April Fools: We Don’t Service That Brand (and other things customers need to know)

Save your business time and money – and protect your sales – by answering customers’ questions before they need to ask them. In the digital-first world that we now live in, the most convenient way to provide answers to common customer questions is through your dealership website.

It is highly likely that a customer will research outdoor power equipment – and the dealerships that carry it – online before visiting a store in person. Studies show that 88 percent of consumers pre-research units online before making a purchase either online or in-store. When a prospect visits your dealership website during their research, it’s important to make as much information as possible readily available. If prospects can’t find the information they are looking for, there is a good chance that they may leave your site for a competitor’s.

Starting with the basics, customers need to be able to easily access and navigate your website. If your site is built on a responsive platform, this should be no issue – people will receive the same experience visiting your site whether on a desktop computer or mobile device such as a smartphone or tablet. A non-responsive website would be detrimental to your dealership’s online presence – those visiting via mobile device will not have a positive experience, and may decide to abandon your site altogether. The first experience that a customer has visiting your website is likely to be their first impression of your dealership, so take the needed steps to make sure it is a good one.

Beyond the accessibility of the website itself, be sure to include the following critical pieces of information to prevent losing a sale:


Available brands for purchase and service

Most customers have a specific brand in mind when they begin their journey to purchase. It might be a personal favorite or the standout choice that the customer found through his or her research – either way, it could be a deal breaker if your dealership doesn’t carry or service that brand. To eliminate any confusion or frustration for customers, it’s important to clearly show on your website the brands your dealership carries and supports. Many dealerships have a page or section on their website dedicated to this, which is easy to navigate to from the homepage of the site. It is also crucial to include information about the brands that your dealership services – again, many dealers have a website page or section that contains all necessary information about their service department.


In-stock inventory

Keeping your inventory updated is the number-one digital marketing tactic that outdoor power equipment dealers can use to improve equipment and parts sales. When prospects visit your website, they need to know exactly which units are available to buy. Imagine the frustration a customer would experience if they submitted a lead on a unit that you no longer carry, or if they came into your store to purchase a unit that had already been sold. Your website is your online dealership, and it should mimic an in-store visit as much as possible. Keeping inventory updated can be a tedious task without the help of a web provider that can help to manage the process. However, it is arguably the most important aspect of your website.


Promotions available at your dealership

Customers interested in buying a piece of equipment from your dealership would be unhappy to find out about a missed sale on a unit or brand in which they are interested. To eliminate this issue – and drive increased sales during promotional periods as well – make sure that it is abundantly clear from your website when promotions are happening. Many dealers dedicate a large space right on the homepage of their site to advertise sales and promotions – often as graphics within a homepage slideshow. Some dealers even use pop-up notifications to alert website visitors of a sale.


What’s different about your dealership?

The ability to research different businesses and buying options online can make it tough to stand out against the competition. Most small business customers research online and buy offline, which means they are researching other businesses too – even if your dealership has exactly what they are looking for. To help your business stand out as the best choice, add custom content that tells a story and paints a picture of the culture at your dealership. Maybe your store is family owned for generations, or you have the top certified repair techs in the area. Do you sponsor local events or sports teams, or get involved elsewhere in your community? These are the types of attributes that give your business a unique selling point and can encourage customers to choose to support your business instead of another.


How to get in touch

As is the case for any business, detailed and accurate contact information is critical to your success. The days and hours that your dealership is open should be readily available on your site, along with your dealership’s physical address, e-mail address and phone number. No matter how perfectly your dealership fits your prospect’s needs, they will take their business elsewhere if they can’t figure out how to reach you quickly and easily. On a similar note, it’s important that your business information is consistently accurate on all different listing sites – such as Google Business, Yelp, YellowPages.com, and others – plus your active social media platforms. Inconsistencies can result in lower search engine rankings, and it can also prevent potential customers from being able to reach you due to incorrect contact information.


Your dealership reputation

Just like a customer is likely to research the unit and brand they are interested in before buying, they are also likely to research your dealership before deciding to do business with you. Any customer who wants to spend wisely will read reviews and see what others thought of their experience buying equipment from your dealership. It’s important to make your online reputation a priority – this means maintaining active profiles on review sites and responding to the reviews you receive, whether they are positive or negative. If your dealership suffers from a lack of reviews or negative reviews only, there are ways to encourage positive reviews from happy customers in an honest way, and this may be a good option for your business. With a well-maintained online reputation in place, the next step is to make it easy for customers to find out what people are saying about you. Post reviews on your website or include links to your profiles on review sites so customers can look for themselves. Being proactive about your online reputation is key.


The quality of your dealership’s online presence is crucial to your success. Businesses need to serve their customers well, whether online or in-person, and the option to reach out digitally is quickly becoming the most popular choice. It’s time to take an honest look at your website and other online platforms. Are your customers getting the information they need? Are there ways to better serve them? Your business will go far in making that goal the top priority in all digital endeavors.


Article provided by ARI Network Services. ARI’s suite of award-winning data-driven software tools and marketing services help dealers “Sell More Stuff!” online and in-store. ARI removes the complexity of selling and servicing new and used inventory, parts, garments and accessories for customers in the outdoor power equipment, powersports, marine, RV, automotive tire and wheel, and white goods industries. More than 23,500 equipment dealers, 195 distributors and 140 manufacturers worldwide leverage ARI’s website (www.arinet.com) and eCatalog platforms to “Sell More Stuff!”


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