Last year, I bought my first brand new car. The experience was terrifying, to say the least. I spoke with the first salesperson, then the second salesperson, his manager and then his manager. After this I had to speak with a lady in insurance, a guy in finance…by the time they took me on a test drive I just wanted to drive home! Maybe that’s part of the reason mobile and online shopping is continuously growing, especially with cars. With that being said, here are some things dealerships shouldn’t ignore this year:
1. Having an online presence isn’t optional anymore- Over 80% of customers start their search for a car online. This means less than 20% of buyers are actually starting out on a lot, with no previous knowledge of competitor’s prices, or offered features. Personally, I used my smart phone to help get me a deal on my car. The manager told me the car I wanted wasn’t at their location, and would take a week to get to me. I quickly looked online, and saw that another local dealership had THREE of my dream cars on site. After pointing this out, my dealer had my car for me the next day, at a heavily discounted price. My thought: “how did I just pull that off?” My dealers thought: “we just lost money to a 24 year old buying her first car.” Boo-yah.
2. Social Media Shapes a Dealership’s Image- When buying a car, most people research online and ask friends for advice on their purchases. I mean, people use social media to ask friends “where should I have dinner tonight?” It’s extremely important in 2014 that dealerships maintain a positive image through social media. For me personally, I likely won’t share my experience with friends online. Consider though, the people who post every little thing online. Their word can influence other buyers, even if their word isn’t worth listening to.
3. Reputation Management- Do you trust a business more because of their online reviews? In my experience, my dealership sent me an online survey to fill out and return to them. Anymore, people just post how they feel on Facebook, or other similar websites. Those emailed surveys get lost in the spam folders of America. But what happens when someone posts negatively about your business? A shocking 86% of consumers have been influenced by negative comments on social media. Responding to these posts can help your business grow, and change the public’s view of your dealership at a glance. The key thing is to always respond quickly, and look like you care.
4. Local SEO- Around 74% of people use their phone to get information based on a “current location.” Using this, online reviews and social media, local customers can be persuaded to utilize your business. It just makes sense. They’re only a mile away, let’s just stop and see what they have.
5. Mobile Marketing- What do you know; I’m one of the 58% that used my mobile device to compare prices and features. I did it IN the dealership. Is your site mobile friendly, and updated? If so, you luckily won’t be like my dealer and have to sacrifice to make a sale.
Seventy percent of Fortune 500 Companies use Facebook and Twitter, and your dealership should too. Maintaining your social media helps you pop up in local searches, and can showcase your business in a brighter light.