Have you ever been excited about a product or service you’re offering, only to find that other people are… not quite as enthralled?

It’s disappointing when you work hard on something and it doesn’t achieve your goals. On the other hand, failure is an opportunity for evaluation and improvement– and that’s exactly what happened over the past few months here at AutoLeadStar.

Using data to see what’s not working

We present to you the story of our Falcon conversion widget, which started out not so fab (even though we thought it was), and how we used data and feedback to make it actually good.

Here’s our original widget coin in the bottom right-hand corner:

This coin sat on dealership websites and popped open to show visitors relevant content at optimal times– all based on their behavior. (Here, it’s showing an e-price conversion opportunity.) And when it wasn’t showing anything, it would sit there quietly and users could click it at any time to get help with anything they needed. Cool, right? It’s our amazing all-in-one tool! And there it is, in all its helpful, optimized glory!

The problem was, people weren’t clicking it, at least not nearly as often as we thought they would. So our outstanding artificial intelligence tool was going underused. Not helping customers get what they need. Not helping dealerships get more engagement and conversions. Not doing much of anything.

Here’s an example of a notification. It had relevant content offered to the right customers– so helpful, we thought! This one offered reviews to a browsing shopper:

Reviews module on Falcon by AutoLeadStar

People didn’t click that either.

We realized that we could have the best conversion tool in the world (and we did, of course), but it made no difference if people were ignoring it.

Learning from UX mistakes

So we thought about it and we analyzed and we got to wondering if the coin icon– our cute little  acorn-esque shape, designed to be inviting and unobtrusive– actually communicated to users what the widget could do for them. What did that acorn mean to people? Would a user know what our tool could do by looking at that image? Would they want to click?

As for the notifications, were they as inviting as they could be? Did people feel encouraged to interact with them?

We decided to make some changes. We’d create a bolder icon. We’d design more exciting notifications, with better copy and appealing images. And we’d test it out.

A new UX for better car shopper engagement

Here’s what the new coin looks like:

updated Falcon coin

And here’s an example of a new notification:

New Falcon notification

As you can see, it looks very different, and, we think, much better. The icon is now a lightning bolt, which is a much stronger image than before. We realized that an acorn probably doesn’t mean much of anything in the context of car shopping. On the other hand, a lightning bolt suggests both action and intelligence– it lets people know, without any written text, that they can get help by clicking.

On the notifications, we made images and text more exciting. We wanted to encourage engagement simply by being inviting, rather than overexplaining.

And the results?

Just a month into beta testing, we’ve seen a 66% increase in engagement and 60% increase in clicks and widget opens. We’ve also seen a 7% increase in conversions.

We’ll continue to test and tweak moving forward– but that’s a significant improvement. And again, we didn’t change anything about the functionality of the tool. We just changed what it looks like, how inviting and intuitive it is. We changed the experience of using it. And engagement went way, way up. That’s how important UX can be.

UX lessons you can use on your dealership website

We learned a number of lessons from this process:

  1. Evaluate your performance. The reason we decided to make changes was from setting goals and tracking them– and seeing that these goals weren’t being met. So we took a look at it and asked: can we make the look more appealing? Can we write better copy? Can we add images that make the experience more intuitive and inviting? When you’re excited about something, it can be hard to have to change it, but ultimately, digging into your user data for constant evaluation is the only way to make sure you’re succeeding.
  2. What you think will work is not necessarily what will actually work. We were pumped about our original coin and notifications, and it seems to follow that what you love is what other people will also love. But this is not the case. Listening to feedback is the only way to really know if things are working.
  3. UX is about a light touch. When it came to improving our widget coin and notifications, it turned out less was more. We didn’t need more text– we needed images that helped people intuitively understand what they could accomplish. We didn’t need to make the tool more aggressive– we needed to make it more inviting. The idea is to make everything so clear that shoppers don’t need to exert any effort figuring out what your tools do, or experience any friction getting what they need.
  4. Don’t be afraid to try new things. If you don’t experiment, you won’t have the chance to improve. And if your experiment doesn’t work? Try something else. Nothing is ever set in stone.
  5. Look at something that’s not doing that well as an opportunity for growth. Our widget was simply not getting the engagement we knew it should– and therefore not helping car shoppers do what they wanted on dealership sites, and not helping dealerships get enough conversions. So we needed to take that failure and see how we could grow from it. Having the opportunity to step back and see our product through customers’ eyes gave us the opportunity to improve the experience for them– and conversion rates for dealerships.

So it turns out that failure is not all bad. It’s just one step on the way to greater success.

Hope you gained some insight from our story! Tweet your failure and improvement stories to @autoleadstar!

And to see if Falcon can increase engagement and conversions on your dealership website, book a free demo today!

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