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Online Shopper

Online Shopper

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Published by: Schradez on Jul 22, 2010
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Dealertalk: How to win the mind and heart of the online shopper

Wednesday, 14 July 2010 10:33 | Written by Peter Aitken | | |

The online shopper! Ten years ago most of us only had a very vague idea of what constituted an online shopping experience. We may well have thought at the time this was a very risky process and confined to only those foolhardy enough to trust their credit card information to that big black hole within the World Wide Web. Somewhat different today! With little hesitation we will book and pay for airline travel, accommodation around all corners of the globe and purchase high priced consumer durables such as residential property and motor vehicles, often sight unseen. Online shopper practices and preferences continue tomature at almost exponential pace. No longer do they limit their enquiries to a number of competing websites for a selected product or service, they will now often secure advice from internet listed experts in a particular product or service sector. Alternatively, they may drill through customer feedback ratings to secure confidence from the experience of other purchasers. In a very short space of time they have sufficient information to form a pretty thorough arms length view of the seller or provider of services. If they do not like what they read then they simply move on until they find a seller or provider that ticks all their selection boxes. In the past two years the social media have evolved to offer yet another vital medium whereby the online shopper is able to link with either or all of their Linked In/Facebook/Twitter communities to gain feedback from their followers about a certain product or service they intend to purchase. They are also increasing likely to use these communities to secure feed back about the business ethics of an individual or business seller. Even the customer feedback ratings of sellers listing with Trade Me can be regarded as a social media collective view. Online shoppers typically have two questions they want answers for: (1) Do you have what I am looking for? (2) How much is it? If a dealership is regularly able to develop and communicate compelling reasons for an online shopper to place an enquiry for their used car over a competitor used vehicle, then the odds increase for the dealership to gain appointments and in turn covert these leads into sales.

With online shoppers the dealer salespeople who handle the internet enquiry need to develop their s ills in how to influence the sale There is a need to influence the shopper s perceptions of the dealership as a great place to do business In essence there is a requirement to impart this unseen but quite transparent aura of trust between dealership and the online shopper. How you do that on a consistent basis for each and every online shopper enquiry is dependent on a well thought out online consistent communication and custom er handling process. 

In the very early stages of Marketing 101 there is an oft quoted reference to the phrase You are what you appear to be . 

We can readily recognise this marketing comparison in a bricks and mortar e ample with two competing dealerships closely located to each other in the same street. It is as easy for any online shopper to carry out this same marketing 101 evaluation of two competing dealership online offerings when they land on your website front page. So what are some of the key steps you can take to evolve your online presence project this magical persona of trust and confidence win the mind and heart of the o line shopper and most importantly increase enquiry and convert a high percentage of that enquiry into sales 

The following points set out a number of key steps you can take

Ensure your dealer website front (landing) page can be speed read with ease Your used stock page location is bold and readably identifiable as this is your primary source of internet sales gross profit All photographs on both your dealer website and those listed with Trade Me or other internet third party listing groups are identical, ideally up to 20 shots If you have the courage to video then certainly try your hand at this medium as a moving 360 degree panorama has the ability to add life to the sale process All photographs should be taken in identical sequence for all vehicles All e ternal shots are taken against a common well-lit non-reflective background, often a wall in your workshop will suffice. I f you need help in setting up the ideal photograph location and lighting in the dealership take advice from a professional photographer Describe all vehicles e tensively, do not skimp on detail. If you have a staff member capable of painting a picture through the skillful application of words then engage that person. 

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Remember you need to capture both the mind and heart of the online shopper - they are thirsty for detail Tell a story and paint a picture of the proven track record of the dealership with refer ence to recent franchise awards and community sporting involvement. Remember you seek to impart to the shopper valid reasons why they should consider your dealership as the best with which to do business. Importantly, achieve this position with a fair deg ree of humility as this is not a beating the chest forum Put in place an immediate automated email response thanking the online shopper for their enquiry and summarily covering an overview of the key dealership benefits or unique selling propositions Do not reference price in the automated response but importantly set the scene for further communication. There are groups out there who can advise you on a professional sequence of automated and personal responses over a defined period The follow up process should be planned and created for at least a 90day well thought out sequence of responses, you may ask why as long as 90 days Research in the US market has shown the days to purchase of a typical online shopper spread is

y y

45% of online shoppers that eve ntually buy will do so 11 -90 days after the lead is submitted 32% e tend beyond 90days

The question to be asked is How many dealership follow up programs e tend beyond 30 days Percentage of Purchasers Day 1-10 24.0% Day 11-20 11.0 Day 21-30 8.0 Day 31-60 15.0 Day 61-90 10.0 Over 90 32.0
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Personal follow up responses should come from a member of the sales team, either a dedicated internet sales person(s) or from a range of salespeople While individual responses can portray an individual s typ ical communication style it is important their responses follow an identical step by step process. Again there are groups who specialise in this process who can assist the dealership set these up There are also software providers who can add another dimensions for your initial email response, that of a voice over commentary from your salesperson linked to a moving photograph storyboard of the vehicle the shopper has enquired about - smart technology that adds a very personal dimension to the response You could also send a 360 degree YouTube video of the vehicle in question, this e change again is likely to impress the shopper of your dealership s ability to add that personal dimension and create a wow response Should you wish to understand more about how you can effectively use Facebook in your business then key into www.HotSpot.com and you can download a 22 page users guide white paper free of charge.

Best regards Peter Aitken www.clearedgenet.com

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