Produced by: G-Forces
Runner up: ArnoldClark.com
HERE’S one for the Essex boys and girls to celebrate! Multi franchise operator Essex Auto Group picks up this year’s Eward for Franchised Dealer Website of the Year.
The firm – which holds franchises for Ford, Mazda, Fiat, Kia and Volvo – has a stunningly simple, but beautifully thought-out website that wowed our judges. It was a close run thing though – it narrowly took the top spot with just two more points separating first and second place!
The independent, family-run group has been trading for 20 years and has placed high importance on its website, which is produced by G-Forces.
The groups’ marketing director Matt Brown was over the moon with the Eward and said it proves his vision for the site has paid off. He designed the site with G-Forces with the plan of promoting Essex Auto Group first and foremost, not just the cars it sells.
‘Customers can buy a car from any dealer, so it’s down to the relationship you can build with them,’ he said. ‘Our website aims to do just that and all are marketing starts or ends on our website.
‘It’s good to know the judges spotted that we try to get our personality across on the website. We’re delighted with this award and to beat Arnold Clark into second place is quite some achievement.
‘We’re not resting on our laurels though. We’ve got big plans to push the website next year with a host of new features and we’ll be concentrating on making it even better.’
‘The site has good impact as soon as it loads,’ said Visit Cars’ MD Shaun Armstong.
‘There’s a soft, engaging car search, clear navigation for purchase options while time and good effort has gone into the SEO.’
HPI automotive director Daniel Burgess was also impressed with the clever live booking facility and liked the fact the group had embraced social media.
‘We liked the strong stylish identity with the homepage banner showing the various branches,’ said Burgess. ‘There’s good search facilities based around lifestyle/vehicle type too. And extra site functionality like the live booking really sets these guys apart.’
And Rob Queen, marketing manager for UK Websites and Compucars also spotted the group’s adoption of Facebook (the group has a page on the social networking site where customers can become fans).
‘I liked the structure of the homepage allowing the user to locate their required service and with one click access that area,’ said Queen. ‘I was also impressed with their approach to innovation by featuring Facebook and a Loyalty Reward Scheme.’
Our headline sponsor says: ‘This franchised group solution has managed to squeeze a lot onto its brightly coloured and impacting homepage. It makes good use of both still images for vehicles in stock and has provided a corporate video to introduce customers to the group.
‘Nice to see them adopting online “chat” to engage with customers and the Loyalty Logistix card programme to encourage customer commitment. Definitely one to watch as it refines with age.’