The car buying process used to begin inside a dealer’s showroom, but that’s changed. In today’s world, the vast majority of consumers begin their car buying journey online. This means your website might be the first place potential customers interact with your car dealership. If your website isn’t up to par, you could be losing the opportunity to win over potential customers.
The best way to determine if your website is costing your dealership customers is to look at your bounce rate. The bounce rate is the percentage of people who land on your website and quickly leave instead of taking some sort of action such as clicking on a link, watching a video, or filling out a form.
The average bounce rate in the automotive industry is 45%. If your bounce rate is higher than 45%, this could indicate that your dealership website is losing customers. But why is this happening? Here are some of the issues with your dealership website that could be to blame:
1. HARD TO NAVIGATE
It’s important for your website to be easy for visitors to navigate. If users can’t quickly find what they are looking for or figure out how to get to a specific page, they will leave.
There are several different types of effective website navigation menus. The first is a header menu, which appears at the top of the screen. It’s best to use this type of menu for general categories of pages. Then, a drop-down menu with more detailed options should appear if a user clicks on or hovers over one of these categories.
You can also add sidebar menus to the left or right of your website content, if you prefer.
Use the footer to highlight links to popular resources and pages on your site. This way, visitors can scroll straight down to the bottom to find the link they need.
Ideally, a potential customer should be able to navigate to any page on your website and find what they need within three clicks of the mouse. Start at your homepage and see if you can make it to other popular pages of your website with three clicks or less. If you can’t, you may need to adjust the structure of your website to prevent customers from leaving.
2. POOR WEB DESIGN
Even if your navigability is perfect, there are other elements of your web design that could cost you customers. Here are some guidelines you should follow when designing your website:
- Don’t go overboard with your design. Take a look at your website and get rid of any unnecessary design elements. If it makes your site look cluttered, messy, or unprofessional, get rid of it.
- Establish a hierarchy. Your site should be arranged in a way that makes sense. The most important elements of your website should be the most visible to visitors. For example, a link to your vehicle search page should be placed in a prominent position so visitors can easily find it once they land on your site.
- Keep it consistent. The look and feel of your website should be consistent across all of its pages. This means using the same color schemes, font styles, types of images, and more across all pages.
Keep these simple guidelines in mind when designing your website to create the best user experience possible for visitors.
3. NOT MOBILE-FRIENDLY
Google reports that 60% of automotive-related searches come from mobile devices. What does this mean? If your site isn’t mobile-friendly, you could lose the opportunity to win over a huge chunk of your target audience.
Building a responsive site is one of the best ways to ensure your dealership website is mobile-friendly. A responsive website will display all of the same information regardless of what device the user is on. However, a responsive website will automatically adjust its design elements to ensure it fits the user’s screen. In other words, a website with a responsive design will look good and function normally on all devices.
There are other things you can do to make your website more mobile-friendly. For instance, try to avoid using Flash, which typically isn’t supported by mobile devices.
Enter the URL to your website into Google’s free mobile-friendly test tool. This will tell you if your website is mobile-friendly and if not, what you can do to fix it.
4. TAKES TOO LONG TO LOAD
Another factor that could be costing you customers is your website’s page speed. Numerous studies have shown that longer page loading times lead to higher rates of page abandonment.
Most consumers have no patience for pages that take too long to load. But how long is too long? Nearly half of consumers expect a page to load in two seconds or less. If your website takes longer than a few seconds to load, visitors may quickly leave to visit a competitor’s site.
It’s important for every page on your website to load quickly, especially the search results pages (SRPs) and vehicle details pages (VDPs). If visitors can’t quickly search for vehicles and browse through the results, they will get frustrated and abandon your site.
Fortunately, it’s easy to find out if your dealership website’s page speed is a problem. You can either test it yourself or use Google’s free PageSpeed Insights tool. This tool will analyze your website’s page speed and provide recommendations on how to improve it.
5. SEARCH DIFFICULTIES
People visit auto dealers’ websites for various reasons. But most people visit dealers’ websites to search their inventory of vehicles. If a visitor isn’t satisfied with the search feature on your website, you could lose the opportunity to convert them into a customer.
As previously mentioned, making it easy to find and load the search page is crucial to keeping customers on your site. You should also ensure the process of conducting a search is as easy and convenient as possible.
For example, give visitors plenty of search filter options. Allow them to filter the results by make, model, year, price, trim level, and more. Including a lot of filter options allows your visitors to narrow down their results so they can quickly find the vehicles they are interested in purchasing.
You should also allow them to search by keyword so they can simply type in the make and model of the vehicle they want. The more options you give them, the better.
6. POOR QUALITY CONTENT
The quality of your content could influence a visitor’s decision to stay on your site or leave and look at another website.
Read through the content on your website. Are there glaring spelling and/or grammar mistakes? If so, these need to be addressed right away. A misspelled word or misplaced period may not seem like a big deal, but it can make your dealership look unprofessional, which could affect a visitor’s decision to stay on your site or leave.
You should also make sure the content is factual. For example, you shouldn’t refer to a Toyota Rav 4 as a luxury sedan when it is actually a family-friendly, affordable SUV. Errors like these could negatively impact how visitors perceive your dealership. If they don’t trust or think highly of your dealership based on these errors, they may not stick around.
7. TOO FOCUSED ON YOURSELF
Many dealerships make the mistake of focusing on themselves rather than their target audience when designing their website. For example, the main pages of their website might look like this:
- Our Dealership
- Our Team
- About Us
- Our Mission
- Our Community Outreach
You should include all of this information on your website, but it shouldn’t be the first thing visitors see when they land on your site. Instead, focus on what your target audience wants to see when they get to your website. If a consumer is looking for a new car, they want to see what your dealership has to offer. They don’t want to read about your dealership’s mission statement.
Focus your messaging on them, not you. Show your visitors that you are a customer-centric dealership that is ready to meet their needs and exceed their expectations.
8. NO CALLS-TO-ACTION
Don’t expect users to figure out what they need to do next when they land on your website. You need to point them in the right direction by inserting calls-to-action in the appropriate places.
A call-to-action is a statement that explicitly tells the user to take a specific action. Examples include:
- Call us
- Sign up
- Schedule an appointment
- Request more information
If your website doesn’t include enough calls-to-action, your visitors may leave if they can’t figure out what to do on their own.
For example, say a potential customer is on your website looking at a specific vehicle. They are interested in learning more about the vehicle, but they can’t find a way to request this information from you. There’s no call-to-action link directing them to fill out a form in order to contact your dealership to request more information. As a result, they give up and look for the vehicle on another dealership website instead.
This is just one example of how failing to include calls-to-action could cost your dealership customers.
DON’T FALL BEHIND THE CURVE!
If your dealership suffers from any of these issues, you are losing customers and revenue. As users become more sophisticated, your dealership needs an upgraded website to offer the most convenient user experience for your target audience.