The automotive world is reshaping itself around a new power that is driving sales: online customer experience. But rallying around a general concept is one thing, and actually applying it are two different things. Revolutionizing your dealership’s online customer experience can be a daunting task. That’s why, in this article, we’ve laid the delicious details on some tools that are leading the online CX revolution.
Let’s get started with one of the most visible and powerful tools you have available — AMP Pages:
Dealership Website Tool #1: AMP Pages
Speed is the currency of online success (well, customer experience is, but the two are intrinsically linked), and that becomes even more essential on mobile. That’s why innovative minds came together to create AMP Pages.
We’re sure you’ve seen these before:
Those look familiar, right? Of course. So here’s a little bit about AMP.
AMP pages are part of an initiative by Google to improve mobile internet experience, starting with slashing loading times for mobile pages. They do this by providing an open source framework for these ultra-fast pages, and design principles to guide creators.
Here are the AMP design principles:
- User Experience > Developer Experience > Ease of Implementation: Always do what is best for user experience — over the developer or how easy it would be to accomplish
- Only do things if they can be made fast:
- Don’t design for a hypothetical faster future browser:
- Prioritize things that improve the user experience — but compromise when needed:
- Don’t break the web: graceful degradation, something should still work if the
- AMP cache fails.
- No whitelists: no special treatment
- Solve problems on the right layer: Don’t do something on the developer side when it would be better for user experience to do it on the server side
Honestly, all of these are great website design principles — many are practices we apply to our own website building. But they’re particularly applicable to mobile experiences and the AMP design.
For dealerships, AMP implementation has a variety of challenges, namely requiring coding and web design knowledge. That’s why we created Rocket Pages. This is a dealership website tool that allows you to automatically create AMP-capable versions of your most important mobile pages — your VDPs and Hours and Directions page.
Want to radically improve your mobile experience without having to learn a new career? Check out Rocket Pages on Jazel Automotive Websites.
Still curious about AMP? Learn everything you need to know (plus some extra useful tips) in our webinar: “How Does AMP Impact Your Dealership’s Bottom Line?”
Dealership Website Tool #2: Behavior-Based-Targeting (BBT)
If you’re involved in dealership website marketing at all, we’re sure you’ve heard the term “relevance” — among other things, it’s an essential SEO ranking factor. In SEO, Relevance means how well a search result matches the user’s needs. When a shopper looks for “new Toyota Highlander for sale,” they should see local dealership results (both organic and advertised) for new Highlanders, not gourmet hot dogs (as delicious as they may be, there’s no relevance there). Less ridiculous and more common are mistakes that crop up in other ways because, naturally, relevance matters beyond search.
Shoppers want relevance wherever they go online — whether that’s their social media news feed, the search results on a Google page, or your dealership website. Here’s the effect relevance has for shoppers:
- 59% of shoppers who have experienced customized online experiences believe it has a noticeable influence on purchasing
- 86% of consumers say that customized experiences online play at least some role in their purchase decisions.
- 73% of customers prefer to do business with brands that make their shopping experiences more relevant
- 45% of online shoppers are more likely to shop on a site that offers personalized recommendations.
Not only does making experiences more relevant make customers happier, it has a marked effect on sales:
Research from MCKinsey found that online personalization can result in a 5-8x ROI for marketing spend and lift sales by 10% or more. In another study, a more relevant online experience has been found to lead to a 67% increase in transaction value, a 300% increase in conversion rate, and 7% annual revenue increase.
Additionally, while delighting shoppers with awesome personal experiences is a fantastic strategy, not providing a relevant experience, or worse, showing your shopper something irrelevant, can mean that:
- 32% of customers will stop visiting your website
- 20% will stop doing business with your brand,
- 13% will complain to someone else or on social media.
So alright, enough about relevance, what’s the dealership website tool to provide this? Behavior-Based Targeting (BBT). This dealership website technology is built to adapt content on your website to fit what your shopper is interested in.
Here’s how it works in three simple (yet awesome) steps:
Step #1: The shopper arrives at the dealership website and begins browsing — in this case with an easy search.
Step #2: The shopper browses the website, looking at their preferred vehicle types.
Step #3: BBT adapts site wide dynamic content to show the shopper relevant offers based on their behavior — in this case, an interest in Ford-150’s:
There you have it, BBT, a gorgeously simple yet tremendously powerful way to bring relevance to your dealership website. This is a project we offer with our dealership websites, and we have to say, it’s pretty exceptional. New features and abilities are making this particular dealership website tool even more powerful with every update.
For more about BBT, Jazel’s dealership solution for relevant online experiences, check out the full article here.
Dealership Website Tool #3: RealSearch
When we think about the current CX revolution in dealership website technology, search stands out as one of the most powerful and effective tools for dealership websites.
Search on dealership websites is so useful because, by the time that the user arrives at your site, search has already become a central part of their car-buying experience. Google reports that search, in fact, the most common source of information over word-of-mouth, TV ads, and dealership visits.
Dealers can benefit from this technological familiarity (and satisfy the shopper’s expectation) by implementing the same Google-style free-text search on their own dealership websites. Many dealership website search bars only allow search based on certain syntax or criteria, and don’t forgive typos or spelling errors (all too common with car models like Tucson). Free-text avoids those pitfalls by being just as flexible and powerful as the standard search engine search bar.
We provide this for our dealership websites via a tool called RealSearch. RealSearch is a free-text search bar for your website. Located in familiar locations on your homepage and search result pages, the RealSearch bar allows shoppers to find exactly what they are looking for. They can narrow their search to the car on your lot that meets their exact specifications.
Dealership Website Tool #4: Voice Search
So text search is essential for a modern dealership website, but voice search is another tool of powerful dealership websites. Don’t use voice search? Don’t assume you’re the only one. In fact, ComScore reports that by 2020 (less than two years, crazy as that seems), 50% of searches will be voice searches.
Again, this is a matter of what shoppers are familiar with, what they like using, and what they expect. Voice command/voice search ability is part of that. Car shoppers are used to using voice search to find what they are looking for — quick answers to questions when they don’t have the time (or free hands) to type their query in.
Again, offering this tool is not only an excellent way to make it incredibly easy for shoppers to browse your site. Adding voice search also shows your customers the level of commitment to providing an excellent experience. Providing dealership website tools that help your customers has that secondary benefit — even if shoppers don’t use that particular tool, they see how much they matter.
All of these tools are connected by a theme: the customer. More specifically, the customer’s experience. We know you might be tired of seeing that phrase so many times, but we really can’t stress how important it is. Improving your customer experience is one of the best investments a dealership can make right now.
Sales are slowing, times are uncertain, and the only thing we can be really sure of in the automotive industry is that shoppers want a better, more relevant CX — from the moment they start shopping to when they drive off in a new car. Oh, and that dealers who provide that improved CX, with (or without) these dealership website tools, are going to do well in the coming time of disruption.