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Is the Secret Sauce Spoiled?

JessicaRuth

Sr. Refresher
Nov 4, 2012
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Jessica
Did you read JD's latest article in the blog? if not - you can find it here.

Fresh off the recent round of Fall conferences, JD Rucker himself is feeling fresh and optimistic for our industry. (Me, too)

Except for one thing...

Just like the drawer full of goods you bought because you were going to start juicing, JD found a certain stank amongst the conference air. It was coming from the vendors peddling their spoiled secret sauce.

So, what is spoiled secret sauce, you ask:

"When a company says that they use proprietary technology to drive traffic, increase leads, or generate sales, it scares me. What could they possibly be doing that’s so secret that if others knew about it their whole model would crumble?

Websites are websites. Some are better than others, but nobody has a hidden backdoor to drive more traffic to it from search engines. Nobody is generating more leads through a hypnotic set of flashes that forces people to leave their name and phone number. Nobody is using the magic code that projects inventory directly into people’s brains."

Do you smell it, too? What should we do about that?
 

craigh

Super Moderator
May 19, 2011
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Craig
I spoke with various website vendors at Digital Dealer and at Driving Sales.
I heard many interesting things, including these refrences to great secret techniques.
However, the thing I heard more of than anything was "Responsive Websites" and how this was the latest and greatest thing and how it redefines everything about their websites, etc.

I was very disappointed in how similar vendor templates are getting now that everyone is pushing this responsive idea.
Not only that, but half the responsive demos weren't even working correctly. The DealerFire sales manager was doing a presentation and showing their responsive websites and said, "Sorry, the resolution of this screen makes the website look funny".

I'm concerned about the "secret sauce", but I'm even more concerned about all the companies using Responsive as a crutch to move forward. Resizable width of your website doesn't make it responsive - it's a site-wide effort that has to adapt all aspects of the website.
 

Alex Snyder

President Skroob
May 1, 2006
2,804
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Alex
Responsive websites are extremely difficult to pull off. They're even harder to scale. It seems there are only hundreds deployed in the automotive space; not the thousands that there should be if were really the great technology people are stating.

If responsive is so great then why isn't it employed by the major ecommerce sites who have the resources to best pull it off? For example: Amazon, Best Buy, Apple. Why aren't our own OEMs using it?

In my personal usage I can only think of two websites I resize my browser for: YouTube and Netflix. I do this depending on whether I'm multitasking while watching. Outside of resizing I much prefer a truly mobile-optimized experience (whether that be a site for my device or an app) with the option to jump to the full site. Of course, these are my personal shopping behaviors ....but I haven't seen many of the thousands of consumer tests, performed by Dealer.com, indicate my habits are much different than anyone else's.
 

Alex Snyder

President Skroob
May 1, 2006
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Alex
P.S. (actually, let's call this a Joe Pistell-5-different-posts-for-the-same-thought-path :) post) Secret Sauce = People.
 
Reactions: 3 people

craigh

Super Moderator
May 19, 2011
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Craig
Responsive websites are extremely difficult to pull off. They're even harder to scale. It seems there are only hundreds deployed in the automotive space; not the thousands that there should be if were really the great technology people are stating.

If responsive is so great then why isn't it employed by the major ecommerce sites who have the resources to best pull it off? For example: Amazon, Best Buy, Apple. Why aren't our own OEMs using it?

In my personal usage I can only think of two websites I resize my browser for: YouTube and Netflix. I do this depending on whether I'm multitasking while watching. Outside of resizing I much prefer a truly mobile-optimized experience (whether that be a site for my device or an app) with the option to jump to the full site. Of course, these are my personal shopping behaviors ....but I haven't seen many of the thousands of consumer tests, performed by Dealer.com, indicate my habits are much different than anyone else's.
I can't agree more.
The solution that I explain to people, which seems to make sense to them, is that you should have a desktop website and then a responsive mobile site. This is the whole mentality. The number one argument I heard against adaptive websites (including from people representing large website providers) was that they couldn't keep up with making mobile sites for every new phone that came out.

What? Since when did mobile sites ever have to be exactly sized to any number of phones.
Make a dedicated desktop website that has all the power, good looks, organization and creative freedom of being a full site.
Then, make a mobile site that scales between all phones of any type and is mobile friendly, accessible, etc.

It's not rocket science, but I truly believe they're almost all doing it wrong.
Even worse, once they give the client control over the responsive site the client can easily kill everything responsive by adding unfriendly elements, pages, etc. It's a slippery slope.
 
Reactions: 2 people

ewalraven

Refresher
Mar 23, 2010
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Good article.

I feel like it's been this way for years now. Everybody wants to get on board, but they always want to cut corners. Whether that be: not implementing (or hiring the correct people for) a proper follow up, rolling out a pricing strategy, choosing the $500/mo website because it gets the job done​, etc.

I'm still marking it up to lack of knowledge and a bit of laziness on the decision makers part.

There's still the the top 1% that are doing it right and will always be ahead of the curve, but then you'll have the others that are just trying to copycat, cut corners, and do it for less.
 
Reactions: 1 person

craigh

Super Moderator
May 19, 2011
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Craig
There's still the the top 1% that are doing it right and will always be ahead of the curve, but then you'll have the others that are just trying to copycat, cut corners, and do it for less.
This is exactly what I'm seeing.
"Oh. They did responsive and they're advertising it. Google says responsive is better. We better do responsive." - Management to Project Lead
"How quickly can we do responsive websites?" - Project Lead to Team

And then it's just a messy slope of lazy attempts, stealing ideas, poor implementation, etc.
 
Reactions: 1 person

Manny Luna

Refresher
Apr 10, 2011
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Manny
The secret sauce still works, I say share the secret sauce with your clients and let them give it a try a time or two. If they can't handle the boiling water and it gets to hot in the kitchen, that's when the vendor gets involved to help.

Real people doing the hard work from A to Z is the secret sauce!

Re-post: P.S. (actually, let's call this a Joe Pistell-5-different-posts-for-the-same-thought-path :) post) Secret Sauce = People.
 
Last edited:

ewalraven

Refresher
Mar 23, 2010
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This is exactly what I'm seeing.
"Oh. They did responsive and they're advertising it. Google says responsive is better. We better do responsive." - Management to Project Lead
"How quickly can we do responsive websites?" - Project Lead to Team

And then it's just a messy slope of lazy attempts, stealing ideas, poor implementation, etc.
[Forward to a few weeks later after roll out ...]

"Are we still doing that responsive thing? Lets go back to the old way." - Decision Maker to Vendor
 

craigh

Super Moderator
May 19, 2011
1,666
1,080
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Craig
[Forward to a few weeks later after roll out ...]

"Are we still doing that responsive thing? Lets go back to the old way." - Decision Maker to Vendor
Or onto the next "trend". I wish providers would focus more on what matters (customers finding the information they want, securing an interest in a vehicle online, etc) instead of things like responsive templates and dealer gimmicks.