For the last few years, there has been a lot of buzz about car dealerships needing to develop a mobile strategy. More people are going online using their phones and tablets, so the ability to adapt to the smaller touchscreen rather than the traditional computer and mouse concept has been important. However, it’s time to consolidate.
In 2015, there doesn’t need to be a separate mobile and desktop strategy. Dealers should be applying a single strategy when it comes to their websites and other digital marketing properties. This means saying goodbye to the mobile site. Dealers simply need a digital strategy that remains unified across every possible device.
Here are a few tips to help dealers make 2015 the year that they capture everyone’s attention regardless of which devices they use.
Test Across the Board
Automotive website providers have been doing it for a while and many dealers have been doing it, too, but there are still plenty who look at their websites almost exclusively from one or two devices. They see it on their computers. They probably check it on their phones. It has to be more.
Whether you’re exploring new website options or simply wanting to improve your current situation, test on every type of device you can get your hands on. Even today, there are clear differences between how websites render on Windows 7, Windows 8, Mac, Android tablets, iPads, Surfaces, iPhones, Android phones, Windows phones, or any of the various types of devices that people use or carry around with them.
Be sure to check on slower connections as well. It may work nicely from a cable connection or WiFi, but once it hits a mobile connection, some websites start to fail miserably.
Go Beyond the Homepage
You need to check how every type of page renders on various devices. Many dealers do not realize that landing pages and content pages they create on their website do not render on every device. Some, particular those using mobile websites (on .mobi or m.domain.com URLs), do not have the proper one-to-one pages for every device.
Google wants to serve up pages that will appear regardless of the device. If you build a page, email it to yourself and click the link on your smartphone. Did it pop up or did it redirect to the home page or another page on your website. If it didn’t pop up, you have a serious mobile problem from Google’s (and your customers’) eyes.
Use a Responsive Platform
The race between adaptive and responsive has been a tight one for a while, but it seems as if responsive design is winning out for 2015. Companies like DealerOn build websites on a responsive platform, meaning that the same basic page that is served on a desktop also appears on a mobile device.
With responsive, the content remains mostly the same across devices. It resizes and shifts to fit the screen size. Some components are added or removed based upon screen size and device type as well. For example, a “Click to Call” button might only appear on a mobile device while a large slider banner might appear on a desktop, but all of the rest of the content remains the same on the page.
Focus on Inventory
Even if most of your website is not perfect for mobile devices, your inventory has to be. Don’t just check it out on your desktop. Do a deep dive. Check the functionality and speed on your search results pages and vehicle details pages thoroughly.
This is absolutely crucial. Your best chance of being able to pull someone who is showrooming at a competitor to come over to your dealership is to have a great inventory form and functionality on your inventory. Make sure you can navigate it quickly, that the images are beautiful, and that component such as video and calls to action are all working properly and easy to click with a finger on a small screen.
2015 is looking to be a year of continued migration to mobile by Americans. Dealers have to take advantage of this by doing modern marketing in modern ways. That means treating mobile and desktop with equal priority.