How can car dealers maximise their digital footprint?

Time 8:06 am, April 20, 2020

In this special advice feature, Close Brothers Motor Finance sales director Sean Kemple gives dealers tips on strengthening their digital presence to ensure customers who are currently at home in lockdown still receive a high level of personal service 

Bring your forecourt to customers’ homes
Although people value dealers’ insight and expertise on the forecourt, they also spend more time at home looking at new vehicles – a trend that’s accelerated in the current environment.

Dealers can therefore use their online footprint – via their website and social media channels – to reach a huge amount of people that wouldn’t have otherwise visited a dealership. Offering an accessible and up-to-date digital forecourt should lead to more custom down the line.

Highlight dealer insight
What starts for customers as research into price and model often spirals into a detailed and deep dive, examining finance options, extras, mileage and supply alternatives. It’s also more and more about value for money, rather than price alone, and dealers can still decipher it all via the virtual world.

They need to use their website and social channels more than ever now to highlight their knowledge. Tips, comments, guides and advice are great ways to engage with current and future customers.

Tune into social
With increasing numbers of people using social media to engage with businesses, having a presence on those channels can help get more eyes on your forecourt. But make sure your presence is consistent. If you merely dabble, it won’t work for you – but if it’s used properly, you can see a huge return.

Ideally, put a team member in charge of your social media strategy. Another benefit of social media is that you can advertise to specific geographical areas and target audiences with certain stock.

Embrace reviews
Reviews are important – both good and bad. Feedback can be shared directly with you via a webform or email address, and publicly via social media, review websites and forums.

The thought of reviews, particularly the public ones, might fill you with dread but they can be hugely powerful – especially if they are positive. It’s important to remember that if you do get a negative review you reply in a measured, courteous way and do your best to rectify the matter as soon as possible.

Capitalise on the technological capabilities
Many dealers are using websites and social channels to reach customers, but they can go further by guiding potential purchases to the next stage of the car buying process.

As an example, our dealer partners use the Showroom proposal platform, which works with a dealer’s website and helps their customers choose the perfect vehicle and best finance option.

Customers can also complete an online finance application form and submit it to the dealer. This type of software is another way of bringing the personal in-showroom car buying experience into the online world.

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Car Dealer has been covering the motor trade since 2008 as both a print and digital publication. In 2020 the title went fully digital and now provides daily motoring updates on this website for the car industry. A digital magazine is published once a month.

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