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Turning Your Website From A Maze Into A Clear Path

A Heart-to-Heart for Car Dealers

You’re not in this business because it’s easy; you’re here because you’ve got a rare kind of persistence (dare I say stubbornness?) that makes you tackle challenges head-on. You’re smart, savvy, and you know how to make a sale stick. But, let’s face it—when it comes to your website, there’s a bit of a disconnect. It’s like we’ve all been playing a game of digital maximalism, throwing everything at the wall to see what sticks, hoping to catch potential customers wherever they hang out online. In the showroom, we’ve got tools and tricks for days, from helping those with less-than-perfect credit to making sure someone gets the most bang for their buck on a trade-in.

But here’s the kicker: the strategy that kills it on the showroom floor is getting lost in translation online. It’s like trying to read a map with too many roads. Sure, in person, you can read the room, adjust your pitch, and guide your customer through their journey like a pro. But online? It’s a whole different ballgame. Your website’s search page, which should be your digital showroom’s crown jewel, ends up feeling more like a shouting match at a busy intersection than the welcoming, guiding hand it should be.

Picture this: would you ever, in a million years, think it’s a good idea to chase a customer around the lot with a squad of salespeople all yelling different things at them? Of course not. So, why let your website do just that?

It’s time for a change. It’s time to cut through the noise and make your website a place where customers feel guided, understood, and a step closer to finding what they need, not further. Let’s take all that makes you exceptional in person and translate it into a digital experience that’s just as compelling. It’s not just about simplifying; it’s about optimizing, personalizing, and making every click a step towards sealing the deal. Let’s show them that navigating your website can be as smooth and satisfying as the purr of a well-tuned engine.

The Simple Truth We’ve All Been Overlooking:

It’s About the Car, Period.

Okay, let’s talk about something that feels so basic, yet it seems like the whole car industry has been dancing around it in the digital world. Customers are on your site for one reason—they want a car. Not a credit application, not a trade-in form, and honestly folks, they’re not there to browse your staff page. Sure, the price/payment is really important, but it’s not the main event and means nothing paired with the wrong car for the customer. It’s all about the car—the same reason your lot is the first thing they see when they drive by, instead of having it tucked away out of sight.

Getting the right car in front of your customer is everything. It’s what pulls them in and keeps them moving forward. Miss this, and well, you’re pretty much out of the game before it even starts. Once you get that perfect match in front of a customer, everything else is just about clearing the path to make it theirs.

So, here’s a thought: when a customer is diving into your online inventory in search of their next ride, let’s not sidetrack them with all the extras. Keep their eyes on the prize. Simplify their journey. Make that click to conversion as straightforward as possible. Because at the end of the day, they just want to find that perfect car. Let’s make sure nothing stands in their way.

Over 90% of visitors on our dealership website have a clear mission: find their next car. They head straight to the search page, apply filters to hone in on their priorities, and browse through photos until a vehicle stands out. Importantly, 70% to 80% of this activity happens on mobile devices, which offer significantly less screen space than desktops. This means the limited 3” by 5” screen becomes our main battlefield to captivate 60-70% of our audience. Every inch of that space counts.

Cognitive Load: Decoding the Science Behind User Engagement

Cognitive Load Explained:

Cognitive load, despite its technical terminology, fundamentally refers to what many might recognize as attention span. It represents the total mental effort exerted by the working memory. Within the realm of web design and software development, cognitive load pertains to the amount of information and interaction that users are expected to process at any given moment. An excessive cognitive load can overwhelm users, leading to a domino effect of confusion, frustration, and ultimately, the decision to abandon the site—commonly observed as a bounce.

The Impact on User Experience:

Integrating multiple primary actions on each vehicle tile—such as four prominent buttons—can detrimentally affect your site’s conversion rates. This approach introduces confusion for the user, who may struggle to discern the desired action among the options presented. The adage “if you confuse, you lose” aptly captures the outcome of such scenarios.

Streamlining the Customer Journey:

To optimize the online experience, clarity is paramount. At every stage of the user journey, the primary action requested of the user should be unmistakable. While providing alternative options or “escape paths” for users who might feel lost is advisable, maintaining a clear hierarchy of actions can guide the user more effectively. This hierarchy helps in signaling to the user what is deemed most important, thereby reducing cognitive load and enhancing the likelihood of user engagement and conversion.

In-Depth Analysis:

Transformative User Engagement Strategies Yield Remarkable Results for Dealership Websites

Consider the case of a client who dared to simplify their search results page (SRP) to its core essence. Removing all extraneous buttons, they left only vehicle tiles, each clearly beckoning with a “Buy Me!” appeal.

BEFORE
AFTER

To respect client confidentiality, we’re using anonymized, mock-up screenshots that accurately reflect the implemented changes.

Analysis from November 9th to January 31st, compared to the previous period, showcases both locations of the dealership experiencing significant improvements in user engagement, views per user, and bounce rates. This data underscores the effectiveness of SRP simplification in enhancing the user experience. This approach proves the power of simplicity in the digital realm of car shopping. A clean, focused search page not only makes for a visually appealing experience but also drives user engagement and satisfaction. In the mobile-centric world we navigate, making the most of every screen inch isn’t just wise—it’s crucial for success.


Key Findings

  • Enhancements in Views and Bounce Rates:
    • For Location 1:
      • Witnessed a 32% surge in views.
      • Achieved a notable 49% reduction in bounce rates.
    • For Location 2:
      • Experienced a 28% increase in views.
      • Bounce rates diminished by 43%.
  • Advancements in User Interaction:
    • Within Location 1:
      • Views per user soared by 57%.
      • Average engagement time per active user escalated by 66%.
      • Engagement time per session witnessed a remarkable 128% increase.
    • At Location 2:
      • Views per user rose by 38%.
      • Average engagement time per active user increased by 35%.
      • Engagement time per session grew by 84%.

Comprehensive Analysis:

The latest data underscore a pivotal shift in user engagement and content interaction across two dealership website locations. The marked increase in both views per user and average engagement times, coupled with a significant reduction in bounce rates, points to a period of substantial content optimization and user experience enhancement.

This analysis reveals not just an uptick in website performance metrics but signifies a deeper, more engaging, and valuable interaction that visitors are having with the site. Such improvements are crucial indicators of user satisfaction, which could very well translate into higher conversion rates over time. Particularly in light of prevailing market challenges, these results suggest that strategic and effective measures were taken to bolster user engagement and enrich the overall value of content presented on the sites.

This detailed exploration into the performance improvements suggests a successful recalibration of digital strategies aimed at enhancing the online user journey. The data not only reflects a proactive approach to digital retailing but also sets a benchmark for optimizing user engagement in a competitive landscape.

Taylor Bartholomew, Chief Product Officer

Conclusion

Dare To Be More

In the maze of data and innovation, one thing stands crystal clear: the future of digital engagement is ripe for the taking, and it’s calling out for bold moves, not just safe plays. This isn’t about tweaking around the edges; it’s about diving deep into the unknown and leaving the status quo behind. The insights we’ve shared—They’re more than just numbers. They’re a call, to walk the path to a digital experience that defies expectations of dealers.

Shift the paradigm of how the world interacts with dealers online. All it takes is the courage to push beyond the comfortable. To question the norms. This is our moment to ditch the old way and craft digital retailing that engage on the level of true excellence.

Let’s not kid ourselves into thinking this won’t be risky—your local competition probably doesn’t have the guts to try this. But since when have the winners ever played it safe? Now is the time to lean into being the trailblazers and set the pace for everyone else.

If Space Auto is your Website Provider…

Reach out to your client advocate about simplifying your SRP. It’s easy. If Space Auto is NOT your Website Provider reach out about simplifying your everything. It’s easy.

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