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These 3 steps will 'wow' your online customers

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These 3 steps will 'wow' your online customers

What are the three steps needed to create a great online shopping experience? Nate Lehmann has the answer.

Lehmann is tire and automotive sales manager for 50 Below, a provider of eCommerce websites owned by ARI Network Services Inc.

In recent conversations with 50 Below customers, Lehmann says he realized that dealers were looking for a short, easy-to-remember road map to create and maintain a great online shopping experience. Here is an overview of the questions most frequently asked of him, courtesy of ARI.

Q: What’s the first thing I need to do to keep visitors engaged as soon as they’ve landed on my website?

Lehmann: Today’s online consumers expect to find what they want immediately. In a matter of seconds, visitors must understand who you are, what you do, and how to get to the information they are looking for. If they have to work to find information, they’ll go back to the search engine results and likely move on to your competitor’s site. Your website is often the first interaction that a consumer will have with your business – you need to build trust from the get-go.

First impressions stick, so get the basics right. Engage visitors by using simple design so your website loads fast for all users regardless of their Internet connection. Your logo and dealership contact information should be front and center on the website header. If you don’t have a tagline, consider creating one; just a few words that describe your dealership’s strengths can go a long way in making your site memorable. Website navigation is crucial, since it leads users to the content they’re looking for, so all content is accessible in just a few clicks. The content on your website should be coupled with attention-grabbing images to further reinforce for the users the purpose of the page they are visiting.

Q: Complete content seems to be a must. What do you mean by content?

Lehmann: Content is everything the consumer engages with on your website – the words on the page, promotions, tire and wheel images, specifications, inventory and pricing. Most of the dealers I talk to have a very basic goal -- drive more traffic to their website and "sell more stuff!" (ARI's trademarked tagline is "Sell More Stuff.") To achieve this goal, your website must have relevant content. Whether visitors are researching products or purchasing online, they expect to find up-to-date and accurate information on your dealership’s inventory, brands carried, services offered, and current promotions. Content is more than just pictures of tires and wheels. You have to create a brand image that customers grow to know and respect.

Plus, there’s an added bonus -- search engines like Google and Bing look for content and images to determine a website’s organic search ranking. By making sure the content on your website is not only current, but relevant to what consumers are entering in their searches, your website is more likely to be ranked higher in the search results.

Q: What would be your final recommendation?

Lehmann: Make it easy for visitors to buy from you -- online or in-store. Your website and your brick-and-mortar store need to complement each other, working hand-in-hand to turn your dealership into a 24/7 business. There are two kinds of website visitors -- those who buy online and those who research the right tires or wheels for their vehicle on your website and come to your dealership to purchase. Your website should “make suggestions” on additional products or services based on the product purchased, along with easy-to-access online forms to request more information, get a quote, or apply for financing. This goes a long way to fill the void of not having a one-on-one conversation.

"If you make it easy for people to buy from you, they will come back to you for future purchases and recommend your dealership to their family and friends. If you had positive online buying experience during your first visit to a website, wouldn’t you do the same?

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