It probably won’t surprise you to hear that people today do most of their shopping online. From electronics to clothing to toilet paper, pretty much anything can make its way through the ether to your front door. When it comes to car shopping, the vast majority of people still want to come in for a test drive and not complete their purchase online- however, car shoppers are doing a huge amount of their car research on the internet. That means your website experience is crucial for bringing in customers and starting your sales process.

So how do you make sure your website is creating that great shopping experience to get you more leads, and ultimately more sales?

We decided to take a look at some of today’s e-commerce giants’ websites and see what some of their best features are. Here’s what we found, with handy tips for implementing them into your dealership website:

Personalization

People love to feel like your website is speaking directly to them. Think of a time you went into a store and spoke with a really great salesperson, who showed you not only various options in your price range, but also complementary products, reviews, and comparisons. This salesperson had access to all the information you wanted- and spared you the effort of wandering the aisles and figuring everything out by trial and error.

Your website should strive to bring this level of personalization online.

Amazon is pretty great at this. We shopped for a remote control helicopter, as one does, and were presented with all kinds of helpful options: items that are frequently bought together, similar products, comparisons between models, and reviews, all on the same page. These are tools that customize the shopping experience, helping customers find exactly what they want.

Take a look at a few of these features in action:

upsell

This tool is extremely helpful for shoppers who want to make the most of their purchases- and it’s also a great way for companies to upsell. Some ways to bring this type of experience to your dealership website: offer tools to select all features a user might want in their next vehicle, or create service packages with suggested upgrades. And of course, customize users’ experiences with smart targeting that presents offers to the right people at the right time.

Here’s a shot of the extremely user-friendly comparison feature:

comparison shop

If I’m shopping for a remote control helicopter, I definitely need to comparison shop, and Amazon has got me covered. On your dealership website, offer comparisons between your top sellers and competing similar models. Don’t be afraid to show your shoppers the competition. They’re looking for it anyway, and this is an opportunity to showcase why yours is the best.

Transparency

One thing that really frustrates people is when they have to do elaborate searches for the basic information they need to move forward. eBay mitigates this problem by anticipating the key information shoppers need and putting it front and center. When you’re shopping online, you want to know how much shipping will cost, how long it will take, and what the return policy is, without clicking all over the place to find out. This makes it so, so clear:

price options

For your dealership site, think of what information your shoppers typically need-such as specials, valuation tools, contact information, typical service costs-  and display it prominently. Make it as easy as possible.

Customer Service

It’s important for customers to be able to find you and get help when they want to. It’s frustrating when they can’t find you, or don’t get responses when they reach out, or have to jump through any kinds of hoops to reach the person or department they need. For this, we turn to the king of customer service, Zappos. Zappos is known for amazing phone service and return policies, but it starts on their website:contact information

This page has a number of advantages: it doesn’t have six different numbers to choose from, it allows customers to communicate in whatever way is most convenient for them, and it even has a Spanish language option. You can tell just by looking at this that this company cares about customer experience.

You can do the same thing in your dealership. Show your visitors that you are there for them on your website, and they will feel confident that future interactions with your dealership will be positive.

Specials

If you’re running a special, that should be immediately obvious to people. Macy’s is a great example:

coupon

This appears immediately when people arrive on-site, making it absolutely clear what sale is going on. This is attention-grabbing and helps people understand the value of staying with you.

On your dealership website, make your offers prominent and clear. People need to know about your sales so they can buy more cars!

Great offers

We talk a lot about popups and offers that look great with your site by providing moments of focus, consistent branding, unobtrusive design, and clear instructions. Here’s a great example on Best Buy’s website:

effective popup

This is a popup that works: its CTA is clear and straightforward, it asks for minimal information, its visuals are on-brand, and it’s easy to close. Make sure your dealership offers are doing the same.

Extensive product information

Shoppers are on your site for a reason: to get all the information they can to make the best possible decision. If they can’t find the information they need, they will get frustrated and leave. So we love this feature tour on Walmart’s website:

product features

It’s labeled, it’s comprehensive, it anticipates what customers might have questions about. This is a great idea to do with your popular models.

Easy Navigation

Speaking of finding what you’re looking for, take a look at your navigation bar and make sure it has all the options is needs to, clearly labeled. Here we turn again to Zappos, whose navigation bar at the top of the page is a good one:

Whatever your key categories are, make them easy to find.

Great Design

Check out Priceline’s homepage:

website design

Here’s what we love about this page: it has the clear navigation, it prompts visitors to easily start the process right away, its text clearly communicates brand values, and the background image suggests to visitors all the fabulous adventures they’ll have. And yet, with all that going on, the page is still visually appealing and not overwhelming.

Looking at your dealership site, make sure it guides people without feeling pushy, and that the website design welcomes without overwhelming and communicates your dealership’s values.

Use these examples to look for ways to improve your website and create a superior online shopping experience. Your customers will thank you- by coming into your dealership.

 

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