More than 80% of vehicles are sold when their Vehicle Details Page (VDP) is viewed at least 30 times in a 30-day period. With a direct correlation between VDP views and car sales, it makes sense that dealers allocate a significant portion of their marketing budget to tactics that drive traffic directly to VDPs.

Driving traffic directly to VDPs is difficult but ensuring that these visitors are in-market car shoppers is an even more challenging feat. Marketers employ the use of a wide range of analytical tools to assess the quality of traffic coming to the website from each channel of acquisition. From tracking website events and conversions, to analyzing behavior flows, session duration, and pages per session – digital professionals continually look for insights to fine-tune their marketing tactics to get the highest quality website traffic possible.

Dealers also spend a considerable amount of money each month maintaining their website. From custom video development to creating landing pages to SEO work to digital retailing tools – the cost of the dealership website continues to rise as dealers strive to differentiate themselves from the competition by highlighting their community efforts, value-added programs, customer testimonials, and the experience car buyers can expect when they do business with them.

Website Visitors Don’t Drill Down

The irony of all of this is that only about 10% of a dealership’s website visitors ever make it to the VDP level – and website visitors only visit between 3-4 pages per session. Think about this scenario: an in-market car shopper arrives on your homepage (the 1st page in the session), then selects “View All Used Vehicles” from the navigation dropdown (the 2nd page in the session – the SRP), then clicks to view a VDP (the 3rd page in the session), and finally selects “Value Your Trade” from the navigation dropdown (the 4th page in the session). With an average of 3-4 pages per session, most car shoppers never see the important, differentiating content throughout your website.

Now, think about the fact that roughly 30% of your website visitors views an SRP – 3x the number of visitors to your VDPs. These visitors may also be missing out on valuable content – content that depicts your commitment to the community, your reputation, and the special programs you offer.

As much of a challenge as it is to get in-market car shoppers to your dealership website – it seems clear that another critical goal is to figure how to get relevant information in front of car shoppers at the SRP and VDP levels.

SRP Merchandising

If you’re getting 3x the traffic to your SRPs than VDPs and VDP views are an indicator of a car deal – compelling more shoppers to drill down to vehicle details is vital. For the most part, dealership website SRPs all look the same – you’ve got either a vertically or horizontally aligned listing of your inventory. Each listing displays a picture of the vehicle, basic vehicle info, a price, a CARFAX or AutoCheck icon for used vehicles, and multiple call-to-action (CTA) buttons. Unless a shopper locks in on a particular vehicle photo, there’s nothing truly compelling at the SRP level that makes people want to see more.

Imagine if each vehicle on the SRP, contained a widget for a full digital portfolio that contained videos, reports, documents, and images about the vehicle, the dealership, and financial options? What if it was so compelling that 10% more visitors clicked to the VDP from the SRP?

VDP Merchandising

When car shoppers visit your dealership website, they’re not just thinking about which car to buy – they also need to decide if they should buy from you. A lot of the information they need to make this decision is contained on your website – however, as we’ve mentioned, most people don’t take the time to try to find it. Rather, they conduct searches on Google, they check review sites, they visit automotive portals and the OEM site, and they look on social media sites. During this research process, many people get diverted to another dealership.

By providing a complete digital portfolio at the VDP level, you can get this valuable information right in front of car shoppers without them having to leave your website to find it. Digital portfolios should contain all vehicle information, as well as videos and documents that present the dealership’s reputation and the financial options available.

Digital portfolios contain highly relevant, rich content in an attractive design that is logically organized and easy-to-navigate. They naturally transition car shoppers through the digital retailing journey – from evaluating the vehicle, to assessing the reputation of the dealership, to reviewing financial options – to visiting the dealership’s physical showroom.

Transparency, Trust, & Value

By providing all relevant information upfront, you create an atmosphere of trust and transparency. At the same time, you are building value in the vehicle and your dealership. Key documents such as the vehicle’s window sticker, reconditioning records, an ebrochure, and videos about your service department and extended service programs answer many of the questions that shoppers have. By displaying customer reviews within digital portfolios, information about your sales process and value-added programs – you can keep car shoppers from leaving your VDPs.

The more transparent and complete the information you provide, the greater the chance that the online shopper will convert to a contactable opportunity in the form of a phone-up or internet lead. The greater the value perceived by the shopper, the easier it will be to justify vehicle pricing and hold onto gross profit.

Digital portfolios also embody behavioral heat mapping technology that visualizes click patterns, content interactions, and time-engaged which gives salespeople insight into shopper purchase intentions.

By Karla Guleserian, MSEC
Velocity Automotive Solutions