Automotive Dealership Websites and the Next Paradigm Shift

About ten years ago when I started marketing Internet advertising to automobile dealerships the response I generally received to my presentation was less than enthusiastic. I heard everything from “the Internet is a fad” to “my kind of customer is not on the Internet” to “get the hell out of here!”

What car dealers failed to realize at that time was the Internet was going to become a “must-have” for every dealership wanting to stay in business in the 21st century. Early adaptors made HUGE gains on their competitors and non-franchised dealerships found they could compete with the large franchises much more easily on the Internet than by spending money on costly newspaper and or TV ads.

Ten years later a true “paradigm shift” has taken place, transforming the shopping process completely. Today almost 90% of buyers begin their car shopping process online. The most compelling thing about that last statement is not that people question that 90% begin the shopping process online; it’s that people question why the other 10% do not follow suit.

Some recent information though might put a little bit of a damper on the enthusiasm of car dealers. Several studies have shown that over 98% of visitors to a dealership website do not ultimately purchase a vehicle from that dealership. These studies and been performed by various companies in the fields of business intelligence and the data has been fairly consistent from each study.

These figures are somewhat startling given how much advertising money is being allocated to digital advertising and especially given the marketing efforts of many 3rd party advertisers that the Internet is a “targeted” advertising alternative.

So now it’s time for (another) paradigm shift. The new shift is two-fold with the early adopters: 1) Dealers are beginning to put more effort into analyzing their website traffic using business intelligence reporting to help them understand their digital advertising spend and 2) Dealers are beginning to focus less on driving traffic to their website and focus more on the conversion ratio of their traffic, which is a lot cheaper than driving more traffic to their site.

ProspectEngage is leading that shift with our proprietary technology and proven prospect-mining techniques. Visit our website and take a look at our solutions, especially our pay-for-performance solution, ProspectWatch, where we place our proprietary technology on your website and use our proven prospect-mining techniques to help our clients increase sales and improve customer service. Here are the results of a recent survey of our client’s results:

  • 40% of the visitors that we engaged on our client’s websites would have left the client’s website without making any future contact with our clients had we not engaged them while they were on the site.
  • 30% of the visitors we engage on our client’s websites are “hot” prospects, with 80% of those visitors planning to make a purchase with 30 days with 35% of those planning to make a purchase within 48 hours

Find out more about ProspectWatch by visiting here.

Whatever dealer’s decide to do they better be on-board with the new paradigm shift. The Internet is here to stay – I think we all agree on that point (funny how things changed in just ten years). The question is how many dealerships will take control of their website(s) by improving their closing ratio through the use of impressive new technology tools and prospect-mining techniques and how many will do what they did when newspapers and TV ads lost much of their effectiveness and keep pouring good money after bad?

Stay tuned!