For car dealers, the benefits of a state-of-the-art website aren’t always clear. Does a customer really care that much about the website experience?
A quick look at your website analytics will reveal some telling insights. What if the data reveals that massive swaths of customers are finding your website but leaving at a record pace before they’ve even had a chance to browse your inventory?
You only have one chance to make a first impression, as the saying goes. Car shoppers are going online more frequently and their research spans around 14 hours according to the 2019 Cox Automotive Car Buyer Journey Study. But a poor user experience on your website can immediately turn an interested prospect into a frustrated one, and frustrated shoppers will usually seek out a smoother experience with one of your competitors.
So, what’s going on? Here are four common problems that you might need to address.
1. Your vehicle description pages take too long to load
Customers aren’t patient and a page that takes longer than a couple of seconds to load can feel like an eternity by today’s standards. According to the Aberdeen Group, a customer is 40% more likely to leave your website when a page takes more than three seconds to load. The rate of abandonment grows quickly from there. Pages that take too long to load are quite often due to high-resolution images and other bandwidth-hogging content.
Pro tip: Keep your design as simple as possible while still being engaging and compelling. Full-screen images should be no larger than 1MB and other images should be about 300kb. Test your website’s performance with the PageSpeed Insights tool from Google. Along with testing the speed, this tool provides insights into how to optimize your webpages.
2. Your homepage navigation is too busy
Speed isn’t the only thing that matters on a website.
The phrase “content is king” speaks to the idea that the information on your website is all-important. It may seem obvious, but users need to be able to discover the information they’re looking for, and that’s not always as simple as it should be.
On mobile, the little hamburger menu often maps out a website clearly. On desktop, the drop-down menus are often full of overwhelming information. A new page for each model release, for example, clutters up the inventory drop-down. Separate staff pages for each department can do the same thing.
Pro tip: Usability testing can help determine when users have a tough time navigating your website. A tester can go through typical processes on your site and then submit a report on how user-friendly it is with suggestions for improvement. It comes at a price but it’s well worth it to determine where you’re losing traffic.
3. Your landing pages are unclear or not relevant
Paid search is a powerful tool for generating website traffic through ad placements on search engines and social media platforms. Ideally, these ads send interested users to a landing page on your dealership’s website. From there, the customer should have their curiosity piqued with simple-yet-compelling language that highlights your unique value proposition and a call to action.
This is yet another reason why content is king. The problem is that paid traffic often sends customers to a landing page that simply isn’t compelling. There’s too much jargon, it’s too busy, too wordy, or unclear what the customer needs to do next.
Great landing pages are crafted by skilled designers and populated by equally skilled conversion copywriters who know how to write words that motivate customers to act. Therefore, the content that a user immediately sees on the landing page needs to be contextually relevant, visually focused, and to the point using simple, concise language.
It’s crucial that the landing page is relevant to the user’s original search. Should the content not match their intention, there’s little chance you’ll keep them on your site for long. Make sure that the keyword ad they click on takes them to a landing page that directly addresses their needs.
Pro tip: Put special emphasis on your landing pages. Every detail including the simple layout, alluring visuals, attention-grabbing header, concise-yet-compelling copy, and a clear call-to-action combine to make it easy to see you have the solution and what the customer needs to do next.
4. Your digital presence isn’t mobile-friendly
A J.D. Power study from a few years ago showed that more than half of shoppers are using their smartphones to search for cars. In spite of this, many dealers continue to focus their efforts on the desktop version of their website.
Search your site on the PageSpeed Insights tool. You’ll notice that both mobile and desktop results can be viewed. While mobile may score a little lower than desktop, our test found that the average dealership’s mobile experience tests at around one-third the score of desktop. That’s not healthy.
A responsive website restructures content in a simplified format for effortless viewing and navigation on a mobile device. If your website isn’t responsive, a new customer might find it clunky and hard to use. This bad experience usually results in a lost customer.
In conclusion: TL;DR
To sum it up, websites that make customers wait, involve effort, or have a clunky and/or cluttered design that hides what they need are in essence like saying “we don’t want your business, go somewhere else”. The customer will happily oblige.
Invest in a better digital presence today and reap the benefits tomorrow.
Optimize your digital presence with Canada Drives
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Interested in getting more online leads for your dealership? Connect with one of our consultants today to learn more!