Designing a Virtual Showroom in 7 Steps

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The pandemic-driven shutdown of in-store shopping experiences in 2020 compelled dealerships to expand their digitization efforts and include more virtual showroom options. 

This model disrupted the status quo and has forever altered shopping experiences in all industries worldwide. Even as some consumers return to brick-and-mortar locations, establishing a reliable procedure for selling vehicles online becomes more vital daily. Many would-be customers have become accustomed to and comfortable with online shopping and are often reluctant to switch to traditional, in-person experiences. 

As such, dealers must look for new ways to enhance the online showroom experience. This article discusses seven strategies dealers might consider in bolstering their digital presence. 

7 Virtual Showroom Strategies 

1. Enhance Website Speed 

No website visitor enjoys browsing a slow-loading online showroom, and they might exit the site at once if there are even a few seconds of delay. The dealer might permanently lose a sizeable chunk of visitors before converting them to active customers.  

Dealers should integrate digital tools that help track the speed of their digital showroom and find the causes of deals to avoid further customer attrition.  

Image and file sizes are often the primary culprits for such lagging, and optimizing these might be a sound first step in improving virtual showroom speed. 

2. Improve Vehicle Searchability 

Online visitors are short on time and prefer not to read lengthy explanations and massive quantities of content. Instead, they look for accurate and concise answers to their make and model queries.  

Dealers can lose many clients if they do not have a suitable product search option on their virtual showroom site. Dealers should make it simple for visitors to find their desired vehicles by providing simple searchability. This feature significantly increases the odds of online lead conversion

3. Offer User-Friendly Navigation 

When listing vehicles virtually, dealerships should include categories, subcategories, and internal variations. 

They must then look for product segmentation patterns to organize the vehicles quickly and efficiently. Customers may struggle to find a specific car within a massive, unsegmented inventory and elect to take their business elsewhere. To keep those customers from leaving, dealers might implement the “breadcrumb” technique, which uses multiple landing pages in a specific sequence to get users to land on the desired conversion action. 

4. Treat Every Lead as a Walk-in 

Online showrooms are gradually becoming the norm – not the exception. They go beyond simply generating leads and function as the primary storefront. This digital shift means that each online customer is analogous to a like walk-in, even though no one at the dealership sees them immediately.  

As such, dealers must equip these digital showrooms with the same caliber of service that customers expect in person. They might start with a customer-friendly messaging platform that serves as customer service’s front line, supplying instant answers and offering valuable information, such as vehicle details and brochures. 

5. Clear a Pathway for the Purchase Process 

A virtual showroom is only effective if a visitor sees a clear path for beginning the purchase process. If that potential customer struggles to move from point A to point B, they will likely give up and shop elsewhere. 

Clearing this path often begins by removing unnecessary buttons. While some are crucial, such as call-to-action (CTA) ones, dealers must avoid overusing them, which can confuse and frustrate visitors. 

Dealers should focus traffic on the buttons that produce the best results and cut those that are unnecessary. These extra buttons lead consumers to dead ends or off-site links that deter visitors from conversion pages. 

6. Promote Sharing on Social Media 

Customers are most loyal to dealerships they can trust. Furthermore, prospective customers are more likely to follow up on referrals if they come from close family or friends. Dealerships can promote both scenarios and broaden their market reach by connecting the virtual showroom to social media platforms. 

One effective method is placing social sharing icons on the website’s shopping cart. Customers can then share their stories and recommend the dealership to family and friends, increasing the likelihood of conversion as more individuals become aware of that dealer’s available inventory. 

7. Showcase Popular and New Vehicles 

Preferences vary by the consumer, but advertising which vehicles are currently popular is still an effective method to sway undecided shoppers.  

Dealers might look to highlight the store’s most popular vehicles by shuffling them into designated categories like “Best Sellers” and “Featured Vehicles.”  

They might also promote recently delivered inventory in a category labeled “New Arrivals.” Updated listings are critical to compelling website visitors to act. 

These strategies can also help upsell and cross-sell inventory items like accessories and insurance plans. 

Successful Online Showrooms Require the Best Tracking Software 

Implementing the abovementioned steps is a terrific way to improve your dealership’s online presence and boost web traffic.  

However, that traffic is only as valuable as your ability to monitor it and pick out the highest-quality leads. You need the industry’s best CRM platform that helps you track showroom activity and convert more leads. 

Contact us today and discover how Affinitiv’s XRM can help you track virtual showroom activity and boost lead conversions. 

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