What have we done to the VDP?
The VDP has seen some massive changes over the years. As technology improved, so did our ability to display our inventory. From, “we can now add a photo” to “we need multiple photos” to “now we have video capability”, merchandising vehicles became a more complicated process.
But have we gone too far?
A lot of dealership VDPs have too many calls to action. Just because we can add a button doesn’t mean we should. Today, there are more and more tools that are available to help customers shop, and the trick is to display these tools in an organized fashion that doesn’t detract from the end goal of the page.
This brings up an interesting question. What is the goal of a vehicle details page today? Is it built for conversion, where the customer fills out a lead form or picks up the phone? Maybe the VDP is a place for a consumer to start their online purchase. Or is it a research page that lets a customer get insight on what they want?
I feel like we need to take a step back and simplify our vehicle details pages. Carvana is getting a lot of attention today. Look at how they display a VDP. It’s very clean, and they cut down on the calls to action. There is a concrete path the customer can go down without feeling like a rigid path.
Think mobile-first websites, for example. Designing a website for a phone screen is an exercise in “trimming fat”. Only the most necessary elements remain. Can we apply this thinking to our inventory pages? If so, what fat would we trim and what would we keep?
As we evaluate our online properties and prepare to transition to an omni-experience economy in automotive, it’s time to pay attention to the vehicle details page. Digital retailing gives us a clear path today (one of the reasons Carvana’s VDP looks so clean). Customers can begin the purchase process if they choose, and if a dealership can deliver on the digital retailing promise, there is an end result of the VDP. This may impact some of the elements we need to display, or at least affect the order in which we display them.
The VDP has been through a lot of changes, and more are to come. We need to structure our inventory tools in a way that provides information in a clean, concise way, and help customers navigate the purchase process.