For potential car buyers, a good web experience can raise the buyer's intent to test drive a car. Such is the finding in a J.D. Power & Associates survey, reported in the recent Globe and Mail article Web traffic leads to showroom: survey.
Some content-heavy luxury car sites (Mercedes-Benz and Lexus) were assessed by visitors to be slower. Compared to so-called budget brands Kia and Hyundai, these sites were found to deliver a relatively poor visitor experience, one below expectations for prestige brands. Here's what Rohan Lobo, manager of automotive syndicated research at J.D. Power's Toronto office was quoted as saying about the best and highest rated sites compared to the poorer sites...
The most highly rated sites had some common design elements, he said, such as easy access to the home page, the ability to readily browse all models, comprehensible menus, fast-loading pages and interactive 360-degree views of vehicles.These findings are not surprising at all. But I wouldn't be surprised if this report causes heated visual branding content versus usability discussions in some marketing groups! How can this conflict be resolved to the benefit of both customers and the business?
Poorer-performing web sites were too cluttered and busy, had small print, were too slow to load, carried too much information that required too much movement and refreshing images, had too many links and no continuous direct view of the model lineup.
Web analytics can help. Run some online split tests on design options with varying degrees of "less". Craft a campaign that will allow you to measure the impact of these variations on showroom visits, and perhaps the number of car test drives.