Despite their power to help dealers make better decisions, data and metrics on their own don’t drive success. Dealers need to look at the right metrics given their unique strategic objectives, understand the correlations between data points and implement processes that move the needle, said Raines.
“You can torture the data until it confesses,” Raines joked, explaining how many dealers see in the metrics what they want to see, rather than using the information to make both large and small improvements in their stores.
Raines stressed the importance of putting process behind moving the needle on performance metrics.
“Before you ask ‘is it working,’ ask ‘am I working it?’”
He said to make sure that listings are properly merchandised and priced, that SEM campaigns are targeted and that marketing be relevant to the consumer – people shop differently on mobile than they do on desktop computers, for example.
Among the most important things to understand, Raines said, is correlation between certain metrics and the conversion rate. A few “cause and effect” metrics to watch include:
- Website traffic and conversion rate: high levels of website traffic but low conversion could mean you have work to do to drive more conversion on your site, so check correlations between traffic and metrics like phone calls, chats, emails and walk-in predictors like hours and directions page views.
- Bounce rate and conversion rate: a high bounce rate, or the rate at which a visitor leaves your site without visiting any subsequent pages, typically means that a shopper left because they didn’t get the experience they needed – but it could mean they got exactly what they needed, and fast. A high bounce rate accompanied by a high conversion rate could actually mean your site is well-designed for conversion.
- Merchandising and conversion rate: particularly on third-party sites, photos, video, price, sellers notes and other factors often affect where your vehicles show up in search results, how often a shopper clicks through to see the vehicle details page and ultimately whether they connect with your store.
Last but not least, Raines said, don’t be afraid to test things out. Because data is more readily available than ever before, it’s easy to see the effects of making adjustments to your marketing strategies.
To follow more show buzz, check out our NADA hub at http://dealers.cars.com/NADA2013