A classy combination of excellent information, flash and video eventually helped seal victory, with the Ewards judging panel very impressed with the car maker’s site.
‘For me this site epitomises what Jaguar is about,’ said CAP’s Lee Coomber. ‘It is clear, crisp and sophisticated.’ While HPI’s Daniel Burgess added: ‘The Jaguar site is simple but sophisticated and very sexy. It truly reflects the brand values and you can’t help but paw it.’
Jaguar were delighted at winning the inaugural Eward and UK managing director Geoff Cousins, marketing director David Steele and web manager Lindsay Scaife accepted the accolade on behalf of the car maker.
‘Awards like this are evidence that customers like what we do and have received it well,’ said Cousins, pictured accepting the Eward from the editor. ‘The website is only going to get more and more important to our business.’
Steele agreed, confirming the website is core to the brand’s plans during the tough times ahead. ‘The website is vital to our business,’ he explained. ‘It is one of the most important touch points for consumers to interact with Jaguar; to find out information about the products and find out more about the brand too.
‘Next year will see another step change in web activity for Jaguar, because we are aware that so many people are using it as a primary source of information and we are investing much more money as a result.’
The manufacturer is seeing real, tangible benefits to the site too, which launched in its current guise around three years ago.
‘One of the most interesting statistics is that when someone goes online and books a test drive for the XK then that is more or less guaranteed to develop into a sale,’ said Steele. ‘We get one of our highest conversion rates on leads derived from the website. At the moment the site is about information and gaining leads, but we see it becoming more of a relationship centre for Jaguar and its customers.’
Scaife added: ‘The internet is the primary shop window for Jaguar and that’s not just for new cars, but used cars as well. The levels at which we can showcase our cars have shifted dramatically. We can show 10 pictures and have videos moving in and out of our models.’
But what of the conception that Jaguar owners are older and therefore not so web savvy as buyers of other marques? How does Jaguar tackle this? What’s quite obvious by the chuckling from the three executives is this is something that’s been researched heavily by the manufacturer.
‘I think that profile is changing,’ says web manager Scaife. ‘We were actually quite concerned that when we moved into flash elements on the site people’s machines would not be able to take it, but the uptake of this technology, particularly in the older buyers, is very high. These buyers are increasingly web savvy and are actually leading what we do on the website.’
‘We want to appear as the primary site above the plethora of those purporting to be Jaguar,’ says Scaife. ‘Safeguarding our place in results is very important as a huge proportion of our traffic comes from there.’
Currently two people at the manufacturer look after the website – Scaife and colleague Natasha Hughes – and both work with an outside agency, as well as the marque’s global web team, to update and manage it.
The UK portal currently attracts around 5,000 unique users per day – some 155,000 per month – and when Jaguar sends out its monthly e-newsletter visitor numbers can touch 18,000 a day. ‘I think it’s quite an achievement that two people and an outside agency can produce something as good as our website,’ says Cousins.
So where do the opportunities lie now? ‘I think it’s on mobile phones,’ says Scaife. ‘Website technology is moving on quickly and the web viewed on mobiles, like the iPhone, is the way forward.
‘We need to think about the whole customer experience – from the moment they click to when they sign on the dotted line. The website plays an important role and it will only become more important in years to come.’
Our headline sponsor Motors.co.uk says: ‘Congratulations to Jaguar on winning the first Car Manufacturer Website of the Year Eward.’
We’re already planning our Ewards 09 – if you think you should be on the judging panel next year get in touch on (023) 9252 2434 to find out how you can get involved.