It’s no secret that the Internet plays a pivotal role in RV purchases, but here’s something you may not know: In a recent RV Trader survey of 2,100 RV consumers, online research edged out RV dealers by 6 percent as a top resource for RV information. That means your website is as important as your showroom in bringing customers in the door.
In fact, 88 percent of buyers report that the design and functionality of your website impacts their overall perception of your dealership. And with buyers coming into the dealership later in the sales funnel –walking onto your lot when they’re nearly ready to buy – your website is the way you can hook them. It’s a way to highlight your unique value proposition.
So, how do you do that?
Here are the five techniques to get the most out of your dealership’s website:
1. Make it mobile
About 70 percent of buyers say it’s important that your website works on a mobile device. They want the same access to information and easy online browsing whether they’re searching on their computer, tablet or smartphone. Work with a website developer who uses responsive design to ensure that content is displayed correctly for all device formats based on the source of the search request, so you don’t lose a customer because your site isn’t mobile-friendly.
2. Provide complete listings
Many dealers believe that withholding information from an online listing increases the likelihood that a buyer will call.
That’s simply not true.
Eighty-three percent of buyers in RV Trader’s surveys say they won’t even click on a listing with no price. The few who do contact a dealer to ask about price or other missing information are still in research mode. In addition, having to do extra legwork to find the details they need may color their impression of your dealership in the long run.
3. Make every page count
While 77 percent of buyers report that your vehicle detail pages are most important, it’s also essential to spend time on each page of your site. Have an awesome service department? Tell them about it. Is being a family-run business part of your value proposition? Tell buyers why it matters.
Anything you would tell a buyer in person, should be something you call out on your site. Let them get to know you through your website.
4. Offer text and chat contact options
Text and chat now outstrip phone and email as the preferred methods of communication for many consumers. Adding text and chat functions to the listings on your website can help increase inquiries from serious prospects who would be unlikely to contact you any other way. Managed chat services can relieve the burden on your staff by providing 24/7 chat coverage.
5. Real-time inventory updates
It’s frustrating for buyers to inquire about a unit that has already been sold. Adopting a dealer management system (DMS) that can leverage third-party feeds to update your inventory in real-time helps avoid this problem. By ensuring that all units on your website are still available, you reduce the risk of losing a lead you can’t pivot to a similar unit on your lot.
Remember: Your website is the face of your dealership. It’s likely the first place a buyer will interact with your business. A professional, up-to-date, mobile-friendly website with easy access to your sales team makes the difference between losing a lead and closing a sale. It’s your “other” dealership, and it deserves as much attention as the brick-and-mortar version.
BIO: Phillip Billups is the VP of consumer product of Trader Interactive. RV Trader is an industry-leading marketplace for buying and selling RVs with more than 2.5 million unique monthly visitors. Its sister company, RV Web Services, is a provider of online marketing tools designed to help RV dealers build strong businesses, including dealer website development services, search engine marketing, social media management and more.