Let ME Show YOU What I Can Put On YOUR Website!”
– the DD21 Exhibit Hall Request
Perusing the latest and greatest offerings that exhibiting vendors have to show is one of the many highlights of Digital Dealer conferences. After each conference, though, I tend to be amazed at the similarities between the tools and services. Buzzwords bounce off the walls in abundance.
Over the last few years I’ve written about the glut of pitches I’ve endured for “email marketing campaigns” to “social media management”, to “mobile apps” to “dashboards with everything you need to see in one place”. I met with several vendors while at DD21, vetting them on behalf of dealers clients as requested, and a similar pitch started to occur.
“Let ME Show YOU What I Can Put on Your Website”.
Gone are the days of traffic and leads being generated off-site, apparently, and welcome to the world of having widgets, plug-ins, and implants existing on your sites, taking credit for your customers. All of these software providers offer some upgraded level of functionality, interactivity, design, or customer-facing data, but at what cost and to what end, I wonder.
If you want software added onto your website, it should ideally do two things:
1) Be seamlessly integrated so it appears native to your site and all leads appear website-driven
2) Provide data so vast that it could not be gathered by any partnership the web provider could make alone
(Free CarStory Market Reports hit on both of these bonuses above). However, if it is just a shiny new button on a website that appears to do something special, it can and should be duplicated by your provider.
How an online shopper flows through a filtered search shouldn’t have to be completed through a separate portal existing on your site. It should live as a PART of your site, offered by your website provider. Sharing payments on the SRP and VDP? Certainly any progressive website provider can make one call to a data company, and build an algorithm to display it the same way. A pop-up offer? A pop-under lead gen form? A better trade evaluator? A sexier looking VDP with icons? All of these can easily be built or adopted by your website provider. These offerings provide short-term benefits because I can’t understand why any web company wouldn’t simply copy it and offer it as part of their design. If unlimited data that can’t be acquired elsewhere isn’t the differentiating factor, then all else should be adopted by your current website company.
Your website should be an all-in-one solution, yet today’s dealership website looks like a walk through Times Square with 50 lighted billboards screaming into your screen saying “Click Here”, “Buy Me”, “Oooh Look, Payments…” Too many add-on’s and it gets busy. It isn’t pretty. All of the core functionality you want should be (and in the future will be) just another part of your website.
If you see something you like, ask your website provider to build it. For every new widget you buy to make your site sing, you’re adding onto the cost of website conversion – and the ROI will eventually not make sense. Yes, shoppers convert in many different ways, but it doesn’t mean your site needs many different vendors to meet that demand. Stop selling US back OUR OWN traffic and customers, and start finding US ones that WE haven’t already driven to OUR virtual showroom. Keep your pronouns out of our dealership websites.