will work with you to help grow your business online.
We have been helping dealers and garages drive their businesses forward since 1995. Contact Dragon2000 on 01327 222 333 or email email@example.com to find out how our dealer management system, car dealer websites and mobile apps can help your business increase profits and reduce costs.