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Website Vendors

Rob

Boss
Apr 9, 2011
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Rob
Let's say you were near the end of your relationship with your current website vendor, or to keep things simpler, were starting a website for a brand new store... (In fact, let's assume that it's #2.)

Is there a particular vendor(s) you would consider first, or a particular vendor(s) you would avoid?

The one that keeps coming up at the top of my list *seems* great on the surface, but I also keep hearing about support nightmares.

Thanks!

P.S. I know there are lots of old threads on this subject / similar subjects. They are valuable, but things change with time, so I'm hoping for some current responses.
 
Get Podium
Jan 13, 2015
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Ryan
Hey Rob,

I'm sure everyone would have the same questions I do like:
  • What kind of dealer is this (new/used)?
  • If new, which franchise, and/or what OEM restrictions might there be?
  • What DON'T you like about your current vendor?
  • What DO you like?
All vendors bring something different to the table, so it's important to know what your objectives are.
 

Rob

Boss
Apr 9, 2011
123
62
Awards
1
First Name
Rob
Hey Rob,

I'm sure everyone would have the same questions I do like:
  • What kind of dealer is this (new/used)?
  • If new, which franchise, and/or what OEM restrictions might there be?
  • What DON'T you like about your current vendor?
  • What DO you like?
All vendors bring something different to the table, so it's important to know what your objectives are.
Hi Ryan,

Boy, I forgot some basic stuff like I was a new guy.

New car dealer. Lots of restrictions on design elements, no current vendor restrictions.

Current vendor has made no updates in years, with no overhaul planned. Site looks & feels very dated. Even as site traffic goes up, VDPs & repeat visits go down. Support is sometimes ok, sometimes good.

What do I like? Well, staying put means infinitely less work, so that's nice. The site is not terrible. It looks decent on mobile.

I want a site that makes people want to call / email / come in / buy a car / mail us money / etc.
 

craigh

Super Moderator
May 19, 2011
1,797
1,281
First Name
Craig
How important is differentiation from your competition?

I find one of the most important aspects of vendors today is that unique factor.

ie: DealerInspire makes awesome sites, but they can be identified before the homepage finishes loading because they only have a few structural layouts, etc.

If you don't mind that, far more options that are quite good. Prices are going down and quality is going up as competition breeds.
 

jeffwallen

Lot Lizard
Apr 15, 2009
25
5
First Name
Jeff
Talk to your customers, learn how you can fulfill their needs faster when shopping. You would be surprised how frustrated customers get with things we take for granted in our bubble.
 

Rob

Boss
Apr 9, 2011
123
62
Awards
1
First Name
Rob
How important is differentiation from your competition?

I find one of the most important aspects of vendors today is that unique factor.

ie: DealerInspire makes awesome sites, but they can be identified before the homepage finishes loading because they only have a few structural layouts, etc.

If you don't mind that, far more options that are quite good. Prices are going down and quality is going up as competition breeds.

Almost everyone one of my major competitors uses the same vendor, and they seem to be doing ok for themselves. I like the idea of differentiation, but far more than that, I want the best possible website. If that means it looks like everyone else's, I am at peace with that.
 

craigh

Super Moderator
May 19, 2011
1,797
1,281
First Name
Craig
Almost everyone one of my major competitors uses the same vendor, and they seem to be doing ok for themselves. I like the idea of differentiation, but far more than that, I want the best possible website. If that means it looks like everyone else's, I am at peace with that.

Good answer :)
You've put business before personal preference and that's important.

As you go through, start a checklist of things you want and need, but also make a list of things that you don't want or need.

My own list:

Wants
- Responsive
- Large, high quality inventory photos
- Fast loading homepage
- solid, functional inventory search, filtering and sorting
- fast and effective Service Booking
- custom inventory types

Don't Wants
- Video homepage
- iFrame solutions
- templated department pages

etc.

I'm a bit biased, but when I do consulting I try and help them identify these items, then I go back through the list and identify the rationale behind each item. Often times I find they are way further off mark than you are and they're making decisions based on what they, as an industry veteran, want from their website based on how they shop and browse.

I also recommend A/B testing and ensuring your vendor plays nice with other vendors - don't let your website vendor limit your selection of business vendors.
 
  • 1Like
Reactions: Gayle Rogers
Jan 13, 2015
20
16
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1
First Name
Ryan
I don't remember where I heard it, but someone said "If everyone does business the same way, the one who spends the most money wins." With that said, I believe in a unique experience, as long as it's not SO off-the-wall that it's confusing to your customers (you can still get that experience using the same vendor as your competitors).

Another thing you may want to consider is how much access vendors may/may not give you. If you want to tweak something, can you do it yourself? Or does it have to go up through support (and if so, how long does that take, and is that ok with you)?
 

umer.autojini

Rust & Dust
Apr 13, 2009
164
43
First Name
U
As long as you have good/simple navigation, right traffic, have a good inventory mix, quality photos you are going to get the leads. If you don't have the right inventory for the market, crappy photos no matter how good the site, it is not going to convert.

Generally speaking most sites from vendors are going end up looking pretty much the same... and the main reason for that is we don't want the visitor to be sitting their and guessing how to use the site...

Major gripe as vendor I have is majority of the dealers we do sites for I don't hear from on a regular basis... I would love a 30-60 min bi-weekly (or at least monthly) call to go over the online marketing... look at the analytic, look at the leads, brain storm the promotions etc.

Now regarding the support issues... sometimes the problem their is... waiting till the last min for a change... i.e if you are going to be running a promotion... and you need something changed... don't email the day the promotion, that this needs to be done.
 

joe.pistell

Uncle Joe
Apr 7, 2009
4,076
1,583
First Name
Joe
I want a site that makes people want to call / email / come in / buy a car / mail us money / etc.

Rob, we haven't seen your current site. A great website is a tool that allows your store to show off your inventory and tell the world "why your different and why buy from Rob".

This takes a lot of work. How would you judge your efforts so far?
  • Photo quality (vs your competition)
  • Photo new units?
  • Vehicle Options Accuracy (soooo many dealers over look this this cluster f**k)
  • Quality Vehicle comments on VDPs?
  • Price Display Detailed? (i.e. A-B=C MSRP-Rebate-Dealer Discount = Today's price)
  • Specials or Clearance (i.e. managers discounts)

Be sure your vendor has the tools & support to help you make this work faster and better. Also, get a demo on all of these tools. Sometimes they have them, but, they're a PIA to use.

HTH
-Uncle Joe