This article was published in the July 2012 edition of “Affaires Automobiles” magazine (french version of Canadian Auto Dealer).
A well-designed website leads to more sales!
Your website is a showroom, open 24/7, for the entire world to see. What image would you like it to project? What tale would you like it to tell? What message would you like it to send?
The Web: more than a friend!
Research shows that 73 % of new-car buyers shopped on the Web before purchasing their vehicle. The Internet is the media most responsible for leading consumers to the dealership where they wind up purchasing their vehicle. The Internet is even more powerful than personal recommendations from family and friends. Buying a vehicle is a major purchase that demands meticulous preparation and planning. Consumers spend more time shopping online than they do in actual dealerships.
What image is your business projecting?
The Web is the place where consumers will first come in contact with your business. Your website will be first in providing consumers with the ever-important ‘first impression’. Your website will be where you either make a good or bad impression.
“A bad website is like a grumpy salesperson”
─ Jakob Nielsen, Usability Consultant.
You can be the best all-round dealership in the market bar none, but if your website is unappealing, chances are slim to none that visitors will show up to see your product offering. First impressions, when negative, are ruthless, especially on the Web. The relationship of trust between you and your potential customer starts with their initial contact with your website. This first-impression is anything but virtual, and the consequences are very real.
If internet users find it difficult to gather the information they seek, they will leave in a hurry. A disorganized website, cluttered with pictures and text on some pages, while others are almost blank, sends a message of disarray and confusion. Confusing and unclear messages and information will be perceived as imprecise and dishonest. Internet users are both quick to judge and unforgiving: they will not re-visit your website and definitely not wind up visiting your showroom. Having been condemned on the spot, you will miss out on sales opportunities without having even met the potential customer.
What is a ‘well-designed’ website?
Website designers need to listen carefully in order to understand your specific needs and communication goals. A well-designed, practical website, ergonomically adapted to these needs, with well-organized information, written in precise terms with well-integrated multimedia and pertinent illustrations will definitely demonstrate your interactive-communication know-how. Internet users will be impressed, and your website will generate customer contacts, on-line requests and more showroom traffic.
Relevant and personalized content
A website is expected to contain up to date, relevant content, while projecting a positive image of the business. Your website needs to stand-out among the existing online clutter. How do you achieve this? By providing clear and concise content in a user-friendly format. Your ‘talk-track’ needs to reflect the distinct personality of your business. It must be unique and well thought-out. Don’t hesitate to publish pictures of your staff and premises. Make sure the information is continually updated and provide information regarding the most current product offering on display in your showroom. Internet users are keen for new information. An updated website builds credibility with your customers.
Your website must provide a smooth and intuitive browsing experience. The more tools you provide for internet-users to shop, the longer they will remain on your website, and the more confident they will feel about the information provided, the more they will trust your business and develop a relationship. The information needs to be presented in a coherent, concise, and engaging manner. If the information is difficult to find and poorly illustrated, chances are that you will frustrate the internet user with the clutter, and they will quickly leave for a competitor’s website…
You will be able to track and measure the performance of your website using certain key-indicators: the calls generated by your website, the number of on-line requests, and the amount of time spent and pages viewed by users.
A good investment
View your website as an investment. A well-designed website will generate important revenue for your business.
When you demonstrate to customers that you care about your online image as much as your dealership image, you show them how much you care about your product offering. On top of demonstrating your superior products and service, a top-quality website sets you apart from your competitors and positions your business to grow its market share.
Communications and Marketing Coordinator for EVOLIO