6 Traits of High-Converting Automotive Websites

Liam Burns
Written by Liam Burns
August 11, 2020

Since the inception of the first automotive in the late 1800s, the industry has been rapidly growing and evolving.  After Henry Ford innovated mass-production and General Motors, Chrysler, and overseas manufacturers from Europe and Japan gained traction, it seemed as though the industry couldn’t be stopped.

With passenger cars outranking any other type of vehicle, it’s estimated that the global automotive industry will grow to 9 trillion dollars by 2030, and new vehicle sales will account for 38% of that growth. However, despite predicted growth in the next ten years, it’s essential to understand that the auto industry is typically hit hard by recessions and worldwide events like the COVID-19 pandemic.

In today’s economy, competition is fierce—especially considering automobiles are such a substantial investment and risk. With so many companies fighting for consumer’s attention, many manufactures have turned to the modern digital landscape to drive conversions and brand awareness.

Why? The way consumers research and purchase vehicles has changed throughout the years. Where consumers would traditionally go to a dealership and test drive 10+ vehicles, they are now turning to the internet to help form their opinions and decisions. In fact, 59% of consumers spend time researching potential vehicles online before making a purchase.

Automotive websites are therefore becoming increasingly crucial. At this point in the customer journey, web optimization packs a serious punch. It can improve the user experience and result in higher conversions for your auto enterprise. To get started, let’s take a look at what makes a successful website and how auto industry pros are increasing website conversions with certain features.

What Makes a Website Successful?

If your automotive company wants to develop a successful brand that improves conversion rates and customer lifetime loyalty, your website need needs to be driven by user experience (UX). Successful automotive websites are UX-driven and empower development through their target audience and optimized data over time.

Before diving into website traits, it’s essential to understand the factors that drive a website’s success. To earn better engagement rates and conversions, build a website around the following principles:

  • Define your goals: Whether you’re looking to increase car sales or advertise a rewards program, your website needs to align with business objectives and push users towards that action.
  • Earn your audience’s trust: Assuming you know your target audience, your website needs to be credible and speak to your user’s emotional side to drive conversions.
  • Stand out: Your website needs to tell your automotive story with elements like price, customer service, quality, philanthropic ventures, and more.
  • Focus on usability: Develop a UX website that allows users to find pages in fewer clicks with a responsive, mobile-friendly design.
  • Include SEO: If you want your website to be found, it’s essential to include back and front-end SEO fundamentals like keywords, clean code, a site map, and more.
  • Learn from analytics: Dive into your website metrics to learn how users interact with your content and navigation to optimize future developments.

While brand awareness and user experience often lead to a successful website, it’s important to leverage additional elements like technology, data, and feedback to improve your site over time.

6 Automotive Website Must-Haves to Drive Conversions

Your website is the gateway to your brand and automotive products. Considering that it takes only 50 milliseconds for a consumer to form an opinion on your website, your design and user experience need to make an impression to keep the user’s attention.

When competing against the ‘Big 3’ and other international vendors, your automotive website needs to differentiate itself not only through aesthetics but also in how you showcase your products, customer service availability, and more. If you’re ready to develop a cutting-edge, engaging website that boosts your ROI, take note from the professionals:

1. Easy Navigation with Actions

Understanding the way users interact on your website is an essential part of UX design. From the moment a user enters your website, they should easily be able to find product or company information within three clicks. An essential part of user-friendly design is developing an intuitive, easy navigation that encourages users to explore your site more. Additionally, create a site map for search engines to crawl and understand your site hierarchy for optimization purposes easily.

Many automotive companies choose to either include a hamburger menu on the top right or left corner of the page or opt for a top navigation menu. Within your navigation, it’s also important to include a search bar for users to find exactly what they’re looking for before doing a deep dive themselves. For example, if your user wants to find features for a specific vehicle, all they need to do is search by model number, and the correct page will appear.

2. Minimalistic Flat Design

While web design is continuously evolving, users still like a sense of familiarity when browsing the internet. If you include too many pop-up boxes or an abrasive design, users might slow down or leave the page completely. However, by combining the best of both worlds, a minimalist flat design allows you to remain hyper-focused on the product and content but still appear aesthetically rich. A minimalistic flat design is simple, easy to navigate, and less cluttered so users can continue to search on your website.

Consider these elements when developing a minimalistic flat design:

  • Embrace negative space
  • Use large, impactful imagery to demonstrate your automotive products
  • Develop sharp typography that serves as a focal point
  • Choose contrasting tones, like black and white, overlaid with colorful elements

3. Impactful Video Backgrounds and High-Quality Images

Videos not only drive a 157% increase in organic traffic, but they also have the potential to grow your ROI 49% faster than traditional media. Automotive websites that play a video in the background attract the human eye to your product and showcase your value proposition more interactively. However, it’s important to verify your video doesn’t slow down your website speed or detract from the user experience.

High-quality images are a mainstay for automotive brands looking to showcase their vehicles across the home page, landing pages, or individual product pages. Ensure each photo is high-definition and showcases different angles of the vehicle like the interior, wheels, motor, and more. As more consumers purchase vehicles based on appearance, your graphics will position for higher conversions and aid your search engine optimization efforts.

4. Organized Content Segments

To develop a better digital experience, it’s essential to organize your content into different segments to help break down your most important information. Chunking, the art behind taking individual pieces of content and grouping it into larger formats, allows users to remember and recall your brand better in the future.

For example, when a user opens your automotive website, they should see four sections:

  • New vehicle models that are ‘hot’ or ‘featured’
  • Customer or vehicle service help
  • Vehicle specifications or features
  • Financial guidance

Content chunking, along with your organized navigation, helps your users digest and easily find information throughout your website.

5. Excellent Customer Service

While showcasing the newest vehicle model looks excellent aesthetically, you need to back it up with even better customer service. Why? The best automotive websites understand that offering your users the right experience leads to higher conversion, customer loyalty, and more brand awareness around your products.

In a need-it-now digital environment, consider installing a chatbot to automate frequently asked questions and allow your users to speak with a customer service agent directly. Chatbots can answer 80% of standard questions and are currently used by 1.4 billion people worldwide. A few tips to improve the user experience with chatbots include:

  • Ask your team about FAQs the typically hear and research current search queries
  • Build a conversation tree from the beginning to the end of each conversation
  • Inform your users that a human is just a click away to help
  • Give your bot a friendly and humanized voice with personalization features
  • Send feedback surveys through your bot to understand the user’s experience

By employing chatbots on your website, you can inform users to make purchase decisions in their preferred communication method.

6. Tools and Technology

Online car-shoppers like in-depth information and often prefer to do research first before talking to a professional. To give your automotive website a competitive advantage, develop tools that empower users to learn more and get on the road faster with their next vehicle purchase.

Top automotive sites are already including enhanced technology on their websites to improve user experience and educate consumers. Consider the following tools:

  • Auto loan calculator
  • Instant pricing quotes or approval offers
  • ‘What’s my next car’ personality test
  • ‘Find my car’ location searches
  • Build and price customizations

Optimize Your Website’s Digital Customer Experience

With more competition saturating the market than ever before, the automotive industry faces the challenge of increasing conversions and earn long-term customer loyalty. With a website focused on user experience, design, and engaging content, you can capture your user’s attention and persuade them to invest in your brand’s vehicles.

When developing your automotive website, take note from other high-converting websites by adopting:

  • A clear navigational structure that allows users to find information quickly
  • Minimalist design that highlights your products
  • Bold video and imagery to engage your users
  • Chunked segments to organize your content into large groups
  • Stellar customer service features that educate your users
  • Tools and technology to empower purchase decisions

If you’re ready to optimize digital user behaviors to drive engagement and conversions for your automotive website, download The Ultimate Guide to Optimizing Digital Experiences for Enterprise today.

Topics: Conversion Optimization, Online Retail, Website Performance
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