- String Automotive Started Providing Car Dealers with Websites 7 Years Ago... They have now grown and become a source of innovation and competitive advantage for Car Dealers.
- Recently, we have become aware of the unique approach and innovation that String Automotive has brought to the dealer website supplier segment.
- 1. WEBSITE DESIGN SERVICES - For over 7 years String Automotive has resisted the temptation to rely on design templates. Each time they plan the implementation of a website for a new dealer client, an original design is drafted by Alan Ezzati for review with the dealer. Alan is one of the more respected and well known web designers in North America who now specializes in automotive websites. He initially established his reputation for "clean" and effective web design before he ever thought of building websites for car dealers. There is one skill String has that some would call good, and others would wince at... These people are the best at copying other website designs and adapting them to the auto industry!
When it comes to creating virtually perfect duplicate "knock off" dealer website designs, String is exceptionally talented... For example, they duplicated the Nordstrom Department Store's website, but made it into a car dealer's website! If a dealer sees a website he/she really likes, these people will mimic every aspect of that site's design and functionality, adapted over to a car dealership's functional requirements. Considering the sheer vacuum of actual web designers in our industry, a dealer website supplier that is OWNED by formally trained web designers that are creative and highly skilled, is an exception.
- 2. GOOGLE BUSINESS PARTNER We have worked with several dealer website suppliers since 1998... What has mystified us since around 2005 when SEO emerged as a Top Of Mind issue with car dealers, is that whenever we suggest taking their website platform architecture team to Mountain View for meetings with Google's own engineers so that we (ie: Reynolds Web Solutions, AutoMark, AutoFuze, BZ Results, ADP Web Solutions, etc.) could build in close integration with Google Webmaster and Analytics, and you know, actually get some help in making sure the dealer websites were going to work well with Google's indexing systems and stuff... The developers would glare at me like I was some kind of Judas turning traitor and belch out something like "Google does not know anything about what car dealers need in a website" or "It is none of Google's business and WE ARE the people responsible for designing the new website platform so inviting Google to interfere is an insult to our capabilities..." Yada, yada, yada... It drove me nuts that over and over again I would listen to all these website developers from several different companies get all up in a huff and act like I called them idiots when I offered to set up meetings with Google's engineers. Well, so apparently the people at String Automotive seem to have escaped this specific form of delirium that seems to effect most of the dealer website suppliers. Without any shame or bruising of egos, they went to Google's facilities in Mountain View and built their website platform architecture in conjunction with as much assistance as they could squeeze out of Google. They went so far as to build their entire platform to be complaint with Google Webmaster and Google Analytics Certification standards... Now, everybody who hates to see anyone do something different and better than in the past in this business is going to say the same thing that they said when I insisted that ADP Digital Marketing Consultants get Google Adwords Certified... "It doesn't really matter if you are Google Certified, we can do anything they can without going through Google's Certification nonsense..." OK, maybe yes, maybe no... But in our expert opinion GOOGLE CERTIFICATION AND WEBSITE DESIGN STANDARDS COMPLIANCE MATTERS!
- 3. CUSTOMER RESPONSIVENESS - Having lived through many life-cycles of starting with excellent customer service for our dealer website clients, and then making dealer support "Scalable" by making it suck, we are acutely aware and appreciative of fast and personalized customer support for dealers where you call the person who managed the initial website design and launch project, so he/she makes the requested changes while you are on the phone and the conversation sounds more like two business partners collaborating then taking a number at the supermarket deli. So far, and all bets are off if these people sell String Automotive to some big conglomerate (that hardly ever happens, right?), String Automotive provides such personalized and direct support to the dealers (and me) that i work with, I think they simply do not know any better... so PLEASE do not tell these people what the other website suppliers do! For right now, they are our favorite dealer website company to work with because when Tony at Kelly Ford calls and asks the account manager to make a change or fix something, it happens right away and he speaks to the same person every time he calls...We like that.
- 4. DATA EXTRACTION AND INVENTORY DISPLAY - Somebody forgot to tell the founders of String Automotive that you do not need to build your own data extraction and inventory display page generating application, that you can just buy it from one of the major suppliers of these services... Because they built their own inventory system! Now, this is actually kind of a scary thing for me, and I do not recommend you kids try this at home. This stunt is performed by highly trained professionals on a closed circuit course... Anyways, we watched the brain damage the people at String went through to get their inventory system built and working right for a major dealer group that was a mutual client at the time. We saw the String Team actually do their own "Customer Focus Group"... yeah, for real... Just like you see in TV shows like Mad Men. They brought in groups of in market auto shoppers and observed them using different dealer websites, tracking and recording what the customer liked, did not like and what compelled customers to come to the dealership, call on the phone, engage in a chat session or complete a lead form. We know that sounds a little extreme, and we were kind of surprised at the money they spent, but darn if all that first hand customer research did not result in one of the best Vehicle Detail Page (VDP) designs in the business!
So, do we like the people, products and service at String Automotive?
Yes, we certainly do at this point in time... Their willingness to build dealer websites around programming code that complies with Google Analytics and Google Webmaster standards, then have Google engineers inspect, revise and eventually certify their websites as 100% compliant is a major point of differentiation for String.
PLUS, String Automotive hired two of our favorite people in the auto industry that we recommended to them so they could launch an actual sales team (Yeah, they never had a salesperson prior to 2012):
- Charlie Bass
- Steve Botello
We have worked with Charlie and Steve on a "shoulder to shoulder" basis for several years and from over 300 sales team members at ADP, we cited their integrity and dealer focus on many occasions...
As for the history of our dealings with String Automotive: Back when they called themselves "Captive Lead" (they seem to have a problem with names), we met the owners, Alan and Ken through a mutual client... Our initial impression is that we did not like the way their websites were making our (then) company's websites look bad.
We wanted to put them out of business, our competitive instincts told us to do everything possible to crush them. Over time, as we got to know the people at String, we became friends. When they started to recommend that their dealer clients use Ralph's team at Tier10 Marketing for digital advertising, our friendship became stronger and we worked together via phone and email on a daily basis.
Today, we find ourselves helping them by referring employees, making advertising recommendations and pushing their team to write and publish articles like the one about Google Analytics making a radical change in how they treat visitor tracking to Google Analytics certified sites, like those created by String Automotive. The String Automotive Team are friends of the ADM Professional Community. Ask anyone in the car business who is our friend, if we are willing to help them be more successful.
As for recommending any website supplier, it is not that we care all that much about which website supplier a dealer buys their sites from. Previously, some of us cared a lot when we worked for companies whose business was selling dealer websites, but we don't any more. We have plenty of friends working at ADP, Cobalt, Dealer.com, Naked Lime, DealerFire and several other website suppliers.
But, when it comes to the handful of dealers we work directly with, we do care what website supplier we have to work with... We care a lot! So, when I discovered that the Rick Case Auto Group was using a VERY lame dealer website supplier (who I will not name because they have an accessory sales application that I like a lot), my recommendation was to take a look at String Automotive.
When their IT Director (Naz Eosso), who is EXTREMELY knowledgeable, a veteran of Toyota (SET) and is no easy IT professional to impress, looked at String Automotive's technology, site architecture, and the custom work they do, she bypassed all the other big name website suppliers and selected String Automotive. She said the decision was actually very easy to make.
Then when Chris Saraceno's team at Kelly Ford in Florida looked at String Automotive, they saw a very real opportunity to gain a competitive advantage over other dealers in their market. Tony and Chris made the decision to switch from their current supplier to String Automotive. The all new Kelly Ford dealership website from String Automotive can be viewed at http://KellyFord.com.
We are very pleased to announce that String Automotive has become an ADM Professional Community sponsor. We like their products and believe dealers who use them receive a substantial competitive advantage.
All of us on the management team at Automotive Media Partners, LLC are more than willing to tout String Automotive's capabilities. When people question the need for yet another company entering into the automotive website supplier space, we believe that the competition and the innovation that results from this competition benefits all dealers, regardless of who you use as a dealership website supplier. It makes sense that String Automotive should support the ADM Professional Community with an advertising sponsorship like several other suppliers are doing.
We would like to express our sincerest appreciation and thanks to the String Automotive team for being an ADM Professional Community sponsor!
When we asked the people that own and run String Automotive what they wanted from their sponsorship of the ADM Professional Community, they responded by saying that they want car dealers to know who they are, that they sell very competent and capable dealership websites, and that they are the only automotive website supplier who is fully Google Analytics (and Webmaster) Certified.
What does that mean to a car dealer? It means that a dealer's website built and maintained by String Automotive has a site architecture that has been designed from the ground up to be compliant with Google Webmaster Standards. We believe that the ADM Professional Community can deliver on the objectives requested by the String Automotive Team.
Listed below are a few examples of String Automotive Dealer Websites that we found on our own without any "stacking of the deck" by our friends at String: