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Russ Chandler

Russ Chandler Product Marketing Manager

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What To Focus On When Optimizing For Mobile Beyond Load Time

We’ve discussed how more of the buying process is moving online, and that consumers are making their car buying decisions basically everywhere. And it’s safe to say that people both inside and outside the industry are taking note.

 

“It used to be people shopped for cars in dealerships,” said E.J. Schultz, Chicago Bureau Chief at Advertising Age. “But now they are making their car-buying decisions at the gym, the gas station or the deli.”

 

More than ever before, consumers are using their mobile devices to shop for their perfect vehicle. From their smartphones, they’re looking at brands, vehicle types, financing options -- basically everything under the sun.

 

All that being said, that leaves one extremely important question: Are your dealership’s mobile consumers a priority? If not, then you have some work ahead of you.

 

Here are 3 major areas in which dealers can spend more time and resources to ensure mobile consumers (likely the majority of their consumers) are getting the best customer experience humanly possible:

Mobile Presentation of Information

 

In regards to how information is presented on mobile, a really powerful thing to keep in mind (when assessing your mobile influence) is to see things from their point of view. Keep a fresh perspective of your website and mobile services by approaching everything as if you are the consumer. Are you using too much industry jargon that’s completely alien to most consumers? Is your FAQ section easily accessible? Are you clearly labeling where information on resale values and financing processes are?

 

Well, forget what you know for now. Sometimes too much knowledge and years of work in brick-and-mortar dealerships work AGAINST us when figuring out the behaviors of mobile consumers, because it turns into “head trash.” That head trash then manifests itself into assumptions about consumer behavior that might not be backed by facts and data.

 

Be sure to watch the behaviors and get advice from people who are not in the industry or who think differently than you do!

Website Experiences

 

The second area to focus on is the consumer’s overall website experience. Today’s online consumers are different from their in-store counterparts. They want as much information as possible and they want it now.

 

I’ve obviously talked over and over again about the importance of interactive experiences on your dealership’s website: trade appraisal tools, calculators, assessments, quizzes, etc. Basically, all the nifty stuff that helps engage consumers on your website. These experiences are fantastic because they both offer information and they acknowledge the consumer’s existence.

 

Now, one thing I haven’t discussed in a great amount of detail is the importance of your dealership’s website remembering its consumers when they come back for a 2nd visit. It might not seem like a big deal, but you’d be so surprised by how much more engaged consumers are when they don’t have to fill out the same forms and provide the same information all over again.

 

In fact, consumers greatly appreciate it when the information you provide on that initial visit automatically impacts their 2nd or 3rd visit by way of new offers and relevant information -- especially if they’re on a mobile device. Mobile consumers can only tolerate filling in their basic information one time on a desktop. What makes you think they’ll want to do that on a much smaller screen -- a screen made for basic tasks and simplicity. They don’t!

 

If the experiences on your website don’t ask the same basic information again, and they instead take consumers to products and services that would be relevant to the stage of the funnel they’re in, they’ll be more likely to convert.

 

Spending a little bit more in these areas will pay off in the long run. By working so hard to engage with consumers online,  you have an opportunity to showcase your brand and products in a way that encourages a two-way conversation and engagement outside just a sales pitch.

Interactions with Consumers via Text

 

Finally, an often-overlooked way in which you can focus on your mobile customers is communicating with them via text.

 

Although putting them on a mailing list can seem like a great way to keep attracting them with new pieces of information, the reality is that the most poignant way you can use that contact information is by actually contacting the consumer. You’re being given the opportunity to answer any questions they have and provide the information they need right when they need it. The fastest response is sure to be appreciated.

 

 

Chances are good that if your consumers are coming to your site through mobile, they’re going to want to communicate via mobile channels such as text. Sadly, for today’s busy consumers, a call or in-store visit when they are just beginning their stages of the buyer’s journey is likely out of the question. However, it’s likely that they’d be responsive to a quick text offering help!

 

The importance of focusing on mobile consumers is going to play a key role in driving traffic to your dealership. Be sure to consider their needs and how they experience your brand!

 

Carl Maeda

Great post!  

One more important thing to look for is to make sure the website is optimized for touch navigation.  Look at the size of buttons and links.  Make sure they are large.  Don't clump links all together, where they may be hard to click.

If you have a map on the homepage, make sure you can scroll past it.  In most map implementations I've seen, once you get to the map, you can't scroll past it because you start scrolling on the map instead of the page.

Jeremy Sacco

Really good tips.

One suggestion: you say "beyond load time" in the headline, but it's worth reminding people that load time *really* matters, too! Especially on the go, a few extra seconds in load time can be the difference between a valuable engagement and a bounce. All the interactivity and information in the world isn't going to help if your customers are leaving before your site loads. 

I'd suggest that dealers try to spend more time on their own web sites on mobile as opposed to desktops or laptops -- since that's what's consumers are doing. A slow or bad experience will become evident very quickly.

Russ Chandler

@Carl- Thanks for sharing your thoughts. Some great points made on being conscience about button size and layout. I especially like your point on the embedded maps. Everyone has been stuck on a map before and it usually ends with leaving the site!

Russ Chandler

@Jeremy- I definitely agree with you on load time. No intentions in downplaying how important it is to have a fast loading website.

Since that seems to be common knowledge these days, even though many sites have poor load time, I wanted to point out a few things for those who are on top of it. 

Jeremy Sacco

Agreed, the importance of load time seems like a strange combination of "everybody knows that" and "not enough people are addressing it"! Good to look beyond it though.

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