Over the past two years I have heard consistently from dealers that their websites are less productive than they used to be. There are a number of factors that come into play when considering why this may be happening for your dealership and fortunately there are some easy cures.
One of the key reasons a website is more productive has to do with the overall site architecture. I am referring to the way the site is laid out for the use and benefit of the site visitors. When you visit mobile websites normally you experience a limited offering of options that allow you to easily find what you intended when you visited the site. Most effective is the ability on automotive sites to view inventory, send a request, or oftentimes, call the dealership. These front and center options are designed to “nudge” consumers to quicker decisions without having to think.
In the book “Don’t make me Think”, the author, Steve Krug encourages site designers to simplify their designs so visitors can act with minimal thinking. He describes the micro-moments where customers visit home pages and have too many options to consider and then opt out without making a choice to continue. Focus on a simple setup and design your desktop site to be more like your mobile site.
When setting up your website it is imperative that you determine what your primary business goals are and design the layout and options to support your goals. Most dealerships want to sell cars, parts, accessories, service, bodywork and trade for cars, but their websites are not usually setup to make this easy for consumers.
In reviewing the website analytics of hundreds of dealerships the dominant clicks taken by consumers on the home page are just 3 – View used inventory, view new inventory and schedule service. However, when visiting typical dealership websites by leading providers, the average number of links on the home page is 20 with one site having 30+ links. Can you imagine asking a visitor to the showroom to consider 20 options before they move forward?
Narrow your business goals and simplify your site design to reflect these goals and you will be amazed at how quickly your results will improve.
VDPs are for closing
If your site design works to drive car buyers to your VDP (vehicle detail pages) you have to ensure the visits result in sales opportunities. To make your VDP as productive as possible remember these 3 basics:
- Beautiful photos and videos of your vehicles
- Motivating vehicle descriptions that build trust
- On the market pricing with proof of value
Additionally, limit your selection of links to 2 or 3 options based on what your analytics tell you works best. My favorite book for improving VDP close rates is “Nudge” by Richard H. Thaler and Cass R. Sunstein. In reading “Nudge”, I learned that placement, verbiage and other simple actions can inspire consumers to take action.
We see these nudges each day when we visit the register of a store and there are batteries, mints, magazines etc. within easy reach just in case we “need” them. Placement of fruit and vegetables in school cafeterias has been proven to increase intake by children. As a traveler, I get nudged when I visit Hotels.com and the popup says “3 people just booked this room” or when the Delta site says “3 seats left at this price.” By adding these sorts of nudges to your dealership site, you can affect much greater conversion rates.
Car buyers visiting dealership websites appreciate the ability to chat when necessary. I recall chatting on the lot all the time with prospects on their lunch breaks and then seeing them come back again and again to buy because they enjoyed the low pressure of these conversations. Make a sincere effort to provide help with your chats and not only will you see increases in your site conversions, you’ll also see an increase in your showroom visitors.
Even if you don’t like pop-up coupons yourself, analytics will support that consumers are intrigued by them depending on where they are in the shopping process. Of particular benefit to dealerships are pop-up coupons that reward consumers for coming in for a test drive. These action oriented “nudges” are a good investment for dealers. They allow you to capitalize on more casual shoppers who surprise themselves when they stop by for a test drive to receive their $25 or $50 gift card and drive away in a new vehicle.
Retarget to create Digital Be-backs
I’ve seen where the average conversion rates on dealership websites are in the 2 – 3 % range, which means 97 – 98% of our site visitors don’t convert on their first visit. When you implement a retargeting campaign to tempt car buyers to revisit your site with well orchestrated ad placements you’ll find these digital be-backs convert at closer to 10%. Use this don’t ever give up philosophy and you’ll continue to see increases in your website conversion rate.
Before you join the chorus of dealers who suggest that websites are not converting as they used to keep in mind that Amazon and other leading retailers are seeing continued growth. If they are not converting at your site, perform an analysis and focus on what actions you need to take to improve conversion. I believe you’ll be impressed with your ability to Nudge your website visitors to engage with your dealership.
If I can ever be of service, please feel free to ask me any questions. I’d be glad to assist you on your journey to the top.