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How to Build Online Experiences That Keep Shoppers Coming Back

Girl sitting on the floor with a laptop raising his arms with a look of success

Shoppers are only visiting 1.6 dealerships in person. That’s down from 5 dealerships in 2004. And that’s because they’re shopping around online, not just for the right car, but the right dealership. In fact, on average, buyers spend close to 9 hours online, researching. The majority of their time is spent on third party websites such as Edmunds or KBB, but the next place they sink their hours is on dealership websites.

Dealership websites help shoppers accomplish a variety of tasks. Find a great car. Find a good price. Find a dealer they trust. And they shop around online to find the right dealership to accomplish all these goals. Many shoppers will see your site, but not all of them will remember it, or decide to come back.

We’ve talked about how traditional website success metrics aren’t enough, and the new metrics you can use to measure customer experience. What follows is a breakdown of exactly how to, like the title of this blog post says, build online experiences that keep shoppers coming back.

How do you do that? By building customer experience into everything your website does.

 

Understand CX

CX is part-science, part-art, and all based on fully understanding the customer. Building an online experience that brings shoppers back, not just from considering a competitor, but even for a second or third sale, depends on knowing what car shoppers want, and how your website does at giving them what they want. As we went over in our new metrics post, there are a variety of ways to measure your CX performance. Measure, and analyze the results, and make sure you are focused on the following:

 

Design

Improving design isn’t just about making your website prettier. If shoppers seem to take long times to complete tasks, flounder around looking for the right CTA, or just straight up bounce the second they get a good look at the page, your design might need work. Clean, professional design looks nice, but really good design can also forge an emotional connection with the shopper. And what gets people to come back time and again, if not emotion.

 

Trust

Nobody likes doing business with someone they don’t trust, and distrust is one of the easiest ways to lose a shopper for good. If they don’t trust your dealership based on what they’ve seen on your website, they’ll leave and find a website they do trust. It can be hard to pinpoint what aspects of a website aren’t communicating trust, but it can involve price accuracy, reviews and testimonials (or lack thereof), design, and dealership style. It really can be as simple as the description text for a car being too obviously copy and paste, and containing too many ALL CAPS DECLARATIONS and over-the-top punctuation!!!!! Great. Now we just lost some credibility. But it was only as an example of how something as minor as a few extra exclamation points can really undermine a shopper’s likelihood to come back and do business. Going over each of these carefully and evaluating them for untrustworthiness is essential to maximizing CX, and thus, getting shoppers back to your website.

 

Usability

Usability isn’t sexy. It doesn’t have the emotional glitter of design or the instinct-level bond of trust, but it is shockingly important if you want shoppers returning to your website. Usability issues can plague an otherwise good website and drag it down to the level of an early 90’s monstrosity. Thankfully, usability is also one of the easiest things to measure and fix. If you do nothing else, you should be focusing on website usability. A good website that is easy to use might not make a dazzling first impression, but it will feel good to use, and that feeling alone will drive repeat visits.

 

Conclusion

Good CX translates to loyalty. Loyalty is a reflection of how well you have designed your website, optimized it for usability, and earned a shopper’s trust. If you’ve done these things well – you can expect that shoppers will remember your website in the course of their car shopping research.