It’s Friday. You pull your cart filled with your family’s groceries to the front checkout. Every lane is stacked five carts deep. Mothers and fathers with restless children and fistfuls of coupons lurk at each blinking register light, while employees dart in and out on price check runs. Your heart sinks, and those waiting around you lean heavily on their carriages, waiting.
You spot an opening at the self-checkout. Score! But seconds into your transaction you are audibly reminded that the self-checkout is clunky, especially if you’re in a hurry, and it insists that you slow down and maintain the scanner’s glacial pace. The next ten minutes is riddled with these phrases: “please remove the item from the scanner and wait,” or “please remove the last item from the bag,” and “please wait for the attendant.” Cringe.
This story punctuates this fact: Consumers are busy, finicky creatures of habit. We know what kind of experience we’d like to have, and in our busy lives, any negative deviation sets us on a course for an alternative. The supermarket example underscores the need for systems that move at the speed of life and deliver a promised and consistent experience.
Websites are the “self-checkouts” for the car buying experience. Obviously, the dealership is where the transaction still takes place and where relationships are nurtured, but today, most of the researching and shopping is done on your website.
Dealership websites that do not provide a swift and seamless, informative and positive user experience leave your customers frustrated, much like the automated (and often inconvenient) self-checkout at the supermarket. Sensing hassle or difficulty, the customer can, and will take their business to a more accommodating retailer.
Dealer.com spends thousands of hours talking with real automotive shoppers and refining website technology to improve the user experience. We’ve asked the questions, and have built the resulting intelligence into our platform so that our clients can depend on our sites to do the right things and convert visitors into opportunities.
Our research has yielded some telling statistics.
Inventory. Inventory. Inventory.
Finding: 80 percent of users landing on the homepage navigate to an inventory page.
Best Practice: Deliver the quickest path to the most relevant inventory. Better yet, make sure your inventory widgets are prominent and compelling to your customer. If your website can’t quickly satisfy a customer’s appetite for inventory and information relevant to the purchase of that inventory, then guess what? They move on.
Building a customer’s confidence in the sale is the standard for digital marketing today. Consumers want a branded experience, accessible from anywhere, that gets them as close to the buying experience as possible. This includes intuitive placement of incentives, real (not stock) photos, actual cost, options and packages, and fine print. By organizing all of this information next to the relevant vehicle, you can advance the transaction. Fall short and the opposite is true.
Real Shopper Quotes
We’ll leave you with some food for thought. Part of studying user experience involves interviewing shoppers about their experiences. Check out these quotes from actual car shoppers, when they were asked about their dealer website shopping experiences:
“Stock photos just make me wary because there might be something wrong with the car.”
“I don’t want to go into a dealership ’til I know I want to get a vehicle from them.
“I don’t think it [the shopping experience] needs to be fun. When people are looking at a car, they just want the black and white of the car. They don’t necessarily want Bobo the Clown dancing around on a pogo stick.”
“It aggravates me when [a piece of inventory] says ‘call for details’. Put the price up just like at the dealership! Don’t say ‘call for details’!”
Matt Murray is Dealer.com’s Director of Digital Marketing