Category: tradeIQ

Trade valuation for car dealer websites

Dealers, don’t think conversion makes up for abandonment

Sales funnel theory tells us that abandonment and conversion are both parts of the funnel. You bring leads in top-of-funnel, nurture them and hopefully, convert them into a sales opportunity. And abandonment occurs along the way as you prospects move from top-of-funnel to a conversion. And we’ve been led to believe that abandonment is ok as long as you’re getting conversion.

Or at least, that’s how some software vendors want you to think.

Many, if not most, car dealers use third party components on their website to capture more leads. A popular example of this is a trade valuation service.

The leading one in this industry follows a very “old school” approach. It walks the user through a number of forms and then before displaying the trade valuation, they ask for contact information. Their theory is this: If the user completes the form, it’s a hot lead. If they abandon, don’t worry, it wasn’t a serious lead to begin with.


Really old school thinking.

In the day and age where it is about building engagement with your users, no amount of abandonment should be considered as part of success criteria.

What do you think happens to a visitor when they abandon the trade valuation because they don’t want to provide their contact information just yet? News flash: They’re not just abandoning the trade valuation widget, they’re abandoning your website! Hey-ho hey ho, off to another dealer’s site they go.

So while the big name value your trade guys proudly boast of a 2% conversion, ask yourself what happened to the other 98% that bounced off of your site?

So what’s the answer?

While we may be a little biased here, almost all web experts will agree that user engagement is becoming the number one way that businesses will build lasting relationships with their customers. With that in mind, we don’t believe you should lead with conversion. Instead, use engagement as your criteria. Ultimately, high engagement will yield far higher conversions. I’d far rather have a site where almost all my visitors engage with me resulting in a far more robust pipeline of conversions, than live with 98% abandonment.

It’s also time to rethink what your trade valuation service is costing your dealership. Sure, we know about CPL as a metric. But have you considered how much money you spend to drive traffic to your website (SEO, PPC … all very expensive) only to have the 98% who go to a value your trade widget abandon? I hope that 2% conversion was worth it…

We love talking about engagement and conversion. Share your thoughts with us.

Auto dealers: Capturing leads or delivering a user experience?

The world of auto dealers online marketing, while certainly having its own nuances, still faces many of the traditional conundrums facing online marketers in general.

Marketers the world over struggle with “demand gen” versus “lead gen”. Demand generation is essentially providing valuable content to your visitors, effectively for ‘free’, meaning you don’t try to capture lead information.

Lead generation on the other hand is also providing information for your visitors but only if they’re willing to give up their contact information. This could be as simple as an email address or their full contact details.

As you may expect, demand gen results in more users staying on your site, whereas lead gen causes a higher abandon rate as many people will balk at giving up their personal details. A good marketing program should really encapsulate both concepts.

Which brings me to auto dealers.

One of the primary lead gen mechanisms used by car dealers on their website is a trade valuation service. The theory goes that users will exchange their contact information for a valuation of their vehicle. Classic lead gen. In fact, one of the largest trade valuation services owns a patent, albeit questionable, on capturing contact information before providing the valuation data.

The problem with this approach is that dealers will experience a high abandonment rate of users who simply won’t complete all the information requested. And this abandonment may well cause not just abandonment on the trade valuation but abandonment on your website as a whole. Hello competitor dealer down the street.

What car dealers should do instead is learn to build an experience and brand with their visitors. Provide a lot of free information (demand gen), and provide compelling reasons to leave their contact details (lead gen). This ensures that you have the right mixture of keeping visitors on your site and coming back to your site, while also capturing leads in the process.

I can’t stress this enough – remember, the fact that people are abandoning the trade valuation widget on your website is NOT a good thing despite claims to the contrary from the widget vendor. Yes, the people who do complete the long and antiquated form are solid leads. But how much damage is being caused by the abandoned people who leave you for another website entirely?

With tradeIQ we worked hard to strike a balance between lead capture while providing value to your visitors to build them into long term and lifelong customers. Check out how we did this. We think you’ll be pleasantly surprised.

Auto Shopping Moments Every Brand Must Own

Google research published a tremendous piece entitled “The 5 auto shopping moments every brand must own”. If you haven’t read it yet, grab it here.

Using the vast insights into consumer behavior, Google is uniquely positioned to understand the customer journey and how the digital landscape has changed the traditional car buying journey. Google calls these ‘micro moments’ – times when car buyers turn to online and digital sources to help select the perfect vehicle for their needs.

I’m not going to recap the entire article here … I want to focus on one specific ‘moment’, but for sake of reference, here are the five car buying ‘moments’:

  1. Which-car-is-best moment
  2. Is-it-right-for-me moment
  3. Can-I-afford-it moment
  4. Where-should-I-buy-it moment
  5. Am-I-getting-a-deal moment

The “Can-I-afford-it” moment

With so many tools at the consumers disposal, it’s easier than ever to find cars you like. Whether thats at the dealer across the road, or half-way across the country, it’s never been easier to fall in love with a vehicle that you “simply must have”! The next logical step in this car buying journey becomes “Can I afford it?”. According to Google, search interest regarding vehicle prices is at the highest level ever, having grown 25% the last year, 70% of that being fueled by mobile.

For many shoppers, the value of their current car is just as important as the price of the new one. Search interest in trade-in value was at record levels this summer—up 17% in July.

And here’s the interesting find from Google. The value of the car buyers current vehicle is just as important as the price of the new one. Google says that search interest in trade-in values was at record levels (Summer, 2015) and that they’re seeing more trade-in interest than during the 2009 Cash for Clunkers push!

And, importantly, more than 50% of those searches were on mobile.


At dealerIQ we worked carefully to capture the essence of this critical “Can-I-afford-it” moment by offering online car buyers exactly what they need at this step of the journey: The ability to value their current trade, and an affordability calculator based on their credit score and equity on their trade. And of course, mobile friendly. This careful orchestration of features to match the ‘moment’ drives maximum lead conversion and maximum stickiness to your site as your work to have your brand own these important auto shopping moments.

Why abandonment sends the wrong message to your visitors

There’s more than one trade valuation website service to use on your dealership’s website. At least one of the “big name” ones require a prospect to enter their contact details prior to displaying the trade-in value.

Naturally this leads to a high abandonment rate – those prospects simply not wanting to enter their contact information. In fact, this “big name” vendor is proud of the high abandonment, their argument being that those who do complete the form are serious leads, and you wouldn’t want the rest anyway. The painful part of this logic is that, by their own admission, a high abandonment rate is occurring on YOUR website. All that time and money you’ve spent driving traffic, only to have them abandon – not just the trade widget, but abandoning your website! And yet this vendor touts this as a benefit. Ouch! Easy to say when it isn’t your website they’re abandoning.

The trend of the modern internet savvy online car shopper is to find companies they can build a relationship with…companies that offer value in the website and reasons to return. Millenials for example don’t want to be blocked to access content…”Give me what I need and if you build a relationship with me I will be your customer”. So purposefully causing abandonment is contrary to the trend we see in the internet world all together. In fact, there is an entire discipline related to conversion optimization, and reducing abandonment.

Which brings me to our tradeIQ trade valuation solution. We provide trade valuations upfront for your customer without asking for their contact information, specifically to prevent them from abandoning your website, and to give you the opportunity to build up a relationship with them. Our tradeIQ solution will offer valuable information for your visitors that will cause them to want to give you their contact information, but not force them simply to get a trade-in value.

So while certain vendors stick to the formula that’s worked for them for the last decade, we believe it’s time to change the game. Why not contact us to see a demo of tradeIQ in action.

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