The internet is playing an ever-increasing role in the consumer experience, especially when it comes to buying cars. Just a few years ago, consumers visited an average of 4.5 car dealerships before making a purchase; today that number has dropped to visiting only 1.4 dealerships. Does this mean that consumers are doing less research before buying their new car?
Quite the opposite—consumers do a great deal more research online, gathering the information they need to make an informed decision before they ever visit a dealership in person. And with mobile visitors making up 50% of website traffic, tablets and mobile devices are playing an increasingly large role in the purchasing experience, especially in the automotive industry.
The modern consumer expects websites to load quickly and work with any type of device; the clunky mobile browsing solutions of the past are no longer enough to keep up with the competition. To capture the growing population of informed and connected consumers, auto dealerships need responsive websites.
Responsive vs. Adaptive: Not all website designs are created equal.
First, it’s important to understand the different types of website design. With an adaptive website, the site immediately detects a visitor is coming from a mobile browser and redirects them to a separate website, with a separate web address and design, created specifically for mobile use.
Adaptive websites often sacrifice usability and content in the name of a quick loading time. While that was a sensible solution several years ago, most visitors in today’s world have smartphones or tablets and use them for a large portion of their internet browsing. What’s more, smartphones and tablets now have power that rivals that of most desktops and laptops. With these changes, the main challenge is creating a website that works seamlessly with such devices and meets customer expectations, rather than simply building a website that mobile devices can handle.
Responsive design is the modern solution to this problem. Instead of redirecting to a separate website or attempting to load the desktop webpage “as is” on a smaller device, responsive websites detect the screen resolution and adjust it to that size, be it a large tablet or a smartphone.
You can also adjust the content, offering mobile users ease of use and the opportunity to capture exactly what they need, fast—whether it’s calling your dealership, browsing inventory pages, or getting directions.
When you have worked so hard on developing an effective way to display your inventory, a beautiful website design, and high-quality content that has the potential to generate new leads, there’s no reason 50% of your visitors shouldn’t have access to it.
Responsive mobile design allows you to have a website that’s totally compatible with mobile and tablet browsing, without sacrificing quality, content, SEO value and ease of maintenance, as well as analytics reporting and analysis.
With more and more mobile visitors expecting seamless usability from automotive dealership websites, responsive websites are quickly become the end-all solution.
Bill Parlaman is the vice president of digital marketing for Stream Companies, the leading full service integrated automotive advertising agency. Want even more information on SEO? Watch the Truth about SEO Webinar at: info.streamcompanies.com/dealer-seo.