Welcome to NCM's Up to Speed Blog
Welcome to NCM's Up to Speed Blog

How Well Do You Understand the Internet Process in Your Dealership?

Mark Shackelford
Written By: Mark Shackelford
Posted on August 06, 2015

As e-commerce continues to play a more significant role in your dealership’s operations, how well do you understand the tools your potential clients are using in the purchase of, and subsequent maintenance for, their new or pre-owned vehicles?

More and more information tells us that your customers have already moved towards buying and paying online. Today's, and more importantly, tomorrow’s millennial consumers are sourcing their purchases via the Internet where products are now shipped directly to their homes. These transactions are mostly generated as a result of reviews found online or through a Google search where reviews are part of the results.

What if, after doing an Internet survey of more than 200 dealership customers, I was to inform you that over 50 percent of the customers who shopped on the Internet, the dealership did not ask the online consumer for an appointment, and over 60 percent of the shoppers did not even receive a price! Are you shaking your head in disbelief, or is this what customers are experiencing with your dealership, too?

Simply put, there are high-value customers out there looking on the Internet for products and services and they are willing to use your services, even if you’re not the cheapest price in the marketplace. That’s right … the lowest price doesn’t always get the deal. What these millennial customers are looking for is engagement with your business!

Your presence on the web is vital to that engagement (as well as to your future success in the automotive industry). Your image and reputation are a big part of that engagement strategy; so, too, is your ability to be found by the shoppers you most want to attract.

What is your marketing strategy relative to the markets around you?

Some consumers shop online within a 20-30 mile radius while others are going out as far as 500-1,000 miles, depending on what they are looking for. Focusing on certain geographical areas for targeting your message and directing your marketing, such as Equity Alerts, have been found by many dealers in NCM 20 Groups to be very successful and quite possibly the key to your continued and future success!

Although buying third party leads may have resulted in delivering a vehicle to a consumer, many of NCM’s 20 Group member dealers are finding that by analyzing Google Analytics and having the right SEO (Search Engine Optimization), SRP (Search Results Page), and VDP (Vehicle Display Page) plan for their websites, they are able to drive more organic searches, thus minimizing or even eliminating the need to buy these types of leads.

Most of you have probably figured out that these leads are in your market already, or in your current database. Doing a better job of mining your own customer database, both in sales and service, will yield many opportunities in those departments, and the Internet can and will play an important role in helping you accomplish that.

As business owners, we need to fine-tune our people and processes to ensure we are giving the consumers what they’re looking for. Make sure your e-commerce strategy is incorporating those Internet management best practices that will drive the engagement your online customers want ... and your dealership needs!

Redefine your digital marketing strategy by attending the NCM Institute's Mastering Digital Marketing and Internet/BDC Operations Management courses. Or, join Mark or any of our other industry experts in a 20 Group.

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