According to this recently published study by J.D. Power, 59% of auto shoppers with smartphones access dealership websites from the dealership. But why would a car shopper go to your website when they’re already in your store? Consumers today are more wary than ever of car sharks - and now they have the tools to conduct product research right in their pocket. They’ll visit your website from your store in order to verify your inventory and prices, and to ensure that they’re not getting hustled.
But an infrequently updated website can create big trouble for dealers. What if a vehicle’s price has a cheaper price on your website than the one quoted by your sales rep? What if a vehicle is listed “available” on your website but was actually sold days ago? Dealerships walk a dangerous line by letting their websites remain inactive for too long - even the best in-store sales process and customer service strategy can be ruined by an outdated inventory page.
Arianne Walker, Senior Director of Automotive Media and Marketing Solutions at J.D. Power, says that “this interplay between the dealership experience and digital information has become more intertwined with the availability of shopping content on mobile devices...Now that buyers can easily access information right from their pockets, it is essential that the dealer body is as well versed as the shoppers in order to provide consistent information both online and in the dealership."
What does this mean for auto dealers? Keep your website consistent with your in-store sales process. A customer should receive a uniform message regardless of where he/she goes to shop. This trend of interconnected virtual/physical shopping is only going to rise. The J.D. Power study reports that digital automotive research continues to have the most impact on brand and model selection. Remember - your website can have more of an impact than price or your sales staff!