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Website Vendors

Rob

Boss
Apr 9, 2011
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Rob
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

Honest assessment:

Photo quality is on par with the competition. It is not substantially better or worse. I would like a photo booth to take things up a notch, but it's not in the cards.

Both new and used vehicles get photographed. We are at roughly 75% of new units photographed. 100% would be better.

Vehicle Options - New cars: 99.95% accurate. I do them myself, and I am thorough to a fault. *So* important. Used Cars: Probably 80% accurate. We could do better there.

Quality comments on VDP's: Better than many, not as good as some.

Price Display: Due to state law, the only approve manner to display pricing is like so:

MSRP
Discount
Sale Price (pre-rebate)
Rebate

We aren't allowed to display a Sale Price / Today's Price / Etc that includes *any* rebate. It's awesome and super not confusing for customers.

Specials - we only do OK.

So yeah, there are things on our current site that could improve for sure. But year over year as I watch traffic go up, I watch VDP's go down, leads go down, calls go down, sales go down.

If fewer and fewer customers even make it to the VDP's where most of the "difference makers" live, then I'm not sure how powerful those items are. Sure, I guess I could clutter up our SRP's with all sorts of information, but that's not great for customers either.
 

craigh

Super Moderator
May 19, 2011
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1,281
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Craig
Sounds to me like you've got a solid process and just need a great website to wrap around it.
Make sure your vendor doesn't restrict your ability to showcase how good your process is.
  • Make sure those features are prominent if they're hand written and accurate
  • Make sure those photos are big - no sense in great photos if they're polaroid sized
  • Make sure they allow you to improve on your specials/promotions
If you can't afford a photo booth and want to change it up, checkout SpinCar
 

umer.autojini

Rust & Dust
Apr 13, 2009
164
43
First Name
U
@Rob The traffic going up and leads going down is a concerning... have you tried doing a in-depth analysis on the current site before switching vendors. I would recommend running though Annie Crushing's Site Audit checklist...

http://goo.gl/S6Nndb
(File > Make a Copy)


It will give you in-depth on where the current site is lacking and things you can get fixed...
 
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joe.pistell

Uncle Joe
Apr 7, 2009
4,076
1,583
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Joe
Honest assessment:

Photo quality is on par with the competition. It is not substantially better or worse. I would like a photo booth to take things up a notch, but it's not in the cards.

Both new and used vehicles get photographed. We are at roughly 75% of new units photographed. 100% would be better.

Vehicle Options - New cars: 99.95% accurate. I do them myself, and I am thorough to a fault. *So* important. Used Cars: Probably 80% accurate. We could do better there.

Quality comments on VDP's: Better than many, not as good as some.

Price Display: Due to state law, the only approve manner to display pricing is like so:

MSRP
Discount
Sale Price (pre-rebate)
Rebate

We aren't allowed to display a Sale Price / Today's Price / Etc that includes *any* rebate. It's awesome and super not confusing for customers.

Specials - we only do OK.

So yeah, there are things on our current site that could improve for sure. But year over year as I watch traffic go up, I watch VDP's go down, leads go down, calls go down, sales go down.

If fewer and fewer customers even make it to the VDP's where most of the "difference makers" live, then I'm not sure how powerful those items are. Sure, I guess I could clutter up our SRP's with all sorts of information, but that's not great for customers either.

Rob, a great & thoughtful reply. I'll invest more effort to help you.
 

joe.pistell

Uncle Joe
Apr 7, 2009
4,076
1,583
First Name
Joe
1st Rob,I was taken back by the quality of your review. I wanted to know more about you and your store. I found your personal site http://robmalanowski.com/ & my instincts are confirmed, you're waaaayyy smarter than the average Internet Manager :yabuddy:

Next, I found your dealer's website. I see lots and lots of 'cause & effect'.

I see 6 Franchises, you're at Nissan only? Are you focused on your store alone, or, the group?

Let's visit your website, as seen thru the eyes of a shopper who's looking at your dedicated Nissan site only...

Shopper User Story*:
"My Ford Explorer lease is up and I was about to lease another well equipped Explorer, but, my brother loves his Nissan and we took a drive in it last weekend. I must admit, it was really nice. I'll be turning in my Explorer lease next week, before I get another Explorer, I'd like to go to the local Nissan dealer site and see if there's anything that catches my eye...

So, what we have is a shopper that's going to buy a new ride next week. The shopper knows very little about Nissans (he doesn't know much about Fords either;-) . He visits your website to see if he can find a well equipped Nissan SUV in the same class as the Explorer, with a price & lease payment in the same range as his Explorer. If he sees something that's close, he plans to visit your store.

Our User's Story cont'd:
"I arrive at the dealer's nissan website, the model names presented to me mean nothing to me... Juke? Murano?... I can't recall the model name that by brother has, but, I remember what it looks like. These search facets aren't helping me. Minutes later, I look under the "Body Style" and I find SUV! I don't know what a Juke or a Mirano is so I choose to see them all. I see you've got 224 new nissan SUV's in stock, this is awesome! After about 5 minutes of looking at pictures, I see that the Armada looks to be the right size. Now, I want to find a loaded one (like my Explorer). I want to find an Armada with 3rd row, back up camera, roof, 4wd, Nav, XM, leather (hot & cold), and I prefer silver or white. I go back to the search tool and none of these features are there. You've got 9 Armadas, so I click the 1st one. I scroll thru the pics looking for some eye candy. Moonroof? Nope. 3rd Row? Nope. Nav,XM,Backup? Ahhh... I cant tell. I'll have to read this damn page. Ugh. I find the options tab and it's got nothing (FLOOR & CARGO MATS (5-PIECE SET), CROSS BARS, SPLASH GUARDS). THis dealer has 8 more to see, but I'm 15 mins into this and my lunch break is over and I've only seen one car!

I ask myself, will I find an Armada that is well equipped with a lease price near my Explorer? If I find one that I like, I don't see any lease prices... this is getting complicated...."

User Story thoughts:
Do you think our shopper will return to your site? Will our shopper call you? Will our shopper stop in to your store?

From my seat, no, no & no.


Vendor Selection TakeAways:
If you find this user story tool helpful, ask each vendor to send you links to their best nissan site(s) and use the user story I've built to 'walk thru the site' to see if this user would have been satisfied.

[edit] It's funny how we consider 'time on site' as a positive outcome, yet, from a shopper's POV, 'time on site' is not always a win. Shoppers expect your site to make them faster & smarter [end edit].


HTH
-Uncle Joe


*A 'user story' is a tool that's used in software design.
 
Last edited:

Rob

Boss
Apr 9, 2011
123
62
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1
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Rob
Thanks Joe. Sometimes I think I'm smarter than the average bear, and sometimes that gets me in a lot of trouble.

Nissan only - I don't have any say on the other makes.

Reading through your response... you always seem to have a way of taking what I'm thinking about the car business and putting into a clear idea. I can imagine this exact situation playing out, and ending badly for us.

Sounds like I have some work to do. Wish me luck.
 

Rob

Boss
Apr 9, 2011
123
62
Awards
1
First Name
Rob
Alright folks; let's bring this thread back from the dead.

If you're launching a brand new point (not an existing store, not a buy / sell), and are free from OEM mandated vendors, which website vendor do you choose and why?

Only goal: best overall product. Support is important, but great support doesn't make up for a poor platform. DIY-friendly preferred. WordPress based is a plus, but by no means a must.

I have a strong favorite at this point, but I'll save that for later. I want to see if there are any that I'm not aware of / underestimating.
 
Mar 21, 2012
477
580
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Ryan
Alright folks; let's bring this thread back from the dead.

If you're launching a brand new point (not an existing store, not a buy / sell), and are free from OEM mandated vendors, which website vendor do you choose and why?

Only goal: best overall product. Support is important, but great support doesn't make up for a poor platform. DIY-friendly preferred. WordPress based is a plus, but by no means a must.

I have a strong favorite at this point, but I'll save that for later. I want to see if there are any that I'm not aware of / underestimating.
Dealer Inspire and 321 Ignition would be my top 2 choices today
 
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