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Become a mobile master

Posted by Meg Bernazzani on May 14, 2018

Attract more car buyers with a top-notch mobile experience

Everyone is on mobile these days. Messaging, social networking, or just browsing, mobile takes up more of our digital time—over 77% of adults in the UK use a smartphone daily. In fact, 80% of CarGurus visitors come to the site via mobile devices.* It follows that if so many customers are looking at you on their smartphone, you want to make that experience as good as possible. Here are our top three tips for creating a user-friendly mobile site.

A responsive website is a must to cater to mobile visitors

When it comes to building their digital experience, most retailers’ thoughts usually turn to a desktop website. But, today’s customers are mobile-first and device agnostic. That means they often start their purchasing journey on a smartphone but switch back and forth between that, desktop, tablet, smart TV, and more. Theirs is a multi-channel experience and it should be great whatever device they’re on. This is why you need a responsive website.

A responsive website automatically adjusts what is displayed, depending on the device it’s showing on. Often the software used to create your website will build it responsively from scratch. But that doesn’t mean you can sit back and let the webmaster take over. You need to understand what information is going to be a priority on mobile and choose your assets—video, images, text—accordingly.

Slow download speeds are one of the biggest turn-offs for a mobile website visitor. Nearly nine out of 10 shoppers (88%) will visit a local business if they searched for it on mobile, but 61% won’t come back to a site if it won’t load properly and 40% will look for a competitor instead. Google has found that taking more than three seconds to load sees customers 32% more likely to leave.

Images and video really impact your site download speed, so they are the first thing to optimise. Some mobile pages, such as the contact page, don’t need images at all, but if visitors are searching for specific cars, images are important. There is no hard and fast rule for image size—small is a trade-off against quality—but best practice suggests that the average JPEG should be 29kb and a PNG, 16kb. Video can be useful in car sales but it shouldn’t be the first thing a customer sees on mobile.

Know what your visitors are looking for, then give it to them

What is your car buyer looking for on their phone? Tracking the customer journey—the sites and places they visit when they’re looking to buy a car—gives you that information. There are a number of tools available to track your own customers, but accessing anonymous clickstream data—the different sites customers visit outside yours—builds a good picture of typical car buyer behaviour.

To a degree, Google has already done this for you by mapping one shopper’s clickstream in a revealing study. It discovered she had more than 900 digital interactions in her car buying journey, 71% of which were on mobile. She would search and land on a manufacturer site, search and land on a competitor, and search and land on a dealership. Her clickstream also showed that she often looked for a dealership after reading review websites. If your brand appears on these sites, she is more likely to click through to you.

This can be done by linking keywords to the URL you will display in search results, creating a range of ads in Google Display, or listings on sites such as CarGurus. Once she clicks through, it is vital that, where possible, the landing page (where the link leads to) isn’t just the homepage, leaving her to search all over again.

Your landing page needs to take her straight to the thing she’s looking for. If she wants your phone number, show a big call button front and centre; if she’s looking for a particular model, an image plus the car’s specs and price should show first. Don’t pack the page with other information. If your customer is looking for a dealership, don’t fill the page with financing deals.

Capture visitor contact details to bring a sale one step closer

The last step in creating a great mobile experience is to make sure you capture your customer. Having customer details—name, phone, and email address—is a big leap forward in being able to secure a sale. On mobile, where being interrupted is a fact of life, the sooner you get hold of the customer’s details, the better. If they get a message or a call, they could well forget to come back.

No matter how big smartphone screens get, entering data on them is still painful. There are a number of ways around this. First, don’t be ambitious. You don’t need the customer’s CV—a phone number or email address will do. Make sure you allow for “form autocomplete” (where the phone is triggered to suggest the customer’s stored email address) to make entering their details a simple one- or two-click process.

Alternatively, you can choose to link your page to social media logins like Google or Facebook. Clicking “Sign in with Google” gives customers a quick and easy way of sending their Gmail address. There are some more in-depth marketing uses of social logins, including giving you access to personalised data on the visitor’s interests and lifestyle, but its main benefit in a mobile context is convenience.

Creating a great mobile user experience is all about putting yourself in shoppers’ shoes. Know what they are looking for and when they’re looking for it. Explore how your desktop website translates to mobile. Do pictures appear when and where they should, or are they creating an awkward mobile experience? Does your site load quickly enough? Spend time accessing your site from other places—what does it look like when you click an ad or search for your contact details? And if you have to enter your details, can you do it quickly and easily? Most of your customers are going to see you on mobile at some point, so you need to make sure you’re looking your best.

*comScore Mobile Metrix®, Q1 2018, U.S.

Topics: mobile, mobile marketing