Unless you entered 2018 in a DeLorean, it’s no surprise that use of mobile devices has skyrocketed over the past five years. Consumers now own more mobile devices than computers (and apparently, toothbrushes) (https://60secondmarketer.com/blog/2011/10/18/more-mobile-phones-than-toothbrushes/), and the trend toward mobile usage continues to rise.
According to Google Internal Data (2017), more than 60% of automotive searches come from a mobile device, with many of those top searches being related to dealership websites. Additionally, customers are no longer appeased with a website simply being available on mobile platforms, dealers must now also provide an exceptional mobile experience.
In fact, customers are 62% less likely to purchase from a brand in the future if they have a negative brand experience on mobile. Likewise, 89% of people are likely to recommend a brand after having a positive experience on mobile. (Google Brand Experiences Study, 2017)
If you want your customers to make the journey from their phones to your showroom floor, building an excellent mobile experience is critical to dealership success – more so than any other marketing or advertising effort.
Creating a great mobile experience doesn’t have to cause heartburn. Drastically improving usability on dealership websites can be achieved by considering:
- Search insights
- Mobile page speed
- Mobile navigation
- Getting in touch
- Mobile transactions (Digital Retail)
The bare minimum is no longer enough. Checking a “mobile-optimized” box to allow users to view your desktop site on a smaller screen won’t cut it anymore. Consumers are looking for the easiest route possible, with a site that allows them to navigate quickly and simply.
- It all starts with search
Specific research terms relating to vehicle purchases can help guide consumers to your website. For example, 70% of searches for car MSRP and list price are performed on mobile (Google Internal Data, 2017). If your website can be easily found via mobile search, your dealership can be easily found in real life.
Consider the following best practices:
- Make sure your mobile content matches your desktop. Do not strip out information simply because the user is on a different device. They want all the information, the first time.
- Launch a regular stream of content. Diversify your topics to reach more users across multiple mediums: website, blog, social, etc.
- Outline action items for your visitors. Consider the “next steps” you are providing for site visitors: Click to call, contact form, text, chat, etc.
- Faster is better – and Google is about to shake things up again
In July 2018, Google plans to release its heralded “Speed Update”, which will change the ranking algorithm to start crawling and indexing mobile-specific content above the desktop version. While the change is only set to affect pages that deliver the slowest mobile experience, web developers are encouraged to think broadly about user experience.
Google measures page speed largely by your website’s “time to first byte” (TTFB) or network and server responsiveness. The average time it takes to load any mobile page is 22 seconds, yet 53% of users will abandon a page if it takes longer than three seconds to load! It’s one of the reasons so many digital providers have invested so heavily into mobile.
Note: TTFB is the time it takes a user’s request to hit the website’s server, where the goal is about 200 milliseconds. It’s also important to mention that page load is the time it takes for the user’s page to actually load, where the goal here is about 3-5 seconds.
Test your TTFB with a free option, such as ByteCheck (bytecheck.com/), or check with your website host for details. If it’s longer than 2-3 seconds, you risk a significant increase in website bounces. Start with dynamic content improvements and server caching to improve your website speed and responsiveness.
- Consumers want easy website navigation
Despite the conversation surrounding mobile performance and ease of use, automotive continues to lag behind other industries. Many car dealership websites utilize popups, overlays, widgets, and slides. All of these features are designed to drive consumer conversion, yet they end up taking away from the website browsing experience by adding unnecessary weight to pages.
Keep it simple, silly! Customers want to find information as quickly and easily as possible. Reduce clicks and remove intrusive pop-ups along with automatically loading videos. Ensure videos and images are compressed and the information is organized logically. Take a look at your CRM or Google Analytics data to determine what pages customers use the most, and then streamline them.
- Provide multiple avenues to get in touch
Dealerships looking to better integrate their website user interface on the backend with a CRM, DMS, INV or CMS are not short of options. Specialized CRM platforms can help to incorporate forms and click-to-call functionality, as users are typically searching for more information or are more likely to reach out directly while browsing inventory pages, ‘about us’ pages, or while using a digital retailing tool.
- Tie it all together with mobile transactions
Mobile devices aren’t just for research. Data (businessinsider.com/the-mobile-checkout-report-how-retailers-and-tech-giants-are-pushing-consumers-12-2015) suggests mobile transactions will account for almost 50% of total e-commerce sales by 2020, and the 2016 DealerSocket Dealership Action Report indicates consumers rate higher satisfaction when auto payments are presented on a tablet at a dealership. It presents an opportunity to for dealers to integrate technology for immediate impact.
Consider investing in a digital retail solution, which can help close the loop on your mobile website efforts and optimize your CRM for use on the showroom floor. Not only do mobile transactions improve the process, they also put control in users’ hands – boosting buyer confidence. Digital retailing tools help dealerships to:
- Speed up the sales process
- Improve consistency of the process
- Increase transparency
- Streamline financing
- Provide a more convenient user experience
In summary, as consumers continue to rely on mobile devices for research and transactions, building an excellent mobile experience will only become more important to dealer success. From improving search results to streamlining the sales and finance process for digital retailing, considering five key areas of mobile design and user experience can give dealers the upper hand.
If your 2018 strategy doesn’t leave enough resources for all five, identify the area that will have the most impact on your dealership. The goal is an improvement for user experience, and any one of these areas can help drive results, which is ultimately steering your dealership in a better direction.
About the Author
Cavan Robinson, OEM Product Manager at DealerSocket, leads a team of specialists in optimizing digital practices and developing innovative products for leading automotive OEMs.
Author: Contributing Writer
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