New research on online car shoppers released on Tuesday shows that car buyers are looking to engage with sales reps on dealership websites. In a new book from marketing technology provider PERQ — “Engage: No More Lead Traps! How to Improve the Online Experience to Increase Sales” — the company contends car buyers expect what they call “a guided sales experience” directly on the dealership site.
PERQ puts it like this: “When a shopper goes through multiple interactive online experiences, he/she is three times as likely to purchase as someone who fills out just one static lead form,” according to research from its recently released book.
Further, when users are only offered a static form, research from PERQ showed those same shoppers exiting the dealer website as soon as 40 seconds after completing the form.
“Dealership websites should not be simple lead traps,” said Scott Hill, executive chairman and co-founder of PERQ, who co-authored the book.
“And if your website is built that way, you’re losing out. Car buyers actually want to engage on dealer websites because that’s where the transaction gets complicated, and its where they have the questions that will actually matter to the sale. And they want answers to their questions without being forced to speak to a salesperson,” he continued.
PERQ contends this process acts as an online variant of what a salesperson does in a showroom. Ultimately, it seems engagement and website personalization can potentially improve close rates for in-market shoppers.
“Most dealers would never allow their showroom experience to be like the website experience,” said Russ Chandler, co-author and product marketing manager at PERQ. “Their expectation is that the sales team will engage, inform and provide a critical value to the car shopper. It’s the same online, except your website is doing the initial relationship-building. Our data shows that customers expect that kind of approach at the online retail level. It’s not about lead traps. It’s about selling cars and building customer loyalty.”