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3 Reasons Why Car Dealers are Ready for Responsive Website Design

There is no shortage of opinions in our industry. Depending on who you ask, they will likely have a very passionate opinion about the three major types of mobile website strategies: responsive, adaptive, and mobile-only. If you ask a website provider, they’ll tell you that the option they have currently available is the best option whether they have numbers to back up their opinion or not.

Here, we’d like to make the case about responsive website design in a way that relies on more than opinions stemming from a company’s own technologies. We have explored all of the options and we are convinced that responsive is not only the future but that it’s already here and ready to help dealers improve search marketing and conversions.

1. Google Loves Responsive Websites

The search giant has had their hands in guiding the perspectives of marketers since their rise to prominence nearly a decade ago. As we detailed in our blog post, Google has made it very public and exceedingly clear that they believe all websites should eventually be built on responsive website platforms.

They make a great case for the user experience component, but they are also doing it for selfish reasons. With responsive websites, they are able to serve to their customers (those using their search engine) a consistent set of search results options. This eliminates mobile-only websites (which dominate the automotive space currently) as a valid option now and in the future because a web page that appears on a desktop may not appear without redirect on a mobile device.

With Google’s opinion taken into consideration, we can eliminate option 3 – mobile-only websites – completely from consideration if search is an important traffic driver for your dealership.

2. Your Customers Love Responsive Websites

Consistency is one of the keys in our industry. Your customers want to see and hear a consistent message in your advertising and they want to be able to have a consistent experience when shopping on your website.

With responsive website design, they get just that. Car shoppers will visit a website multiple times during the buying process. They will often do so from multiple devices during visits that are spread out over days, weeks, or even months. With responsive websites, they’ll be able to have the same basic experience every time they visit regardless of the device that they’re using at any given moment.

Adaptive websites, the second option that some dealers are currently using, does not deliver a consistent experience. Pages can look completely different depending on which device they’re using. This means that they will not experience the triggers that got them interested in a vehicle in the first place. It’s the reason that adaptive websites consistently perform worse than responsive websites (even bad ones). It isn’t as pronounced as a reason to abandon them altogether the way that mobile-only websites fell, but they are clearly not ideal today and will likely be completely obsolete within a year or two.

3. You Will Love Responsive Websites

All of this is important. You want to make Google happy and you want to make your customers happy, but you must be able to be happy with your website and backend tool in order to take full advantage of your website. With responsive websites, the management of them is streamlined in ways that mobile-only or adaptive websites simply cannot achieve.

Whether it’s image resizing, button placement, or text alignment, a properly designed responsive website will be able to make your own experience with the site as easy as possible. Anyone who has had to manage a mobile or adaptive website will know that challenges can arise because you’re basically managing two different websites. Sometimes, the interface does not make it conducive to page creation or editing. With responsive websites, you have one website to manage that will encompass every option.

Why We Love Responsive

These three reasons are compelling for dealers, but it’s important that you understand our perspective as well. It was a long process of research, coding, and testing that brought our platform to the point that it’s at today. This process is the reason that most companies are coming up with excuses about why they are not going responsive rather than following the trends and the data that point to its inevitability.

We believe in delivering cutting edge technologies to our clients. When all is said and done, delivering the best tools and technology available is how we’ve been able to keep our clients dominant with their website presence. We love responsive websites. If you don’t love them yet, we encourage you to let us show you why you should.

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Tags: dealer websites, responsive, responsive website design, responsive websites

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Comment by Alexander Lau on September 4, 2014 at 4:32pm
Comment by Alexander Lau on September 4, 2014 at 4:31pm

@ Manny, whom might they be...

Thanks Ali Amirrezvani!

Unfortunately, our industry is seeing more providers jumping on board without having a great platform. 

I agree!

Comment by Alexander Lau on September 4, 2014 at 4:30pm

While I tend to agree, I'd be a hypocrite to fail to mention some of the pitfalls of RWD, which have been highly documented athttp://www.drivingsales.com/blogs/carpursuit/2014/07/16/why-respons.... It's all in how you use the tools at your fingertips.

Comment by J.D. Rucker on August 10, 2014 at 10:06am

Ali knows exactly how I feel about responsive, so no need to tell him why I like this article so much.

Manny, I'd like to add a negative to responsive, and I'll do it in the form of a story. There was a father and daughter that came into the dealership back in the 90s and she was picking out her first car for her sweet 16. She wanted something sporty and she could spend up to $15k - plenty of used 2-doors available. We looked at a Mustang, a Prelude, and a couple of others, but the one that caught her eye was a Geo Storm. It fit her image of what a sports car should look like and it fit her father's desire to spend less (I think it was overpriced at $6k) and there was nothing I could do to dissuade them. There are plenty of internet managers today that can get swayed based upon what a responsive website looks like and there are GMs that can then be swayed by lower prices. As long as it's challenging to know what a great responsive website should look like, how it should perform, and how to test the platform, there will be vendors putting out inferior products.

David, it's a nice video. As you know, I've always thought that you guys have great stuff but limited exposure.


Influencer
Comment by David Addison on August 9, 2014 at 7:30pm

Hell, most of the industry can't even follow web best practices on desktop sites.  Duplicate content pages, incoherent URL schemes, bloated load times, broken links, long 301 redirect chains, lack of domain canonicalization, search engine bot traps and wasted crawl-budgets...  If they can't get the basics correct on the simple stuff, I fail to see how they'll be able to master responsive (and slightly adaptive) technology.  You're right to note the difference between being on the "bandwagon" and following web best practices (e.g. having a great platform). The sad truth is that most dealers don’t know the good from the bad.  And that’s a bloody shame.

We recently shot this video: http://bit.ly/1sKBWPx.  It is dreadfully long and boring.  This stuff is complicated.  Bottom line, the dealers trust the big (and IMHO not so good) vendors.  These vendors are dug in deep and it is going to take time to knock em' down. Like you Manny, we're going to keep chugging along and we're going to do RWD the right way.  I hope the industry wakes up and notices. 

Comment by Ali Amirrezvani on August 9, 2014 at 5:09pm

Manny - Thank you! Poorly designed responsive websites do not take advantage of the technology. Many are slow. Others do not serve different components depending on screen size. For example, on a small screen, a VDP should have a "Click to Call" button but it wouldn't make sense to have that button on a large screen view.

David - Mastering the speed component is often the difference between putting out a great responsive platform and putting out something that is designed to jump on the bandwagon. Unfortunately, our industry is seeing more providers jumping on board without having a great platform.


Influencer
Comment by David Addison on August 9, 2014 at 4:02pm

Ali, we agree.  We went RWD with our auto platform more than a year ago.  When you serve mobile really well you increase traffic to the dealership.  The metrics shift around (e.g. less email leads and more foot traffic).  Done right there are no cons.  It takes a lot of work to get page load times good on mobile devices.

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