Let’s take a little trip back in time. The year was 2012, and as a part of our dealership’s setup at a local summer festival, we were going to give away the hot, new iPad2 to generate more hand-raiser leads than ever using a QR Code.
What actually happened though was we spent way too much time educating people on what that giant, blocky black and white code on the sign was and the app they needed to install on their phone to scan it.
It was like working at the Apple Genius Bar…but only in 90 degree heat…and with people who didn’t really want to be there.
It turned out that people really only wanted to enter to win the iPad if they could do so quickly and easily. Like, you know…by writing their name, email address, and phone number on a little slip of paper and then jamming it into a cardboard box.
No one wanted to download a special app (over a 3G cellular network) just to scan a weird looking code thingy and then have to type their name, email address, and phone number on a tiny virtual keyboard. Who had time for that?!
Looking back on it all these years later, I think it’s pretty clear why this promo didn’t work as intended:
The smartphone was barely 5 years old, and only 45% of adults actually owned one.
Those who had a smartphone saw it as device of utility — not necessity.
There was too much friction in the digital experience compared to the traditional one.
So after that weekend long experience of #qrcodefail, my main takeaway was utilizing QR Codes in your digital marketing strategy may have been the right idea, but it was definitely the wrong time.
THAT WAS THEN, THIS IS NOW
Fast forward to today and things are different now, aren’t they? 94% percent of adults between the ages of 18-49 now own a smartphone. In just a few short years our phones have become physical extensions of our bodies that we can’t live without.
Ten years ago, if I realized that I left the house without my phone, I would have been like “oh well, whatever”. If that were to happen today? Yeah…I’d freak out, and I’m guessing you would too.
So say what you want about the early days of QR Codes, but you can’t deny the fact that they laid the groundwork for some of the tech that’s been implemented inside of today’s most popular apps.
Scanning a digital code with our phone is now near ubiquitous thanks to apps like SnapChat and Spotify where adding a friend or loading up a shared playlist is as simple as pointing your phone at a code.
Then there’s the game changing fact that your phone’s naitive camera app can now instantly recognize a QR Code and prompt you to visit the encoded destination all on its own.
Also, like many other aspects of our lives, COVID-19 accelerated the adoption of technology and irrevocably changed consumer behavior. Today, it’s hard to go somewhere and not see a QR Code — they’re everywhere. From Home Depot to Taco Bell, businesses big and small are using QR Codes to direct people to schedule an appointment, order online, download an app, and so much more.
And you know something has gone mainstream when you see it on a Super Bowl commercial. Coinbase spent $13 million dollars on a 60 second spot that showed nothing more than a QR Code sailing across the screen. Not talking cats. Not expensive celebrities. Just a colorful, blocky code paying homage to the classic DVD screensaver of yesteryear.
That QR Code alone drove over 20 million users to the Coinbase website within that one minute where users were able to claim $15 in free bitcoin for signing up. The traffic and brand awareness benefits alone makes this a #qrcodewin!
Even after all that, if for some reason you still aren’t sold on the viability of QR Codes, then I’ll tell you that ever since version 85 of the Chrome Browser, QR Code generation is a standard feature of the world’s most popular web browser. That means anyone can quickly create a QR Code out of anything that’s loaded up in Chrome with just a couple of clicks or taps.
TIPS FOR USING QR CODES IN THE DEALERSHIP
If you’re ready to revisit the idea of using QR Codes at your dealership, I’ve put together a few creative ways that you can incorporate them into your shopping experience and marketing materials to drive engagement with your customers.
PROVIDE A MORE ENGAGING EXPERIENCE IN THE SHOWROOM
You could create and print QR Codes to place on the vehicles in your showroom so that when scanned would do any number of things, like open a:
Digital brochure for that vehicle
Video review or walkaround of that model
Video highlighting an F&I product such as Appearance Protection
Model landing page on your website
VDP for that specific vehicle
VRP with available inventory for that model
VIRTUALLY CONNECT ON THE LOT
With some folks being more weary of being inside a building for an extended period of time, shoppers might feel more comfortable wandering your lot, especially after hours and on weekends.
Just because these folks are out there alone, that doesn’t mean you can’t virtually be there to assist them. You could certainly use the showroom QR Codes above on the vehicles on your lot — or you could take it up a notch and provide the casual tire-kicker with an even better experience by providing a(n):
Video from your owner or GM welcoming them to your dealership and explaining your health and safety protocols
Easy way to connect with someone inside the dealership via chat
Instant trade-in evaluation experience powered by Conversations™
While we all understand the importance of reviews and the role they play in helping other shoppers choose to work with your dealership over your competition, you may not realize how review recency plays a factor in calculating your overall review score.
The short version is that as reviews age, they become less relevant to shoppers. So it’s not how many total reviews you have that matters most — it’s how often you’re getting reviews. Printing and placing review reminders on the desks of your salespeople and finance managers is an easy way to utilize QR Codes that lead to the specific, positive outcome of increasing your review velocity.
Now, it’s cool if you want to create a QR Code that will take someone directly to Google or DealerRater to leave their review. But it’s always good to have an even distribution of reviews on all the various platform. So a better idea would be to actually create a landing page that contains links to all the platforms where you have a review presence on your website. Then you can use that url to power your QR Code so that when scanned, people can then select their favorite review platform such as Google, Facebook, DealerRater, Cars.com or Yelp.
IN YOUR MARKETING
While QR Codes can definitely play a role in keeping your in-store customers engaged, you can also incorporate them into your traditional marketing channels to drive digital engagement.
For example, if you’re sending a direct mail piece with service coupons to your customers, include a QR Code that links to your service scheduler to easily generate appointments.
For any print advertising you run with new and pre-owned vehicles, include a QR Code that’ll allow someone to get an Instant Trade-In Evaluation via Conversations™, which will also generate a high quality lead for your team to follow up with.
Take it a step further and allow your salespeople to include a QR Code on their business cards that would link to their personal profile page on DealerRater that highlights their personal reviews.
IN YOUR COMMUNITY
And of course you can always use QR Codes just like we did back in the day in your grassroots marketing to drive sign ups for a giveaway or to create brand awareness in your community. The best part is you don’t need to go all Coinbase and spend $13 million to do it!
Think about this idea; do you sponsor any community events? I’m willing to bet you sponsor your local 4th of July fireworks, the high school football team, and/or maybe even a farmer’s market, right?
How about using a QR code on your signage or handouts for a free carwash for everyone at the event? Or maybe 10% off their first oil change or service appointment?
Today all the barriers have been removed, and using a QR Code in your grassroots marketing efforts is a great way to get new folks engaged with your dealership while also showcasing all the good you do within your community.
BONUS #PROTIP: TRACK WITH UTM CODES
Since you can take any text string and turn it into a QR Code, that means you can also incorporate UTM Codes for those times when you want to take a visitor to a landing page on your website. That’s one sure way to track how often your QR Codes are being scanned and which experiences your customers are finding to be the most “scan worthy”.
We’re always up for talking about creative ways to help our clients upgrade their digital marketing game. Want to talk about QR Codes or any other digital marketing strategies and tactics? Just give us a shout!
You may have heard Google is notoriously cagey when it comes to naming each of their 200+ search engine ranking factors and how much weight each carries in the search algorithm — but you don’t need to be an SEO expert to know that a search engine can’t rank what it can’t find.
In this article, I’ll be breaking down backlinks to help you understand the role they play in a modern search engine optimization strategy, and the best practices for growing your website’s backlink profile.
But before I get too deep into it, let me just state for the record that even though they’re important, the total number of backlinks that a domain or webpage has does not equal an automatic “win” button for SEO.
John Mueller of Google has confirmed this to be true many times over.
So do you want the truth about backlinks for SEO?
The truth is — it’s not the quantity of backlinks you have pointing to your website, it’s the quality of a backlink that matters most. One backlink from a relevant and reputable website will be way more beneficial for your organic web presence than a couple dozen backlinks from sketchy websites no one has ever heard of.
Why? Because Google knows the difference between good and bad backlinks. Your website will get the appropriate amount of “link juice” for the good ones, and no benefit at all from the bad ones.
So if you’re talking to an SEO provider, and they’re promising they can deliver an absurd number backlinks, then my personal recommendation is to not even engage in that conversation because it isn’t going to be worth your time or money.
Real Backlinks, Real Results
While there are shady entire businesses built around chasing after backlinks, quality content should be the foundation of any backlink strategy.
Good content targeted toward searchers’ needs has no trouble earning backlinks on its own. We can prove that to be true as Dealer Inspire SEO clients see a 404% increase in natural backlink acquisition after 24 months of service, which is pretty darn fantastic if you ask me!
Here are just a few examples of how brand name websites have backlinked to content created and published by my fellow Dealer Inspire SEO Strategists:
CAR & DRIVER 🔗 DON JOHNSON MOTORS
Car & Driver’s article breaking down the definition of a “Quad Cab” includes a backlink to a content piece we published for the Don Johnson Automotive Group that explains the difference between quad and crew cabs.
WIKIPEDIA 🔗 MIDDLETOWN HONDA
In this Wikipedia entry covering the history of the Sedan, a content piece our team published for Middletown Honda that explains the difference between a sedan and a coupe is cited as a key reference that informs the article.
I can’t state it loudly enough — these links weren’t bought, traded, or begged for. The respective authors of those articles that included backlinks to our client’s published content did so because they felt those pages were accurate, thorough, and helped provide additional value to their own content.
How Much Should I Focus on Backlinks?
As an SEO Strategist, I get asked a lot of questions about all things SEO, not just questions about backlinks. A bunch of my teammates and I recently held an “ask us anything” style webinar where we answered as many SEO related questions as we could, and I’d definitely recommend you stream the recording on-demand to take an SEO deep dive with us.
That said, a question that wasn’t asked during that webinar, but we still hear quite often, has to do with just how much you should focus on backlinks as a part of your holistic SEO strategy — so I’ll answer it here.
As you read above, quality backlinks that you earn through your content can pay dividends in the organic search results. But also like I mentioned earlier, silver bullets, they are not.
So if you’re just beginning your SEO strategy, or aren’t quite sure how to prioritize your efforts, then there a number of SEO best practices you should look to first. By doing the five things below, you’ll set your platform up for greater success, and get more bang for your SEO buck:
1. Create Quality Content, Regularly
This is the #1 thing. If you don’t have relevant content on your website that helps answer a searchers questions, then all the backlinks in the world won’t matter one bit, as you won’t have any content worth ranking on page one of the SERP in the first place.
2. Create a Healthy Internal Linking Structure
Another thing you can do before you think about backlinks, is to focus on your website’s internal linking structure. Not only do natural links between relevant pages help provide your visitors with additional context and information, but they also act as a map that shows search engines the relationships between all of the published content on your website.
3. Correct Technical Issues
SEO isn’t just keywords and links. There’s an entire discipline known as Technical SEO which is all about optimizing your website so it’s faster and easier for search engines to crawl and understand the content on your website. Identifying and fixing things on your website like broken links (internal or external), missing alt-text from images, and duplicate or missing H1 tags will go a long way to improving the technical health of your website, which in turn can improve your overall organic rankings.
4. Update Meta Descriptions on Valuable Pages
While meta descriptions aren’t SEO ranking factors, they are still important because they’re essentially ad copy used to describe a webpage to users as they scroll through the search results. A worthwhile endeavor is to look for opportunities to re-write the meta descriptions on your valuable pages so they entice searchers to tap or click your link in the SERP over the other available results.
5. Google Business Profile Optimizations
With search results increasingly being driven by personalized factors such as a user’s proximity to a business, having a Local SEO strategy in place is certainly worth more of your attention than gaining a backlink or two. A properly optimized Google Business Profile is the foundation of Local SEO. Proper setup and ongoing maintenance of your GMB listing will help you become a local authority in the eyes of search engines and real people — all while helping your business rise to the top of the results for local searches.
The Backstory on Backlinks
Ok, at this point in time, you may be wondering how we even got here in the first place. Why do backlinks get so much attention, why are they perceived to be so important? In order to understand that, you have to go all the way back to 1997 where you’ll discover that the earliest incarnation of Google’s search engine (fun fact, it was originally called BackRub) relied heavily on links between web pages — aka backlinks — for its web spiders to discover, crawl, and index across the World Wide Web.
When the web was still relatively young, backlinks weren’t just a way for Google’s robots to discover new webpages to add to its index, these backlinks each acted like a vote of confidence for the pages that the referring domains were linking to. The more votes — aka backlinks — a web page received from different domains, the more “popular” it would become in Google’s early algorithm.
This was important because Google set out to disrupt existing search engines like Alta Vista, Yahoo, and Lycos which were quite vulnerable to early Black Hat SEO techniques and would often present a set of top results to users which were nothing more than pop up ad infested web pages, or worse, a computer virus waiting to happen.
The vision for the search engine that became Google was one that would surface only the highest quality content that was most relevant to the user’s search intent, and couldn’t be manipulated by those with less than noble intentions.
By having backlinks be a crucial ranking factor in its algorithm along with content quality, Google’s founders felt that would make its index more useful to searchers of a rapidly expanding web, while also building in a high level of protection against the shifty Black Hat SEO’s of the world.
And for the most part, it worked….until the bad guys found new and creative ways to manipulate backlinks too.
Link farms, link wheels, link exchanges, link networks, link schemes, buying links, guest posting networks, and general link manipulation soon became an underground marketplace where for a few bucks per link, someone, somewhere, would find a way to create dozens or even hundreds of links to your website to give you that “link juice” you needed to hold the #1 position in search for your desired keywords.
So what started out as a pure and simple way to gauge relative popularity between web pages, soon turned into something more sinister.
Fast forward to today, and the A.I. and machine learning that Google now uses in its algorithm is so good, it has become pretty adept at determining which backlinks are natural and should count toward a webpage’s ranking, and which ones are manipulated and should not count even the tiniest bit.
Do Backlinks Still Matter Today?
The fact that Google’s algorithm can quickly and easily determine which backlinks are legit, and which ones aren’t, has many in the search industry musing if the pursuit of backlinks is as critical as it was a decade ago.
Make no mistake, search engines still need to be able to find your content and know whether or not it’s valuable. Backlinks not only help cover those bases, but they can also impact how long SEO takes.
As I mentioned earlier, much like the references on your resume, it’s the quality of your backlinks that matters most — not the quantity. The more authoritative the referring domain linking to yours, the greater the value of their “vote of confidence” in you and your site.
So do backlinks still matter? Yes! While the overall impact of backlinks has changed over time, they do remain an important ranking factor to this day.
Car Dealer SEO Done Right
Implementing a comprehensive SEO Strategy that covers all aspects of your business isn’t something that should be taken lightly. The expert team at Dealer Inspire knows search inside and out, and we’re always up for talking SEO with our car dealer partners. Drop us a line, and let’s talk SEO!
For many of us, the last few months have already changed the way we work forever. For dealers, it’s become clear just how essential digital retailing tools are for adapting to this new, digital-first normal. But tools don’t just do the job by themselves — someone needs to hold the nail and swing the hammer.
Adding the right solution to your website is a great first step, but to truly adapt your business to maximize revenue and scale efficiently you have to fully connect the tool with your marketing and sales strategy.
As so many dealers across the country unwrap their first digital retailing tools and give this online car buying thing a shot, we wanted to put together a starter guide to help you check the most important boxes for maximizing the ROI of yours. Let’s break it down.
ABOUT DEALER INSPIRE (THAT’S US!)
While all of the following tips should apply to any digital retailing solution, I can’t not point out that Dealer Inspire is best equipped to execute on these best practices by being the only website, digital retailing, messaging, connected marketing, and reporting provider — partnering with you to create one seamless online to in-store experience.
Step 1: Clear The Path To Purchase
If you don’t clear the way for the customer journey on your website, the new tool you’re paying for can get lost in the weeds of too many other CTAs — wasting countless opportunities on shoppers who give up trying to find the answers and experience they’re looking for.
Not all buttons have the same value for you or the customer, so funnel your traffic to the buttons that drive the best outcomes. An easy way to start this spring cleaning is by identifying the buttons that are redundant or create dead-ends for the user, including links off-site and lead forms that ask for information but give no immediate answers in return.
A lead from a shopper who quickly filled out an [Unlock Extra Savings] form to see how it affected the price (someone will be in touch to tell them later) is not as valuable as the shopper who clicked [Explore Payment Options] and instantly personalized their payment, valued their trade, saved an account on your website, and started to add accessories and insurance products — so send more shoppers that way.
It’s (understandably) tempting to want to add more paths to generate more leads, and removing buttons can feel like you’re removing opportunities — but the opposite is true. Our dealers who see the most dramatic increases in the volume and quality of their leads are the ones that commit to providing the best shopping experience and then focus their traffic to it.
Having your website and digital retailing provider be one in the same is key so they can seamlessly sync the experience from one tool to the other, and optimize your UX based on performance without any restrictions of you needing to coordinate between vendors.
Step 2: Treat Every Lead Like A Walk-In
This is the biggest step, because leads don’t keep the lights on. For dealers to grow sales (at lower labor and advertising costs) we need to fundamentally shift our thinking around leads as an industry. Now more than ever, we need to view websites as your digital storefront (even your primary storefront), and take the same level of customer service you expect in-store, online.
So, imagine if a customer walked into your physical store interested to browse your inventory and discuss financing — and you gave them a clipboard with a form, asked them to fill it out, and then told them you’d be in touch sometime soon to answer their questions. Letting that shopper walk out of your physical store without trying to help them in the moment would be crazy, and yet hundreds of shoppers are likely having that same exact experience on your website every single day.
Bob in your digital showroom is just as real as he would be in your physical showroom, so you need to engage him just like you would there. That’s why it’s critical to seamlessly pair your digital retailing tool with an advanced messaging platformlike Conversations™ that can simulate your helpful customer service with instant answers, helpful materials (vehicle details, brochures, videos), and live video chat to talk face-to-face and show the customer around the vehicle. Just like you would in-store, you need to be able to sit down with him and talk through the specific financing options he’s looking at and collaborate to close the deal. Basically, you just need the tools to be available to help customers online, the same way you wouldn’t leave your physical dealership completely unstaffed during business hours.
If you don’t catch the online shopper in the moment, you should still treat them like a walk-in. That means not using the old lead form follow-up process. These shoppers have saved and customized specific vehicles and explored payment options, so your follow-up needs to acknowledge that specific progress they made and seamlessly pick-up where they left off — just like they had an appointment with you yesterday and are now back in your showroom. Automated emails and uninformed phone calls will cause a total disconnect in their customer experience — making them feel like they need to start over — so it’s critical for you to treat them like walk-ins you already know.
While it’s worth a whole other blog to talk about, texting is the best way to follow-up with these customers for a personalized experience that actually starts a conversation, because 76% of follow-up phone calls will go unanswered (likely far more now that iPhones block unknown numbers). Your paired messaging platform can make this follow-up process seamless so your team isn’t texting from their personal numbers.
Step 3: Plug In Your Showroom
Now that you’ve set-up the ideal online car buying experience, you need to make sure it doesn’t break when a customer actually walks into your physical store. Just like follow-ups, you need to make sure your dealership and team are greeting these customers as previous walk-ins who have already worked with you.
Like everything else, there’s a technology and a people aspect to perfecting this — but they can both be powerfully simple.
From the people side: all you should need to do is make sure your sales team is familiar with the tool on your website. If a customer walks in and says they’ve nailed down their perfect deal based on their credit, trade, and preferences — and your team doesn’t know they could do that on your website — then you’re setting up some awkward conversations unlikely to sell cars. As long as they know about the tool and can pull up that customer’s progress with it, your team should be in position to have a good day.
From the technology side: you should set-up devices with welcome screens (or even just print signage) that immediately validates to your walk-ins that the progress they made online allows them to ”skip the line”, like a Disney FastPass+. Instead of feeling like they need to re-introduce themselves and start over, they can instantly jump ahead to buying time. This is the kind of experience that customers will write home about, building your review reputation while increasing your close rate.
With our solution, for example, you can accomplish this by simply pulling up your website on any internet-connected device — customers just need to type in their phone number or email address to instantly pull up their personalized Online Shopper™ “Garage” and seamlessly continue their deal. Check it out.
Step 4: Connect Your Marketing
Ok, now that you’ve created an amazing experience for customers online and offline, you need to make sure they know about it. By incorporating “online car buying” throughout you website and marketing messaging you can expect to increase the high-intent traffic you’re driving to your platform.
Landing Page. Every campaign needs to start with a good destination. Add a landing page to show website visitors that your dealership offers online car buying, how they can get started, and most importantly why it makes their shopping experience better.
Website Creative. From homepage sliders and personalizers to VRP banners, make sure your visitors know from the moment they hit your website that they can go the distance online. It could make all the difference between a bounce and a buyer.
Search Advertising. Digital Retailing functions as both a strong USP and a fresh CTA, meaning your PPC strategy can get a boost as well. Update your ad copy to highlight your online experience, add “Buy Online” as a sitelink extension, and create campaigns related keywords.
Email Marketing. Being able to shop online is also a great message to re-engage your existing customers nearing their next vehicle. Once you’ve got your platform rocking, set-up a drip email campaign to drive your customers directly into your buying experience.
Display Advertising. The ability to complete the whole process in your pajamas is going to turn heads today, especially for consumers actively in the process of shopping. Using Cars.com Display gets you in front of local car shoppers as they’re shopping, putting your brand in front of the best audience, at the best time, with the most powerful message.
Video Advertising. With people stuck at home streaming twice as much video*, and you set-up to offer the ideal home car buying experience, it’s the perfect time to capitalize on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and OTT advertising to drive more shoppers to your website and digital retailing tool.
By having all of your technology and marketing managed by one provider you can keep your entire digital presence in sync to maximize conversions and ROI. If one piece is updated before the other, or your website doesn’t fulfill your marketing message, you can create disconnects in the customer journey that will cause them to bounce along the way, which would be a bummer.
Step 5: Grow Your Reputation
Updating your marketing messaging for online car buying will make a big difference, but that message is no longer quite as unique as it was even a few months ago. Every competitor can say they offer online car buying — because they have to right now — even if they just have a lead form button that says [Buy Now]. You need to back up your claims with the experience and your most important proof point: your happy customers.
97% of shoppers use reviews to choose the right local dealership*, and now more than ever, reviews that mention online car buying, home delivery, and general convenience and speed are going to make all the difference. Make sure you’re soliciting feedback on your great customer experience across platforms to grow your most powerful differentiator in the market: your reputation.
*BrightLocal 2019 Local Consumer Review Survey, December 2019
#ProTip DealerRater®’s ReviewBuilder™solution can automatically solicit these reviews from your sold customers and post them across all the platforms that matter.
Step 6: Connect Your DMS
If you follow each of these steps so far, should you expect to see significant results that impact your bottom line? Yeah, I definitely think so — but the only way to know is to actually look at your bottom line. Connect your sales data into your reporting platform to see the sales generated specifically from your digital retailing solution. If you’re not driving real sales from it then there’s something wrong with your tool or your process and you need that reporting to make informed decisions for your business.
Recap: Have A Platform Partner
Bottom line, you can’t add a widget to your website and expect your business to adapt. You need your team using a tool to build a seamless end-to-end experience that drives sales, and the only way to do that is to have a partner that can connect every part of it for you. We built our company and our platform to do exactly that, and we’re here to help. Put us to work.
Dealer Inspire was built on the foundation of providing transparent reporting to our clients so they would have visibility into their marketing performance across all channels and could effectively measure their ROI.
Our recently assembled PRIZM team is tasked with turning those efforts up to 11, by unifying access to reporting from multiple platforms — and more importantly — bringing our clients unprecedented insights into their data from diverse sources.
One of the challenges the PRIZM team wanted to tackle first was quantifying car shopping activity that takes place on Cars.com and showing dealers how it benefits them beyond direct referrals and form fill leads.
Thanks to Roxanne™, our proprietary event tracking technology, we’re able to track users from Cars.com, to a dealership’s Dealer Inspire website, to final sale and quantify the impact it has on a dealership’s business.
With Roxanne™ in place, we analyzed 140 million shoppers on 3,000 Dealer Inspire websites in addition to the 19 million monthly shoppers on Cars.com. The data that we gathered allowed us to extrapolate the probability for a consumer to buy a vehicle who only visited a Dealer Inspire website, compared to that of a “cross shopper”.
Cross Shopper: Someone who visited Cars.com AND a dealership’s Dealer Inspire website.
What the data tells us is that cross shoppers are 4x more likely to buy a car compared to a shopper that only visited a dealer’s website.
Cross-shoppers will also look at 5x more VDPs on a dealer’s website than a non-cross shopper. And lastly, cross shoppers are 40% more likely to return to a dealer’s website.
What’s really powerful about these insights is that it clearly shows how a marketplace like Cars.com has a positive impact for car dealers during the consumer car shopping journey. In the near future, the PRIZM team will be able to drill down to this data on the dealer level, showing our clients precisely how many of their own website shoppers also visited Cars.com, providing a stronger link to the ROI of Cars.com beyond referrals and lead forms.
NADA 2019 is over, and if you didn’t get a chance to visit us at our booth in San Francisco — fear not — we have a recap of everything we launched and announced for 2019 that had the audience buzzing. One of the most exciting things we unveiled at NADA 2019 was TWO solutions that solve digital retailing for every dealer by adapting to your desired process, so we brought out the cameras to give you at home live demos of Online Shopper: Redline℠ and Online Shopper: Electric℠.
Online Shopper: Redline℠
If you’re currently using Online Shopper℠ as your digital retailing solution, then you already know what Online Shopper: Redline℠ is all about. It allows your website visitors to customize their vehicle payments with real-time lease and finance bank rates, evaluate their trade-in, and schedule an appointment to take a test drive and complete the rest of their deal in the showroom.
For you, there’s no training needed, no backend to login to, no need to change your current processes and it installs on your website within 24 hours.
#ProTip: Online Shopper: Redline℠ can now be activated on any website platform!
This digital retailing solution has been wildly successful for our dealers since we streamlined the process this past October. On average, our clients see a 184% increase in leads generated from Online Shopper: Redline℠ compared to their website’s lead volume without it.
And these aren’t regular leads either — we call them super leads — because the data going directly to your CRM includes contact, credit, monthly payment, and trade-in details, so you have all the information you need to close the deal when they walk onto your showroom floor.
Online Shopper: Electric℠
While many dealers appreciate the no-nonsense approach to digital retailing that Online Shopper: Redline℠ provides, there is a growing number of dealers who are actively adjusting how they do business and want users to be able to complete more of the car deal online.
For these dealers, we have Online Shopper: Electric℠ which offers a seamless end-to-end, online and in-store consumer experience allowing consumers to complete more of the car buying process online.
We didn’t just add extra steps to Online Shopper℠, we reimagined the entire experience, including:
Redesigned UX that keeps users on the VDP
Digital garage to save, customize, and compare multiple vehicles
Seamless experience between devices and in-store kiosk
User upload of driver’s license and insurance card
Ultra-convenient 3-step check out
Need help deciding which edition of Online Shopper ℠is right for your dealership? Schedule a demo with us today, and we’ll walk you through versions so you can decide which best aligns with your consumer and business goals.
METAL℠ INVENTORY MANAGEMENT
A modern dealership needs a modern inventory management system, and Metal℠ is our brand-new IMS that was built with modern design and lightning-quick controls to help your team move metal faster than the competition without any training needed. Here’s look at some of the features that you’ll find in Metal℠.
Lightning Search: Finding one vehicle out of hundreds now takes milliseconds. Your list instantly adapts with each letter typed, allowing you to search by year, make, model, trim, color, feature, miles, VIN, and custom keywords.
Smart Custom Fields: Vehicle description fields are fully customizable so you can organize and display your inventory the way that makes sense for your dealership. Metal℠ also recognizes patterns and vehicle types to create the most relevant fields when uploading new inventory.
Dynamic Media Library: Metal℠ makes your vehicles shine by dynamically displaying high-resolution images, videos and even PDF brochures to shoppers. Adding, editing, and ordering media takes seconds before syncing with all your inventory near real-time.
Real-time API Sync: The changes made in Metal℠ are instantly pushed in real-time to your Dealer Inspire website, products, and advertising campaigns — as well as Cars.com and Facebook Marketplace.
We’re so confident that you’ll fall in love with Metal℠ that we’re offering you a free 30-day trial without having to ditch your current IMS. Sign up for your free trial today!
REAL-TIME REPORTING WITH PRIZM℠
If there’s one thing almost every dealer wants more of, it’s detailed reporting on how their marketing efforts are working for them. If there’s one thing almost every dealer wants less of, it’s reporting dashboards to log in to.
Prizm℠, our new real-time reporting platform, brings the technology and marketing dashboards you use most into one streamlined experience so you can spend less time logging into the backend of various systems, and more time making educated decisions based off data.
Prizm℠ currently can pull data from the following sources:
Dealer Inspire Website
But it’s not just easy access to reporting, Prizm℠ also includes:
Enterprise Level Reporting: Easily toggle between full enterprise reporting mode and individual rooftop mode, giving you the flexibility you need when reporting on your group as a whole.
Support Ticket Dashboard: Whether you’re looking at the individual store level or the group level, you’ll always have insight in to the status of your open, closed and pending support tickets for your dealerships.
Custom Alerts: Prizm℠ comes with pre-set alerts that will notify you when certain conditions occur (i.e. weekly traffic decrease by 25%) and the ability to create your own custom alerts, IFTTT style!
PERSONALIZED OFFERS IN CONVERSATIONS℠
We’re constantly teaching Ana Bot, our A.I. powered chatbot, new skills to make her a more valuable member of your team. You can now sync your customer lists with Conversations℠ so Ana Bot can let customers know which offers they might qualify for and then seamlessly launch Online Shopper to start a personalized deal.
#ProTip: Export your sold customer list from your CRM and sync it with Ana. She can then return a Loyalty Coupon to those folks via Conversations℠.
If there are no personalized offers available, Ana Bot won’t leave people feeling let down. She’ll simply reply with the available incentives that are specific to the VDP your visitor is currently viewing.
DEALERRATER SALESPERSON CONNECT INTEGRATION
As we look to expand our connections with our sister companies, we’re really excited to integrate DealerRater’s Salesperson Connect technology on the Dealer Inspire VDP.
Salesperson Connect allows consumers to select an employee to work with directly from your website’s vehicle details pages. These connections personalize the shopper experience, while rewarding top sales people by featuring them on the VDP.
Shoppers on your website will now have access to all the information they need to make an informed decision – the product, price, place, and person. How awesome is that?!
DEALER INSPIRE, THE ESSENTIAL PLATFORM PROVIDER
At Dealer Inspire, it’s our mission to be the essential marketing platform provider for your dealership. Everything that we announced at NADA and talked about about here is a part of our quest to fulfill that mission. We’d love to show you how our innovative solutions – from search to signature – allow you to provide the best consumer experience possible, while helping your dealership find more efficiencies. Let’s connect today!