During this Zero Moment of Truth age of digital marketing, a dealership’s online inventory has become their digital showroom. Just like your lot and your showroom are properly merchandised, your website needs to be, too. Yes, that’s right, I’m suggesting that you think about merchandising when looking at your website.
Look at your dealership’s main website from a potential customer’s perspective. How many clicks does it take for them to reach your inventory? When they get there, is it easy for them to search by make, model, year, vehicle type and color? What about the photos, are they large enough to see? Clear? Available for all models?
Merchandising is present beyond your inventory. Although traditionally “merchandising” is a term only referring to tangible goods, the general concept still applies here. Ask yourself, how are you presenting your goods and services on your website? Do you have model specific pages? Service pages? Do you offer special packages or discounts that are being highlighted? Loyalty clubs?
I suggest doing a little QA of your website and contacting your digital marketing representative or website platform to see if you can make some changes to ensure that your products and services are properly merchandised for the user.
Here’s where I suggest you start your QA:
- How long does it take the average user to find your inventory?
- How long does it take to find the specials page? Are there up-to-date specials present?
- How customizable is your inventory search?
- Are your current sales, promotions and special packages obvious to the user?
Taking it a step further
As I mentioned above, merchandising in this sense is about more than just your inventory. I believe that it’s important that you merchandise your people. No they are not goods that are for sale, but they are certainly a big part of what you should be selling. You should be thinking about how you can set your dealership apart from your competition. What makes doing business with you better and more favorable than with your competitors? Your knowledgeable, friendly staff who have received 5 star Google reviews? Your expert sales team who has filmed service and walk-around videos? Make it known! Show off your sales team and your service technicians. Make information about your people easy to find, fun to read, and confidence inducing.
Here are a few suggestions:
- Staff pages that highlight not just a photo and title, but a short bio.
- Videos! Service tips, walk-around and customer testimonials
- Community involvement pages that show your participation in events and sponsorship