THE most important thing for car dealers to remember when designing a website is the end user. And one of the latest Car Dealer Eward entrants, Specialist Cars of Stoke, did just that. Owner Umesh Samani wanted his car sales site to put all the information a buyer could want within just a few clicks of the homepage.
‘Our main goal was to concentrate on creating an easy to use website,’ explained Samani,
and it’s clear to see he’s achieved his goal. His website – Autochange.co.uk – concentrates on displaying stock in its best possible light. Cars have up to 12 pictures, the full specification is detailed and the way car listings are displayed is clear and easy to read.
The site – designed by agency DADI – incorporates live chat as well as a ‘Buy and Drive’ facility that encourages customers to buy on their first visit. The independent’s website has impressed some of the Car Dealer Ewards judges, being held in association with Autotorq.com.
Here, we’ve shown it to a selection of judges as a taster to see what they think. Stewart Niblock of headline sponsors Autotorq.com said: ‘I like this one. Nice rich imagery and it contains all the necessary information on the homepage without appearing cluttered.
‘The site has a clear and simple navigation structure making it easy for users to find what
they want with strong calls to action. This is one of the nicest independent sites I have seen for a while!’
Impressive stuff. But it wasn’t just Niblock that was impressed – Rob Queen of Starkwood Media Group also liked Specialist Cars’ offering.
‘Most used car websites have difficulty finding real differentiators – after all it is very challenging to make used car stock lists interesting and visually unique,’ he said.
‘However, it appears that Autochange has set their online USP to be the use of social media, specifically Facebook and Twitter. The links are so significant you’re almost forced to click on them. I also thought their contact us page had an interesting combination of both social media and contact details.’
Eric Stone of warranty firm WMS was a bit disappointed to see a lack of GAP and RTI products offered, but overall found the site clean-looking and easy to use.
‘It is simple to navigate from section to section with buying and selling a car and vehicle finance all easy to locate,’ explained Stone. ‘I also like the content, style and the fact it is relevant to the needs of the buyer.’
James Tew, former Car Dealer columnist, now CEO of Webzation, said the site goes to show what can be achieved online.
‘Although Specialist Cars are a relatively small dealership they have built functionality in to their site that you would typically expect to see in larger groups,’ said Tew.
‘In addition to vehicle retailing there is great emphasis on aftersales such as servicing and accessories and therefore secondary revenue channels. I also like the fact there are plenty of calls to action and live chat – I had a response to my question in 20 seconds which was superb.’
There’s still plenty of time to get your site in front of our Ewards judges – the closing date for entries is October 14.
We’re searching for winners in seven categories this year: Single Franchised Dealer, Multi Franchised Dealer, Car Supermarket, Independent and Car Manufacturer. The judges will also be handing out two special awards: Web Innovation and Special Achievement. For details of how to enter, see the panel above.