LAST year’s winner in the multi franchised category was a superb example of how to create a website to showcase a number of brands under one roof. This year we thought the competition would be even more fierce considering the winner would have to exceed last year’s expectations – predictions that certainly came true.
Arguably a harder arena to do business in, a dealer group with more than one franchise has to create a website showcasing those brands to a mixture of different customers. There has to be equal measures of manufacturer representation and special offers – and that’s not to mention having to get the dealer’s brand across too.
Get it right and you’ll have the manufacturers patting you on the back, and the customers putting money into your trouser pocket.
This year’s winner was Citygate with a bold example of how it should be done. The firm represents Volkswagen, Skoda and Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles – three different customer interests – and has sites in High Wycombe, Chalfont, Watford, Capitol Way, Colindale and Ruislip.
With different customers from different locations converging on one site, simplicity rules here. But it shouldn’t be too simple – failure to get the individual brands’ messages out there to the customers is suicidal.
Citygate has managed the job well. There’s easy navigation to the VW and Skoda sides of the business, plus the servicing, bodyshop, fleet sales and used car services it provides.
The website certainly caught the eye of Ewards judge Alex Knight of Progress Automotive. Knight said: ‘The key to this site’s success is a very clean design and a clear navigational path through to key customer action areas. I really liked the new car configuration options and finance calculators, and it’s topped off by a very smart mobile website to cater for browsers on the move.’
James Tew of Webzation commented: ‘Citygate has always demonstrated a forward- thinking approach with their web strategy. They clearly see their website as a fundamental part of their business. In addition to new and used vehicles their site is also a shopfront for their fleet and servicing arms. The site is both informative and rich with content.’