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The typical car buyer spends about 15 hours looking for their next vehicle. Much of that time is spent online. In short, it can be a slog. Your website must be engaging, interactive, packed with relevant information and easy to use if you’re going to make a consumer’s viewing time fly by.

All the above qualities no doubt rank highly on a buyer’s agenda. According to recent research done by Cox Automotive, more than three-quarters of consumers say the ‘quality’ of a dealer’s website has a vital part to play in their buying decision.

A cutting-edge, slick website can attract and retain customers. With the right tools in place, it’s a key marketing tool that could mean the difference between a mere browser and a locked-in buyer. Let’s look at four website features that are invariably important to site visitors.

The ability to part-exchange

Buyers are often thinking about trading in their existing vehicle and using the equity for their next purchase. Research shows that about half of new or used car transactions involve a part-exchange. Interestingly, a third of consumers walk away from a deal because of a disagreement over the valuation.

If your site provides a seamless and accurate valuation function, the consumer could be focused on buying before they enter the showroom. This lays the foundations for a positive relationship and could mean a sale now as well as more in the future.

Excellent vehicle imagery

Images of listed vehicles have long been a staple of automotive sites. But even though most people have a high-powered smartphone camera at their disposal, photography, especially car photography, is difficult to get right. Car brands have different personalities that can be highlighted with crisp and enticing imagery. But automotive photography is famously expensive. If you want to add good-quality imagery to your site, it’s best to shop around.

Video functionality

Video is just as challenging to get right as still images. Well-lit, expertly shot (and edited) footage may appear commonplace on the internet, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy (or cheap) to come by.

Great 360-degree video, allowing consumers to walk around the vehicles provides a real sense of ‘owning’ the car. This functionality is essential if you want to improve a site visitor’s user experience.

Easy to use and navigate

A quality website with all the above can help you steal a march on the competition. But if your site is also user-friendly and structured with a dollop of common sense (i.e., easy to navigate) then that usability factor will leave a lasting, positive impression. Buying a car takes time, so visitors will evaluate whether they’re in the right place to make what will likely be the second-biggest purchase of their life (after their home). Browsers will stick around if your site is engaging, well-designed, packed with useful information and logically ordered.

Time to revamp your website?

If you’re a car dealer who thinks now may be a good time to revamp your website, including upping your game when it comes to videos and imagery, why not see how Modix products such as Modix 360° and Modix Websites can help you? They build cutting-edge dealer websites that give you complete control over your content.

But that only scratches the surface. They also offer digital retail solutions, cost-efficient online advertising tools, advanced video and imagery options and a powerful vehicle management platform.

And if you think accurate part-exchange functionality is also needed, why not visit eVA Valuations and Appraisals? They work with some of the world’s biggest OEMs ensuring that their visitors have a market-leading experience when it comes to valuation accuracy.

The full Cox Automotive retail report can be downloaded here. It shows what consumers expect from a website and highlights dealer views on making multiple communication and purchasing options available, otherwise known as the ‘omnichannel’ experience.

Having the above four features as an integral part of your website could consistently help you turn a visitor into a locked-in buyer.

Do you know…

how good imagery can help you sell cars faster? Have a look here.