CommentaryJan 29th, 2020

Stand Out From the Competition: Let’s Find Your Differentiator


Welcome to Boston. There are five Dunkin’ Donuts within a quarter of a mile from my office. I’ve selected my Dunkin’ of choice based on strict criteria of pricing, the quality of the coffee, online reviews, and the availability to order online so I can simply walk in and have my coffee ready and waiting. I’ve tried new locations from time to time when online ordering is down or I’m attending an offsite meeting. And while there are other coffee shops like Starbucks, Peet’s, or Caffe Nero, I’m not interested in those.

Coffee shop franchises and new car franchises are similar in that both offer the consumer similar products and services but each location has something unique. It’s that distinction that makes a dealership stand out from the sea of sameness. But what do I mean when I say “unique?” When reviewing a dealership website during a DealerScience installation, we typically ask management why someone would buy a car from them over their competition. Very quickly, they can recite a list of reasons. Our next step is to look for where that information lives on their website and if those pages are the ones that customers are visiting. It’s surprising how often the unique values live on the least visited pages of a dealership website. Check your website stats: I bet your About Us page is not a high traffic page on your website. And if you look at the best digital retailing companies outside of automotive, their value lives front and center in the shopping experience. I’ve never been to Amazon’s About Us page but I know what it means to purchase a product with an Amazon Prime badge while shopping.

Here’s a real life example. Last week, I was visiting Fletcher Jones and I ran them through a similar exercise. I asked “What makes you unique? What makes you stand out from your local competitors?” They offered up a great list and then we looked at their website analytics to find that one of their top search queries was “Fletcher Jones car wash hours.” When I asked them what that meant, they shared that anyone who purchases a vehicle from Fletcher Jones gets free car washes for the life of the vehicle. We had found it: the perfect differentiator in their market. They’re now planning to add the information about the free car washes for life to their SRP, the most visited page of their website.

Many dealers recognize the value of highlighting what separates them. Some of the most progressive dealerships have made their differentiator their brand, enabling them to obviously stand out from their competition. Schomp Automotive prominently displays its slogan -- One Price. One Person. One Hour. slogan -- on their websites. Their intention in doing this is to demonstrate their commitment to customers to be a transparent, straightforward, and timely dealership experience. Del Grande dealer group offers shoppers their No Brainer Price and No Brainer Guarantee, emphasizing transparent, validated pricing, a return policy, and a vehicle inspection and warranty. Even if your differentiator isn’t your slogan, you can still highlight why a customer should buy from your dealership with badges highlighting how many years of included service, new vehicle warranties, upfront pricing, home delivery, no-hassle returns, 30-day exchange policies, and more.

Are you ready to stand out from your competition with a few simple website updates? Here’s a quick exercise to help you hone in on what makes you unique:

  1. Make a list of your own values.
  2. Survey new and existing customers to see whether they know about them.
  3. Check your website’s Google Analytics and ensure that these benefits are listed on your highest trafficked pages.
  4. Check third party listing sites like TrueCar and search engines to ensure that your pages show your brand and differentiating values in a clear and concise way.

Want to chat through what you find? Reach out! I would be happy to discuss it over a cup of coffee... as long as it’s Dunkin’ Donuts.

Authored by

Andrew Gordon

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