Dealers: Take Your Mobile Website for a Test Drive

When was the last time you went shopping on your own site using a smartphone?

C’mon, be honest. When was the last time you went shopping for a car on your own website? Nothing will help you improve the experience for customers more than doing it yourself.

More importantly, when was the last time you went shopping on your own site using a smartphone? Although most dealership websites are responsive (meaning they reconfigure for the small cell phone screen), you have to try shopping to get a feel for whether your site is easy to use on a smartphone. Figures vary, but most surveys say that 55% of people do their shopping research on mobile devices.

According to Response Magazine, four out of five people want to see videos that demonstrate or explain the item they are shopping for. This makes a strong case for walk-around videos that go over the benefits and features of a car. Make sure that you have videos, and that they look great on a smartphone.

It makes sense to explore your own website on a mobile phone. Even better, get friends who are not in the car business to explore your site on a smartphone. Look over their shoulder while they do an imaginary search for a particular car you sell.

See where they stumble or get confused on the site. Pay attention to any delays or navigation problems they have. Don’t help them by showing them how to use your site. Make them do it themselves, and just watch. What is obvious to you may not be obvious, or easy, to them.

If they get totally stumped or frustrated, then you will know your site has a problem. Hopefully, they will be honest with you and say, “This is the point where I would get tired of trying to figure out the site, and turn it off.”

If you run into this problem, ask the same people to visit your competitor’s site and see if they can easily navigate that site. If they can navigate your competitor’s site but not yours, see if you can figure out your site’s problems. Often mobile site problems are an easy fix, but you might not discover them if you don’t try the site yourself.

It’s hard for people who run dealerships to realize that the consumer is not “just like you.” They are not. You are unique, and have a completely different insight into the car business and car shopping. You are not trying to sell yourself a car, so gear your site’s mobile experience to non-car dealers.

Brett Stevenson


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