When General Motors first rolled out their “Shop-Click-Drive” online portal for car purchases in 2013, only a few dealerships were enrolled in the pilot program. As of the end of 2014, more than a third of GM dealerships across the country have added “Shop-Click-Drive” to their websites, resulting in sales of more than 13,000 new vehicles.
The evidence is pretty clear that at least amongst certain car buyers—younger buyers of the “Millennial” generation, specifically—offering more extensive car-buying options online is a great way to bring your numbers up. But these figures don’t really tell the full story, especially in light of other research that suggests the majority of today’s (and tomorrow’s) car buyers still want an in-person purchasing experience. Furthermore, GM hasn’t delved too deeply into how many website visitors try “Shop-Click-Drive” and don’t end up purchasing a vehicle through the portal, and insights into how consumers interact with the portal are also sorely lacking.
Here’s what we really know from “Shop-Click-Drive”‘s success:
This one’s sort of a “no-duh” finding, but it’s still important to highlight. There is a substantial and growing number of car buyers who go online to conduct research into their cars, to start shopping for specific vehicles at local dealerships, and—in smaller numbers—who will even try to close sales online when given the opportunity. Your dealership’s website should provide good information about your cars and an accessible portable to your sales team to capitalize on this trend.
“Shop-Click-Drive” can be used to browse cars and learn more about them, and to schedule test drives and contact sales professionals—users can get a lot of value from the system without actually purchasing their car online. When it comes to actually closing the deal, younger drivers are far more likely to pull the trigger—or click the button—online than their older counterparts. These younger drivers tend to go for cheaper cars, too, and that should affect your dealership’s online marketing strategy.
13,000 vehicles sold entirely online is worth noting, but it’s a drop in the bucket of the 2.4 million vehicles GM dealerships sold over the same period. While most of today’s car sales start online or include abundant Internet research, the overwhelming majority of them still end with an in-person signing. People want to be able to view, research, and compare cars online, but most still want to head to the dealership to finish the deal. A good online portal is a great way to attract customers, but isn’t the best place to convert those leads to sales.
Whether you sell GM makes and models or not, you don’t need a full-service portal like “Shop-Click-Drive” to make the most of your online marketing presence. Solid information delivered in a way car buyers want will help boost your dealership’s Internet profile and attract more leads, giving your sales team more opportunities to do what they do best: meet people and sell cars. Contact Dealer Video Showroom to see how you can easily and affordably enhance your web offerings to dramatically increase sales volume.