The last time you shopped on Amazon were you consciously aware of your user experience? Most of us would say no to that question, and that’s ok. I’ll break it down for you.
First, you typed in the object you were searching for—let’s use “television”. You clicked enter and the search results page populated. After scrolling long enough to find the item you were most interested in, you clicked again and were redirected to the description page.
Now, without cheating, can you describe what the Amazon description page looks like?
The first things that come to my mind—on a desktop—are 1) click for Prime in the upper left-hand corner, 2) item photos just below the Prime toggle, 3) item description and pricing in the middle, 4) “add to cart” on the right, and 5) the ability to scroll down for more information.
The fact of the matter is we all know what the layout of Amazon is. It’s as familiar, and as easily accessible, as the location of the 20 oz soda bottles at our local grocery store.
I was mulling this over the other night, at 3 am, as I sleeplessly bounced from dealership site to dealership site, and I realized one glaring truth about the automotive industry—we are overcomplicating our websites.
Our vehicle description pages lack the simplicity prevalent on powerhouse websites such as Amazon or Apple. Instead of offering a seamless user experience nearly every dealer site that I went to had at least 3-4 call to action buttons per VDP:
Get Today’s Price!
Value Your Trade
Schedule a Test Drive
What’s more, layered on top of all of these information-gathering buttons were a myriad of other widgets encouraging the customer to:
Chat with a Representative!
Share This Vehicle
Save This Vehicle
Customers don’t want this. Customers are not searching for the speediest way to schedule a time to stop by. They are attempting to gather as much information as possible—as quickly as possible—in order to determine if a vehicle is worth pursuing further.
So, what if, instead of giving our website viewers an overstimulating assortment of options for communicating with us, we behave like other industries and give our customers one simple option?
Think about it. If set up correctly, it makes perfect sense. As a customer, you search a specific vehicle and land on an information-driven description page with no distraction. Just a simple “Buy This.”
Sure, you aren’t going to be getting as many ‘votes’ on your vehicles—fewer clicks, fewer leads–but why do we need clicks? Is it worth our time to sift through all those unintended prospects? Is it worth the Marketing Manager’s time to sift through website conversion rates? Is it worth the BDC Manager’s time to sift through lead conversion rates?
The reality is, we feel these widgets will give us more leads and more sales, but as we spend our time focusing on the lower end of our funnel, we are allowing the upper 70% to bounce on to other options.
We need to start looking at our industry differently. Are we deconstructing the process for our customers? Is our fear of losing an opportunity overwhelming our potential clients? The answer is yes to both questions. In our desire to gather as many names and phone numbers as possible we are inhibiting our customer’s experience.
Listen, you don’t go to Apple’s website and see four or five widgets focused on capturing your information through ‘test drives.’ You get one specific experience. One button.
One experience that leads your customer through the sales funnel. One button that begins their journey toward vehicle ownership.
By doing this we can begin to offer a value far greater than $100 off their next purchase. We offer ease, time savings, and stress alleviation.
Step one: Buy
Step two: Do you have a trade?
Step three: Finance or Cash?
Step Four: Pick up or Delivery?
Step Six: Test Drive or virtual walk around with a sales associate?
Step Seven: Verify Identity.
By allowing for a step-by-step experience, we can create a lead funnel for the customer to come to us through. At every point in this experience, the customer can choose to set up a time to chat with a representative or stop by the dealership thereby allowing for as much of a digital experience as possible while still allotting for human interaction.
I often hear discussions of how we can potentially offset the Carvana’s and the Vroom’s of the world. Well, imagine if we had a truly robust buying process focused on saving time and offering top-notch quality. We should be creating a dynamic, hybrid experience for our customers. An experience we all know the industry is looking for.
Look at it this way—when you choose to go to the Apple website, instead of the Apple store, are you looking for $100 in savings or 1 hour in savings? Can you truly say that you are offering the same type of experience on your website? We all know where the best quality leads come from, yet we are still only capturing the bottom 30% if we look at the statistics. If we shifted the way we present ourselves to the world, the number of our leads might decrease, but the quality would increase.
I encourage you to do a test at your store. Have your website provider or internal developer heatmap your site (you can use CrazyEgg). How many people are clicking on those calls-to-action? How many of those clicks are translating to lead submissions? If you have 10,000 monthly visits and generate 150 leads from those specific website buttons that is less than 2%. If you aren’t getting at least 10% return—1,000 leads—then those buttons are for you and not your customer. You are not buying the car. You are not shopping your website. You are trying to collect leads.
As we write these articles, we hope that you are able to get value from our perspective. We hope that conversations are started and mindsets are disrupted. We believe it is time for our industry to re-evaluate our consumer interactions. It is no longer simply about how we move vehicles. It is about how we communicate with customers. There is a paradigm shift occurring in the automotive industry, and it is our responsibility to find the path forward. We have the skills, we have the knowledge, and we have the data. Now we just need to take the steps.
What steps are you ready to take?
Herb Anderson / Charity Ann