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Dealer survey: Time invested in store’s Web site does pay off

June 8, 2009
Filed under Features

The “if you build it, they will come” mantra evidently works better for baseball fields than powersports dealership Web sites.
A national dealership survey conducted for Powersports Business shows how much time a store invests in its Web site can equate into what it can expect in return in terms of online revenue and solid leads for new unit sales.
Among the survey’s most riveting findings that links time spent on the Web site to online revenue performance include:
Dealers who update their Web sites on a daily basis get three times the number of solid sales leads for new units vs. those who update it on a monthly basis.
Dealers who update their Web sites on a daily basis generate twice as much revenue per month vs. those who update it on a monthly basis.
However, dealers who update their Web sites on a daily basis are not necessarily converting more of those leads into actual new unit sales on a percentage basis than their counterparts who update their Web site far less often.
“It’s huge,” Dave Moore, owner of Lancaster Honda, Lancaster, Pa., said of online sales opportunities. “The customers love it when they request something and you respond right away. It’s a really great thing. So we’ve created a lot of really nice relationships with these people we’ve never even seen.”
Moore’s dealership updates its Web site on a daily basis, he says, as the sales department places a high priority on updating sale prices, both for new and used vehicles.
“You have to be timely with that because customers get cranky when they call and get told (a vehicle) has been sold,” he said.
The survey found taking the time to update a store’s Web site does make a difference in terms of sales. Dealerships who update their Web site on a daily basis reported earning more than $22,000 per month from online sales, which is more than double the amount that dealers who update their Web site monthly reported making.
Not only are Web-active dealers making more, but they’re also seeing more online sales growth, the survey found.
Sixty six percent of dealers who update their Web site daily reported either “slight” or “substantial” increases in 2008 online sales compared to the previous year. Also notably, only
6 percent of these dealers reported slight decreases and none reported substantial decreases. On the other hand, dealers who update their Web sites only monthly are more apt to report a decreased amount of online sales in 2008 vs. 2007.
The national survey, which was conducted in April, also looked at how dealers are advertising on their Web sites.
Less than 60 percent of dealers said they are advertising all of their new unit sales on their Web sites. Fifteen percent said they are advertising most of their new unit sales online. Only
9 percent of dealers said they are not advertising any of their new unit sales on their Web site.
One surprise in the survey was that dealers who are updating their Web sites on a daily basis are converting fewer leads on a percentage basis than their counterparts.
Dealers who update their Web sites
daily reported converting 17 percent of
their leads while storeowners who update their sites weekly said they convert
24 percent of their leads.
“This year is an off year compared to last year so every sale is important,” Moore of Lancaster Honda said, “and we are snagging a few from online shopping. It’s all extra for us. We would really be struggling if we weren’t getting that.”

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