Try Buying a Car from Yourself

online shopping diagram

If you haven’t done this before, I urge you to take a few minutes and try it: Be a customer searching for a vehicle. Search for the same brand vehicle you sell at your dealership, but try to forget everything you know about the inner workings of a car dealership.

This will be hard for you to do, because you know where the buttons are on your website, how the dealership prices cars, etc. Try it anyway. Start on your computer at your Google page, or whatever search engine you usually use. Now think about your line of vehicles. For the sake of this example, I am going to say you are a Chevy dealer and you going to shop for a new Chevy Camaro.

Now think like a consumer. If you wanted a Camaro you might search something like “best price on Chevy Camaro” or “new Chevy Camaro Chicago (your town).” Once the results come back, see where they take you when you click on some of the ads on the first page of search results. Is your dealership coming up? If not, what is the experience like when you click the other ads? Follow through the sites like you are a buyer and see who would probably end up winning your business. Pay attention when you are stumped on where to go when you land on a site. Is it easy to get to the part where you are ready to buy the vehicle? Is your dealership ever coming up from this search. Who is coming up and why? How do you need to change things so your dealership gets into the conversation?

Now go to your dealership’s site and pretend you don’t know anything about your site. Is it easy for a visitor looking to buy a Chevy Camaro to find what they want? Can you find the color and equipment you want? On the other, competing sites, was it easier to get to the Camaro you want? How about price? If you were a consumer, would you have purchased from your own dealership, or the other guy? What about the final price? Who had a better price? What about the trade-in you have? Is it easier to understand the trade-in situation at your site, or your competitor’s site?

At the end of this process, what changes would you make to the process you just experienced? Be honest. Is your dealership’s internet process and site running the way you want it to? Did your site make an attempt to collect your information? Did one of your competitors do a better job of selling you? It’s important for you to try on the consumer’s shoes so you can see what they see. You’ve seen it all from the inside, now it’s time to look at it from the outside.

Michael Bowen


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