Canadian Website Vendor Review: How does your vendor display used cars?

I’ve been getting a lot of dealers ask me which CANADIAN website vendor should they go with AND who is the best?  This is such a complex answer that I don’t really know where to start…… so I decided to explore the used inventory.

SEO, CRM, Blogging platforms, and Lead Management systems are not included in this post.  This is simply my favorite, the good old bread and butter of dealer leads……. The Used Car Inventory

 

I took 3 separate screenshots from 7 of Canada’s most popular Dealer Website Vendors.  This way you can easily compare each vendors search results and display pages to decide what will work for your store.

Some things to consider when talking to your vendor about conversions (HOW MANY VISITORS SUBMIT AN INQUIRY ON A USED CAR):

  • How long are the forms?  This can prevent the visitor from filling out the form completely if it takes too long.
  • How many different type of leads can your VDP generate? (Best Price, Test Drive, Credit Application, CarProof)
  • How do these pages look on an IPAD?
  • What does the mobile version of the site look like?  Pull the Iphone and see for yourself.

Used Car Section is your money pages!

If you check your Google Analytics (you do have those right?) you will notice that used car inventory is always in the top 3 of the most popular pages.  If you don’t believe me see for yourself.  I’m guessing your Used/New Vehicle specials pages also attract a lot of attention.

Consumers have sooooo much access to new car review sites, OEM sites (gm.ca, ford.ca) that they are less likely to do a build and price or research their New Car on a dealership website.  If they are in fact looking for a new car on your website there is a really good chance that they already have made a decision on what they want.  The new car shopper is simply choosing who they want to buy that new car from (best price, available?, reputation, sales person) VS a used car shopper looking for an exact vehicle.

My firm belief is the SRP’s and VDP’s on a dealers New Car section are not as important as the Used Car section.

If they are browsing your dealership website for a used car you better hope that the SRP’s (Search Result Pages) and VDP’s (Vehicle Display Pages) are equipped to bring home the leads!

If your pages convert better than your competitors, you or going to get the first crack at the lead for that 2010 Imapala that can be found anywhere.  Your website can actually make the used car you are selling more attractive than comparable models at the same price.  Don’ t believe me? Ask a dealer that went from a poor performing website to a high quality site with great search and display pages.  The leads will increase overnight!

Don’t judge a vendor by the homepage!

I’m going to tell you a little secret.  It’s not hard for an automotive website vendor to make an amazing “custom”  homepage.  What dealers are not aware of, is that they will have limited ability to customize the Search Results and Display Pages.  They might be able to change a button here or there, but for the most part what you see is what you get.

Get it out of your head right now that you are going to be able to choose a vendor and get them to change their SRP’s and VDP’s to match “That BMW dealer in California I saw at NADA”.  The search pages and display pages are on platform that is shared with all of their customers.  Same thing with the credit application (that is a whole other blog post!).

So here we go.  I have provided you with 3 screenshots for each Canadian website vendor.  Don’t judge a vendor by it’s cover (homepage), the pages that are going to translate into leads are the SRP’s and VDP’s.

 

ASL

 

Homepage

 

asl search page

ASL Search Results Page

 

ASL Vehicle Display Page

 

Dealer Smart Solutions (DSS)

 

DSS Homepage

 

DSS Search Results Page

 

DSS Vehicle Display Page

 

Evolio

 

Evolio Homepage

 

Evolio Search Results Page

 

Evolio Vehicle Display Page

 

E-Dealer

 

Edealer Home Page

 

Edealer Search Results Page – Chat Icon (on right) doesn’t appear like above

 

Edealer Vehicle Display Page

 

Glovebox

 

Glovebox Homepage

 

Glovebox Search Results Page

 

Glovebox Vehicle Display Page

 

EZ-Results

 

EZ-Results Homepage

 

EZ- Results Search Results Page

 

EZ – Results Vehicle Display Page

 

Strathcom

 

Strathcom Homepage

 

Strathcom Search Results Page

 

Strathcom Vehicle Display Page

 

Your Turn:

What is important to your dealership when it comes to displaying your used inventory on your dealership website? Is there anything that is working OR not working? Use the comment box below to be involved in the conversation.

 

 

 

 

Working both in the dealership and on the vendor side, I have spent the last 10 years of my life studying the car business. I love car dealers. I love blogs. I am The Dealer Geek.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • Grant Gooley

    Great post Ryan.

    VDP’s are by far your #1 most important/viewed pages. Especially your used inventory. It is very important to stand out and be different from your competition.

    I suggest dealers watch their analytics closely. Pay attention to the bounce rate and time on page. If people aren’t spending any time on your VDP’s and they are not clicking through to convert, you need to rethink your page strategy.

    A strong call to action and minimum 40 high res pics, with a video walk around should be enough to get some attention.

    Thanks Ryan for a great vendor comparison here.

    Grant Gooley

  • John Weltz

    Nice job Ryan. There are good Canadian Vendors that don’t seem to get consideration at selection time. Oh Canada!! Keep up the good work.

  • John – Thanks for stopping by. At lot of these guys do not get consideration because a majority of dealers do not know they exist.

    I would suggest they all start producing more helpful content to educate dealers on how they can help them with their online presence.

    If you were to survey the 3200 franchise dealers in Canada, I bet you on average they could name only 2 website vendors (Canadian) outside of DSS.

  • @Grant – You couldn’t be more bang on with that comment. Video walkarounds will keep them “around” for sure. Problem is the damn things take so much time.

    I love when dealers first realize that well over half of their traffic is focused on their used inventory. I can see the wheels turning in their head “why the hell did we spend so much time customizing that facebook button on the homepage!”.

    USED CARS BABY USED CARS

  • Sound advice on what to look for, Ryan. I’ll be the first to admit that I have very limited experience with Canadian website companies and their deliverables. I can only tell you what appears to be most functional (in my eyes) for the consumer.

    Looking at the screenshots you took, I’d have to believe E-Dealer or EZ-Results likely have the highest conversion rate, just from their layouts. Knowing nothing of the SEO, those are the two most appealing to me.

  • jason

    Hi Ryan…another good blog post. Just got back from Driving Sales and some attention was given to the number of calls to action on a VDP. Some vendors said have as many as 17! Others said be more selective. Our dealership makes decisions based on split testing and analytics…for us, the fewer calls to action, the higher the conversion rate.

  • @Jason – I’m sure you learned a tonne of new tricks at Driving Sales. I would assume that a few less calls to action would = more conversions.

    How many different choices does a customer really need to have when contacting you about a specific vehicle?

    The one I absolutely HATE is “make an offer”. I call that button the Gross Destroyer.

    What do you think the best verbage is?

  • Ryan, as always… you deliver! I did meet with a Canadian website vendor at both AutoCon and Driving sales, you can check them out here: http://www.autovelocity.ca/

  • Great insights Ryan. I enjoyed the post.

  • I’ll have to check them out . Also, they should probably go in the Ultimate Dealer Resource guide. Thanks for poppin by David.

  • I have been working with Brent Wees from Glovebox for about 1 1/2 and he, and his team are awesome. Brent works with us closely in many regards, listens to our needs digitally, and responds with results. If you need a company that is customer and results driven I would definitely give Glovebox a look.

    • Thanks for the detailed review Troy. Could you post your website link so the readers could see the finished product?

  • Troy

    Sure Ryan. I am glad to. http://www.mississaugatoyota.com

  • Ryan, Great post! So I would like to present these questions to everyone.

    “What is a Conversion”?
    “What is a Call to Action”?
    “Why does someone even visit your website”?

    I ask these questions since there is no one answer and that is why a website has to be designed to speak to everyone BUT allow someone to follow down the conversion path.

    This path could be started by the desire to find:
    Fuel Efficient Vehicle
    Certified Vehicle
    Monthly Payment Specific
    Hybrid
    Crew Cab
    etc etc.

    Then what if the they now find the vehicle they want… what conversion paths are in place to capture a lead?
    What is your trade worth
    E-Price
    Make an Offer (Which is not a Gross Killer if word tracks are in place)
    Send to a Friend
    Schedule a Test Drive
    Find out more info
    Get Financing
    Watch the Walkaround Video
    Read the vehicle reviews
    Watch the Past Customer Testimonial
    Receive a Virtual Brochure
    Find Out About Rebates
    Find Out About Military Discounts
    Find Out About College Discounts

    These are all conversions and will allow a savvy marketer to learn more about the shopper and therefore ensure the proper retargeting, demand generation, follow up process, cookie tracking is all in place. The things I am talking about here are not in the VAST majority of all dealership websites across Canada and USA. Which amazes me! Most Dealerships are a Multi-Million dollar business per year and a website is treated like a newspaper ad that is online.

    There is no tracking of digital body language, heat mapping, eye tracking, conversion assist tracking, or even a basic old-school shopping cart abandonment strategy. I won’t even get into site retargeting and stop retargeting pixel when a form is completed. What about custom thank you pages for when a lead fills in a form that has additional links, videos and conversion tools to keep the person on the site after they convert on a form. The longer someone is on a site the more you can learn therefore the better your strategy and higher your conversion.

    So I ask you one simple final question… What is your engagement strategy and does it include text, audio and video?

    I have sent Ryan some Eye Tracking and Heat Mapping Screen Grabs for your review which tells a lot about on site analytics which can be played back in video format to see how people react and engage with a page.

    Don’t judge a website by looks and how you feel but judge by research and testing and testing and testing. We have tested our sites extensively and do so daily and that is why we have such a long wait list for our websites. One this is for sure… nothing is constant.

  • We just built a website with Evolio and cosmetically I was totally underwhelmed after a two and half month wait for delivery.
    Having said that, it really is all about conversion – and this site is converting very well. Funny it’s like the date that was very average looking, but turned out to have a great personality (or stroke your ego the right way lol).
    We are liking it more and more every day!

  • Hi Ryan,

    RE: ASL

    This is article by the way is great information to help dealers make comparisons between website vendors in Canada. That said, I would like to point out that for ASL you are not giving an accurate example which I would hope is important enough to post a correction. The first way for you to know that you are not looking at a current website design, worthy of being listed as an option for dealers today in Canada is that the site developer is ASL. ASL is a name that has not existed for a few years. ASL was bought by Sun Media and is now known as Autonet Dealer Solutions (ADS). For a current example of a website designed recently by ADS please see the following links http://www.hoganchev.com , http://www.hoganchev.com/used-cars and http://www.hoganchev.com/used-cars/2010-Chevrolet-Camaro_Coupe.html?car-id=1630995.

    • Ryan Thompson

      Thanks for the update James. I appreciate you giving some new examples of Autonet Dealer Solutions.

      Looks like they have made some nice changes since the old ASL days.

      • Anytime. I think this is a great resource and nice that you are providing this to help illustrate what pages looks like with each vendor. The caution I would throw into this is that the illustrated pages may not be the only option available. Dealers should confirm with vendors and not make their decision on this illustration alone. For instance, Autonet has fully customized website solutions so things can be changed. I would personally like to see all the same pages shown from a mobile device. Given that mobile visits now represents 25% of a dealers website traffic and that is growing fast, the presentation on a mobile device should not be overlooked.

  • Thanks for explaining Ryan. From my point of view Vehicle Display Pages and a call to action (may be a contact form) on homepage are a few things to count on, BTW I am not a web expert but this is just what my mind says. Thanks again for the insights you have shared.

  • I believe in 2014 the most important thing for any website provider for dealerships is conversion and increasing traffic. Not only that but also providing solid SEO to support long term traffic growth. Also, social media is very important part of driving traffic. Still we see website providers building websites which are very cluttered.