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Your Website May Be Hurting Your Dealership’s Bottom Line. Here’s Why.

There’s a big problem in automotive retail.

Car dealerships are losing sales opportunities on their website, and they may not even know it. According to a recent study by DrivingSales, dealership websites score the lowest of all automotive shopping websites in terms of trustworthiness, reliability, and accuracy, with only 36% of shoppers giving them a favorable score.

This may spell trouble for dealerships that are not providing shoppers with a good online Customer Experience (CX). Evidence shows that the lack of trustworthiness and credibility on dealership websites could be causing significant damage to sales and profits.

Listed below are the three biggest ways that lack of trust on your website could be harming your dealership’s bottom line.


1. Lack of Trust Hurts Lead Generation

It’s well known among marketers that higher trust correlates strongly with higher conversion rates. According to Cohn and Wolfe, 91% of consumers find honesty and trust to be the most important behavior for businesses to display. When a consumer feels that they can trust a business, they are much more likely to part with their contact information.

The reverse is also true. When a business comes across as untrustworthy, or interested only in making a sale, a shopper might feel very hesitant to give that company their contact information. This causes a negative impact on conversion rates.

According to recent studies, this is exactly what’s happening on dealership websites. AutoBytel found that 95% of car shoppers who start filling out a form don’t submit if a phone number is required. Although these shoppers are very interested in the dealership’s inventory, they simply don’t trust that the dealership will provide them with a good experience. This may give the shopper pause in submitting their contact information, and may ultimately drive them to look elsewhere for a better experience.



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2. Lack of Trust Leads to Lower Showroom Visits

The financial impact from lost lead generation is nothing to laugh it, but it pales in comparison to the impact of lower showroom visits. No matter how well a website converts, the majority of website visitors don’t fill out lead forms. According to DrivingSales, 61% of all automotive shoppers visit dealerships without ever filling out a form or making a phone call.

The implication here is simple. Focusing solely on how many leads a dealership website is generating could be a costly mistake. The majority of a dealership’s buyers are using the website; they’re just not filling out forms.

Given the importance of this audience to their bottom line, dealerships should do everything in their power to establish trust with this audience. Instead of focusing their websites solely on generating leads, dealers should ensure their websites are trustworthy, easy-to-use, and get shoppers excited about buying a car. Those that fail to do this will miss out on a large number of sales-ready opportunities showing up on their showroom floors.


3. Lack of Trust Hurts Dealership Reputation

Lost leads and lower showroom visits are enough to give any General Manager a migraine, but the impact of poor website trust doesn’t end there. According to Ipsos, when a shopper has a bad experience, 52% of the time they will tell their friends, family, and colleagues about it.

Not only do untrustworthy dealership websites drive qualified shoppers away, but they may also compel these shoppers to speak poorly of your business to friends, family, and other shoppers who are in the market.

Word-of-mouth is important to dealerships. Automotive shoppers are highly influenced by reviews of dealerships given by their peers. Dealerships that skimp on their online customer experience will not only lose opportunities with shoppers on their website, but they may risk damaging their chances with the shopper’s friends, family, and social network.



The lack of trust on dealership websites has serious implications for the sales, profitability, and performance of many dealerships. With the majority of the shopping process now online, dealerships who wish to out-perform their competitors should focus on building trust with their online shoppers. Those that do will set themselves apart from the competition and drive additional sales opportunities. Those that fail on the Customer Experience (CX) risk falling behind in an increasingly competitive market.