If They View It, They Will Come

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Using VIN Deeplinking™ from LotLinx to Drive In-Market Shoppers to Your Dealership

Not long ago, when someone was in the market for a new car their first step was often a trip to the dealership, but that’s not the way it works anymore. Now, the game has completely changed; the vast majority of car buyers start their search online.

For most vehicle buyers the research starts with search sites (e.g. Google or Yahoo) and the manufacturers’ websites where they do general research to find a car that fits their needs. Once they’ve narrowed their choices down, they will often go to sites such as Edmunds.com and ConsumerReports.org to research about specific models. Then, once they have decided on a specific vehicle they want, most of them visit “shopping search” sites like Yahoo!, AOL, and AutoTrader.com to search for actual inventory, which statistics shows is the last step for buyers before they contact a dealership and make a purchase.

This shift in buyer-behavior benefits websites like Cars.com and AutoTrader.com, but there are roadblocks for consumers and dealers alike. Potential customers can’t get access to the vehicles that interest them without filling out a lead form and submit their information, possibly multiple times, and no buyer wants to do that. For dealers, the problem is even worse: instead of sending a potential customer, who is at the end of the sales funnel and looking at your inventory, to the Vehicle Details Page (VDP) of the car they’re interested in on the dealership’s website where the customer can be served by the actual dealership, they’re sent to a form (which they may or may not fill out) and then the dealership has to pay (a lot) to have these leads sent to them.

Research from Cobalt (Cobalt Business Intelligence’s VDP Study, 2012) shows that VDP views trounce all other behavioral metrics in identifying the very lowest-funnel shoppers and a looming sale. So how do you get these low-funnel shoppers to your VDP pages? You need to start exploring marketing channels that enable deep-linking directly to your site’s VDP pages. This means looking beyond the classified powerhouses, like AutoTrader and Cars.com, and even auto research search sites like Kelly Blue Book and Edmunds. The problem with these sites is they continue to put a lead form between the consumer and dealer, which we know isn’t how consumers want to shop.

Instead, look closely at the opportunities on the other vertical search site (which there are more than 135 of). These sites can enable deep linking to your VDP pages and, perhaps surprising to most dealers, represent nearly 80% of all car inventory searches.

Imagine if there was a cost-effective way to let buyers go straight from searching vehicles to the VDPs on your website. A tool like that would not only let you better track where you leads come from, but also give you more control in the customer relationship as well as loosen the hold of third-party sites. Fortunately, LotLinx has created the auto industry’s first VIN Deeplinking™ technology platform to guide buyers from inventory sites to your VDPs and ultimately your showroom.

The LotLinx Vehicle Display Network, using its VIN Deeplinking™ technology, deep links consumers shopping on over 135 popular yet often overlooked vertical automotive search sites directly to a dealership’s vehicle display page (VDP) views—it is the first ever VIN-specific inventory advertising technology that leverages research proving that VDP views are the most significant metric for selling a car.

The LotLinx Vehicle Display Network is a first-of-its-kind ad serving platform that takes advantage of this under-utilized metric, because it:

  • Indexes—LotLinx technology instantly indexes a dealership’s live, on-lot inventory, creating a fully searchable record optimized for integration into multiple independent search platforms.
  • Links—LotLinx serves the live inventory continuously to over 135 auto search platforms.
  • Optimizes—Through LotLinx, a dealer’s live listings appear in top results whenever the vehicle matches a buyer’s search criteria.
  • Connects—LotLinx search results are linked directly to a dealer’s VDPs, on the dealership website, allowing buyers to bypass the lead-form and connect directly.

Research shows that consumers who visit your VDPs are more likely to buy a car from you, but LotLinx technology not only increases sales by connecting more consumers to your VDPs, it also shortens the time your vehicles spend on the lot. In fact the latest data shows that incremental LotLinx VDP views increase sales velocity up to 79%, cutting days on lot by an average of 46 days.

On average a vehicle shopper spends 38 hours researching their purchase, but only 1.3 lot visits before they buy a vehicle and for 69% of new car shoppers and 67% of used car shoppers walking on the lot is their first contact with the dealership. For the vast majority of shoppers the last step before contacting a dealership or visiting their lot is an inventory search, literally following a specific VIN to the dealership they will buy from. After all, why visit the lot if the vehicle you’re interested in isn’t there. This is the ZMOT (Zero Moment Of Truth), the moment when their interest is peaked and the customer is primed for engagement with the dealer. And there is no better way to engage the customer than the right car, in-stock, and available.

When you have the right car, in-stock, and available it delivers the quality interactions that come, in-house, directly from your VDPs and that’s the advantage of LotLinx. Their patent pending technology serves your inventory into top results on the sites buyers shop most often and cuts out the third-party lead aggregators, allowing buyers to click directly to your VDPs and skip the forms. It’s simply better traffic delivered with higher relevance and interest, and it produces more high quality interactions and conversions than any other source of paid traffic. Period.

To learn more about LotLinx or request a demo visit www.LotLinx.com.

Michael Bowen


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