According to DialogTech, 95% of vehicle buyers turn to the internet for gathering information. The same research reports that 2x as many automotive consumers start their research online versus at a dealership. For the auto sales industry, this can only mean one thing — you need a strong online presence and inviting car dealer website design if you want to remain competitive and drive more foot traffic to your store.
But it’s not just about building a website — you’ll need the right content if you want to provide your customers with the information they are looking for, whether that’s to contact you, browse your inventory, or find their nearest location. In fact, the majority of car dealer websites don’t follow best practices that help convert potential buyers into customers.
- Only 22% of dealerships offer a call back service on their website
- Only 44% of dealership websites offer 24-hour live web chat
- Automotive consumers visit an average of 4.2 websites in their purchasing process
- The average automotive shopper spends 33% of their research time on a mobile device
Based on these stats, your business needs a fast-loading, optimized, and responsive website with various features to stand out and provide potential customers with a unique first experience.
So, what does a well-optimized, responsive car dealership website look like?
In this post, we’ll go through a quick and easy checklist of what you need to create a high-converting car dealer website design. As we go through the checklist, we’ll reference the EchoPark Automotive website as an example for each design element, starting with a store locator.
How to Create a Powerful Car Dealership Website – 6 Step Checklist
1) Add a Store Locator
There are few people who will purchase a vehicle without seeing it first, which is why one of the main purposes of your website should be to help potential buyers find where your dealership is located. Having a store locator is one of the easiest and most impactful ways to increase foot traffic because it allows you to provide updated, relevant business information to prospective customers. — like your phone number and address.
Storemapper is a simple yet powerful tool that lets you add an interactive map to any car dealer website.
Similar to EchoPark’s map above, using Storemapper’s store locator app makes it to easy to add the following functionalities to your site:
- Store address
- Store contact number
- Ability to find a store using zip code
- Pins for all the stores on the map
- Inventory and category filtering
- Global geo-location powered by Google Maps with browser and mobile “get directions” data
- Custom map to match your brand
All this information makes it super easy for prospective customers to get in touch or visit your dealership location. It takes just minutes to install a Storemapper store locator and requires no coding. You can try it for free for 7 days.
2) Optimize For Mobile
As we learned above, the average automotive shopper spends 33% of their research time on a mobile device. That is why your site must be responsive and optimized for mobile. This will ensure that your website provides a seamless navigation experience across all devices, including smartphones, tablets, and PC.
Google prioritizes responsive and mobile-optimized sites in rankings. If your site experience on mobile is poor, it is less likely to appear on Google’s search engine results.
Here is how EchoPark’s site looks on a mobile device.
3) Include Crisp & Clear Messaging with Great Images
Have you ever wondered why some websites draw you in, make you linger on their page, build trust, and compel you to buy their stuff?
The answer is simple — crisp and clear messaging with high-quality images and an intuitive layout together wave a magic wand. Let’s look at our example website again.
The messaging on the page immediately attracts attention.
For price-conscious buyers, the text — “Always up to $3,000 less than the competition.” does the trick.
For buyers who value quality and experience along with price, the main heading — “Price, quality & experience too good to be used.” resonates with them.
These clear and crisp messages with a high-quality image provide a pleasant first experience.
4) Add Contact Information
Imagine doing all the hard work, from attracting a prospective buyer to getting them interested in buying a car from your dealership and NOT providing them an easy option to get in touch with you.
As silly as it may sound, more than half of the car dealership sites make this grave mistake. EchoPark Automotive does a great job of providing all the necessary contact information to visitors quickly on the website.
On the home page:
- Visitors can easily find the phone number in the header and contact page link in the website footer.
- Additionally, all the pages on the site have chat and text message options if anyone is not comfortable with email or phone calls.
On the contact page:
- Visitors can use a clean and simple Contact Us form.
- Or, they can opt for the chat & text options.
5) Embed Videos
Videos are an integral part of any website as they help with both conversion rate optimization (CRO) and search engine optimization (SEO).
Plus, people these days prefer watching over reading, so videos perfectly fit the bill. You don’t have to go overboard and spend a fortune on producing one. All you need is a good quality video that explains your dealership’s unique selling proposition (USP), benefits, and call to action.
The EchoPark Automotive site includes an excellent example of a well-done explainer video. In less than two minutes, it:
- Address the pain/problem
- Touches on the benefits
- Highlights the USP
- Explains their process
6) Make Navigation Easy
If your website visitors can’t quickly figure out where to find what they want, they’ll leave — and that’s the last thing you want. This is why well-thought-out, easy navigation is a must for your car dealer website design. At a minimum, be sure to include:
- A top navigation bar that includes links to your products and services, as well as your store locations (this should appear on all of the main pages on your site)
- A page to browse your product (this should be accessible from any page on the site). Keep this page up to date at all times with your current inventory, pricing, and availability.
- On your shop page, make sure there is a way to sort your inventory so people can find what they are looking for quickly. Break it down by make, body style, brand, price, color, and features.
- In addition to high-level categories, add filters for your website visitors to use and narrow down their search even more. Some filters EchoPark uses are: location, make, model, body style, price, year, mileage, features, trim, drive type, engine, transmission, MPG (highway), exterior color, and interior color.
- It’s also a good idea to have a search bar on your shop page, so potential customers can quickly type in the type of vehicle they are looking for if they don’t want to filter through categories.
In other words, the quicker website visitors can find the vehicles they are looking for, the higher chance you have of turning them into customers.
EchoPark does an excellent job with navigation on their homepage. In the top-section, the search functionality based on car maker, body style, and price makes it easy for visitors to narrow down their options.
And for visitors who are unsure what they are looking for, they have a section where they categorize different available inventory based on vehicle type.
Let’s recap. If you want to improve your car dealer website design and drive more foot traffic to your dealership, make sure to optimize your website by:
- Adding a store locator (Storemapper is free for 7 days)
- Optimizing your website for mobile
- Including crisp and clear messaging with great images
- Adding contact information in multiple places
- Embedding videos
- Making navigation easy
If you’re considering adding these functionalities to your car dealership website and looking for a store locator app, give Storemapper a try today.