When you got to work today, did you boot up your Gateway computer running Windows 98, dial into AOL, and squee in delight when you were informed that “you got mail”?
Of course you didn’t. Because it’s not 1999. Yet when it comes to the online car shopping experience, there’s still a function on car dealer websites that dates back to the pre-Y2K era.
That’s right, I’m looking at you Get E-Price button.
Never mind the fact that the majority of consumers don’t even know what an “E-Price” is — the reality is that the submit-and-wait form fill approach to the car shopping experience is now turning customers away. Across the industry form opens are down, form completions are down, and lead-to-contact ratio is down. But why?
In 2013 the average lead form completion rate on a car dealer’s website was right around 5%. Today, it’s under 2%.
*Datium Automotive Website Insights
LIVING IN A POST LEAD FORM WORLD
While there are many reasons lead form submissions are declining, the most important one has to do with the fact that we now live in an on-demand, instant gratification world where waiting seconds can feel like minutes, and minutes can feel like hours.
When a car shopper is on your website, they’re looking for information NOW. Not 15 minutes from now, not a few hours for now, and certainly not a few days from now — and they want that information without talking to someone on the phone.
So when a shopper has a question about pricing, incentives, availability, or the value of their trade — why do we force them down this slow path of filling out a form and waiting for a call back? By putting up a form as a barrier to information, you’re essentially telling shoppers “sorry, we can’t help you right now”.
So, we’ve established the problem — but what’s a dealer to do? Every customer’s situation is different, and you don’t have unlimited resources to respond instantly 24/7. Well just like you’ve ditched that boring beige computer tower for a shiny black iPad, and replaced your screeching dial-up modem with ultra hi-speed broadband Internet, it’s time to embrace new technology and put your E-Price button and resulting lead form to rest.
ELEGANT SOLUTIONS FOR A MORE CIVILIZED AGE
The biggest opportunity car dealer’s have today to dramatically increase the lead generating capabilities of their website is to take advantage of technology that’s designed to immediately give your shoppers the information they’re looking for, while still capturing a valuable lead for your dealership.
Let’s see how it can work for you…
AUTOMATED CHAT FLOWS IN CONVERSATIONS™
On the Dealer Inspire platform we can code your traditional page-based CTAs to launch Conversations™ so our chat bot, Ana, can provide answers through a friendly chat interface that users are more likely to share their contact info in.
During our pilot case study of adding this functionality, our dealers saw a 47% increase in conversion rate when using Conversations™ chat flows to replace standard form fills. Check out a few examples of how your website CTAs can launch these friendly chats instead of lead forms.
Locked pricing is a lead generation strategy many dealers like to (or have to for OEM restrictions) deploy on their websites — but as consumers become less likely to fill out lead forms these CTAs can create a barrier before visitors are able to make any real shopping decisions.
With Conversations™, you can have these website CTAs launch an automated chat with the customer that both unlocks the price and fulfills that 1:1 communication requirement many OEMs enforce for prices under MSRP. When a users taps the “Unlock Pricing” CTA on your VDP, Ana Bot will be there to greet your shopper and politely ask for their contact information. Once it’s collected, she will instantly reveal the most competitive prices on your website and then either guide the shopper to a salesperson or your digital retailing tool.
In this scenario, everyone wins. With little to no friction, the customer gets to see your best price and you get an engaged lead to personally follow up with.
Trade-in value is another critical piece of information shoppers look for your on your website to make shopping decisions. Instead of having your “Evaluate Trade-In” CTA bring up a painfully long and clunky form that feels like homework, you can have Ana Bot do all the work right inside an effortless Conversations™ thread.
When a shopper clicks or taps the Get Trade-In Value CTA on a webpage, Conversations™ will open and Ana Bot will ask your customer a few simple questions about their vehicle. After collecting their contact info, she will provide your shopper with a real-time market value range for their vehicle (powered by TradePending).
The customer wins, and so does your sales team as they’ll receive a quality trade-in lead complete with all the information they need to make meaningful contact with that shopper.
Conversations™ also gives you the ability to import CRM or OEM manifest lists for Ana Bot to refer to when a shopper taps an “Offers” style CTA on your site. Again, when that CTA is clicked Conversations™ will open and Ana Bot is there to assist by asking for the shopper’s name, email address, and phone number in order to verify what personalized offers are available to them.
Once she has the details, Ana will check the database for a match and provide any personalized offers that your customer may qualify for. If they don’t qualify for a personalized offer, don’t worry, Ana Bot will still let them know which incentives or specials are available for the vehicle they’re interested in! Check out how this capability can be integrated directly into Facebook ads, too.
GIVING SHOPPERS REAL PAYMENTS (NOT E-PRICES) WORKS
75% of consumers say they won’t contact or visit a dealership if they can’t figure out if they can afford the vehicle they’re interested in based on their personal financial scenario. (Cars.com “Drivers Seat” Consumer Survey, October 2018. )
Online Shopper™ was designed to answer a consumers “Can I Afford It?” question by giving your website shoppers the ability to compare and customize multiple payment scenarios complete with bank rates, taxes, and fees in real time.
When looking at their previous 49 days without Online Shopper: Electric™ on their website, Patty Peck Honda generated 206 form fill leads from their VRPs and VDPs with a conversion rate of 0.51%.
In the 49 days after activation, they still generated 255 form fill leads from their VRPs and VDPs but Online Shopper: Electric™ contributed an additional 699 more leads for a total of 954. Overall their conversion rate jumped to 2.01% which is a 297% increase!
Online Shopper: Electric™ alone has been generating over 14 new leads per day since the day Patty Peck Honda flipped the switch. While the traditional form fill CTA’s are still being engaged with, it’s clear that Online Shopper: Electric™ is providing a superior experience for both shoppers and the dealership.
IT’S (NOT) SO HARD TO SAY GOODBYE TO E-PRICE CTAs
While that heading is much more amusing if you think early 90’s Boyz II Men, the data shows us that ditching your E-Price button and resulting lead form for solutions that instantly give your website users the information they’re seeking is the best way to dramatically increase lead generation. You literally have nothing to lose, and everything to gain. The Get E-Price past was fun, but the future is brighter.