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Best dealership website you've seen?

Discussion in 'Websites, SEO, SEM, Display, Social, Marketing' started by tomfohr, Mar 20, 2013.

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  1. tomfohr

    tomfohr
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    Anytime I go to make changes to my website I always end up on a search to find the "ultimate car dealer website" and almost always end up disappointed. While there are A LOT of pretty decent dealer sites out there.... Almost all of them seem to be missing something, scattered and poorly laid out, or just incomplete. It makes me wonder... Do any of us car guys REALLY get it when it comes to eCommerce? As much as I'd like to think we do.... I think we are quite far off.

    For example, on pretty much any eCommerce website, what is the most commonly used feature and almost the heart of the website? The search bar right? Isn't this where at least 90% of the eCommerce sales begin? I know for me it is... Anytime I am shopping on eBay or Amazon the first thing I do is punch what I'm looking for into the search.

    Yet, as car dealers do we have FULLY functional search bars and is the the main focus of our homepage? I know my answer is no. Shouldn't a customer be able to punch in whatever it is they are looking for into a search bar and easily access our inventory? Whether it be a make, model, option, color, engine size, transmission, ect... Shouldn't this be a basic feature of a car dealer website?

    What are the best dealer websites you have seen?
    What other eCommerce features are we missing as car dealers?
     
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  3. yagoparamo

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    Out of my designs, some I like some I don't, some dealers listen to what I've to say and some don't (I've some that are not really good but the dealer won't let me change it!).

    This one was a dealer's idea and a lot of work from one of my guys, Nick Gorton.

    I'm happy with looks, functionality, and so far increased conversion:

    Foothills Toyota
     
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  4. Mitch Gallant

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    It's a dangerous hunt isn't it? I find myself doing the exact same thing. You hit on search and I agree. We just went through a redesign and search was on my list of to-do's with DealerOn, and I spent a while looking over amazon and how they display search on different product types and categories... I think they're the ultimate site to look to for ideas, although straight up emulation is dangerous as car sales is a different scope.) We haven't implemented but it's on the list of to-do's. I think we're both scared of how much work it will be to do it right...

    A feature I think dealer sites are missing are reviews of the products. Wouldn't it be great if we could ask customers to review the car along with dealer rater/google/yelp etc for the dealership and have an outlet for that on our VDP's. I know I use product reviews all the time on powerhouse ecom sites e.g. ebay, amazon, bhphoto.

    I think the ultimate site search needs to be for the best converting sites so the subjective "ooooh that's nice" doesn't get in the way of selling cars and user experience. I've been guilty of HAVING to have a flash widget section with car driving through the site pulling a banner... probably cost sales... RIP flash car; 2006-2007
     
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  5. csabatka1

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  6. ed.brooks

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    No discussion about the best dealer websites would be complete with a mention of Ling Valentine and LingsCars.com.

    Ling is proof that dealership websites don't have to take themselves too seriously. She has fun and the site WORKS.
     
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  7. csabatka1

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    To really get to know what your customers want and will use needs to be done with on-site research, analytics, and a-b testing. You can't rely too heavily on data given to you for what has worked with other dealers, every shopper base in every city/region is different. There are some general best practices you can apply, but research, analyze and implement what is best for your unique dealership.

    Our three cities we are in are within 2 states, GI is 95 miles from Lincoln, and St. Joe is 140 miles to Lincoln and 235 to GI. In the midwest, those are pretty close distances and our shoppers for each location are entirely different. Generally speaking, St Joe tends to be used cars and deals under $10k, GI is mixed used and new, Lincoln is almost all new. Their traffic and ways they navigate are completely different too. Lincoln uses quick search, GI uses navigation, St Joe hammers the Deals Under $10k button.

    I tried a search with all options, Year, Make, Model, Trim, Color, Drivetrain, Price, etc. But found a very, very small percentage used anything more than Make, Model, Price, and/or Keyword so I brought our quick search down to just those.
     
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  8. joe.pistell

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  9. joe.pistell

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    Tom,

    Your's looks pretty through. What needs improvement?
    Antioch Illinois Ford Dealer | Kunes Country Ford of Antioch | New Ford, Used Cars, Trucks, SUVs in IL


    Did you Heat Map it yet? MUST DO!
    Suggest: Crazy Egg ? Visualize where your visitors click


    Where's your chat?
    I highly recommend it. I especially recommend managed chat. Your lead count will jump and the data you get back will be very helpful in design. See my chat homework here: Is Your Dealership Website Chat Used or Abused?


    HTH
    Joe
     
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  10. Alex Snyder

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    Pistell and I talk about this a lot. It drives our technologist co-workers nuts, but Ling truly has some amazingly engaging elements to her site. I wouldn't suggest fully copying it or taking it totally at face value, but spend some time in there and really look at it from a consumer perspective. Once you get past the shiny lights, Ling actually delivers worthy content :thumbup:
     
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  11. LINGsCARS

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    Thanks so much, Ed. :)

    My view is that you have to entertain people. Few other websites do that.

    But look, people go to Disney to be entertained, people turn on TV to be entertained, they come to this forum for entertainment ... but motor dealers in UK and USA etc really don't get that customers want to be entertained at all. They think it's about the cars.

    Of course the cars are important, but it's not all about the cars, prices, info etc. It's about emotion and trust. And if someone feels good, and stays on your website quite a while, and feels they get to know you, with everything else in alignment then they are likely to order a car. A car is a massive order for a website to make.

    So, stop worrying about "professional" stuff, and just make visitors feel good.

    I had my highest ever sales day yesterday - I took £8000 ($12000) in commissions on sales yesterday. Things are going from strength to strength. Commissions this year (April 12 to March 13) will show $1m income (gross profit) from pure website sales (I don't even speak to customers on phone, it's all done online). I do not buy cars, hold stock or have a physical dealership. So, it works.

    It helps the car dealers in the UK are stuck in the stone age and many are subservient to AutoTrader which creates them "free" sites - a deadly mistake for them.

    Hope this helps, just be a bit crazy and make your visitors have fun.


    Ling :)
     
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