The Vehicle Details Page (VDP) is the Most Important Page on Your Dealership Website. You spend thousands each month driving traffic to your website through PPC and banner campaigns, SEO activities and email marketing, so you need to make sure your VDP isn’t leaking potential buyers.

vdp-example

When designing any web page, you must consider what the visitor needs from the page. For the VDP, there are 2 key goals which all design decisions should be working towards:

  1. Aid buyer research (VDP views per visitor is directly tied to conversion rates)
  2. Enable buyer to initiate contact with you regarding this vehicle

With these high-level goals in mind, let’s look at the ways to maximise the effectiveness of your VDP.

1. Remove Clutter

Anything on the screen which is not directly supporting the key design goals should be cut. That means:

  • No ads – there is a time and place for ads, and your VDP is not it. Don’t distract your visitors with offers not related to the vehicle being viewed. An exception to this is an Amazon-style “Visitors who viewed this vehicle also viewed…” section which does serve our design goal of aiding buyer research.

  • No search form – offer the user a link to perform another search but don’t take up valuable screen space with a multi-field search form.
  • Minimise top-level navigation links – Does a buyer searching for “used cars under 10k” need to see header links to Vans or Motorcycles? Top-level navigation makes sense on a home page but the VDP should be more immersive, so consider using simpler header navigation for your VDP and move the top-level section links to the page footer.

2. Provide Quality Information and Photos/Videos

Most dealers already understand the importance of quality textual description of the vehicle and high-quality photos/videos on the VDP. I won’t go into much detail here as there are already several great resources on this area, but here are the key points:

  • Clearly display an accurate vehicle price
  • Ensure your description text highlights the differentiators of this particular model/vehicle
  • Supplementary information (e.g. full tech spec) should be comprehensive but not prominently displayed (e.g. put it in a separate tab which the user has to click to view)
  • Avoid stock photos
  • Include “full walk around” photos of the vehicle, inside and out

3. Clear Calls to Action

The single action which you most want the visitor to take on the VDP is to get in contact with you. That’s usually via a call or an email enquiry. Therefore, these 2 actions should be made prominent (large and outstanding colour) and positioned such that visitors can quickly find and click them. All other action buttons (e.g. Save, Compare, Share, Check Finance) should be secondary but again easily accessible.

4. Click to Call

Rather than simply displaying your phone number on the VDP page, ensure you use a click-to-call link. Benefits to this are:

  • One-click calling for visitors on phone devices
  • More accurate tracking of online phone leads The HTML code for this is really simple so it’s something you can implement quickly today:

<a href="tel:8881234567" onclick="trackCallLead()">Call 888-123-4567</a>

An optional approach on non-phone devices to ensure all VDP call leads are tracked is to use “Click to Call” as the link button text and only display the phone number when the user clicks on it, allowing you to fire off a tracking event.

5. Minimise User Data Input

Remember our key goal is to allow visitors to get in contact with you. It is NOT to capture data to fill into your CRM! Web users don’t like filling out forms so keep your enquiry forms as simple as possible. E-commerce sites know all about optimised web forms, so VDPs should learn from these. Typically, you should only need 4 fields:

  • Name
  • Email *
  • Phone Number
  • Message

The email field is really the only field which should be mandatory. Don’t ask for Title, Address, Evening Tel, or anything else which is not relevant to your lead response process, unless your sales reps particularly want to post a letter to Dr.Jones asking him if he is still interested in the 2005 Honda Civic! Other information required by your sales rep should be available within the context of the enquiry (e.g. vehicle being enquired about). You can also use solutions such as Autochart to automatically capture all your prospect’s activity data on your site before submitting their lead.

6. Track Everything

You don’t want to invest in a great new optimised design for your website or VDP without knowing how much ROI it’s giving you. Therefore, all events related to our original design goals should be tracked. Specifically, you should be tracking these events:

  • Vehicle Page Views
  • Email enquiries
  • Click-to-calls
  • Number of photo/video views
  • Saves/compares
  • Finance enquiries
  • “Back to Search” clicks
  • Other engagement actions (e.g. view Technical Specification tab)

To allow you to perform listing or make/model specific segmentation reports within your analytics tool of choice, ensure you include vehicle metadata (make, model, price, year, etc) with each tracked event performed by the user on the VDP.

7. Be Responsive

You’ve moved the potential buyer the whole way through your online funnel (search –> comparison –> evaluation -> contact), and now the ball is in your court. Your sales reps need to ensure they follow up promptly and informatively with this new prospect. Here are some automated steps you can implement in your VDP lead response process to enable this:

  • Instantly notify the sales reps who will be responding when the lead is submitted (not the receptionist)
  • Ensure the sales rep has the full profile on the prospect readily accessible so they can best understand their needs (you can use solutions like Autochart within your site for this)
  • Ensure the sales rep can follow up on the lead from anywhere at any time (e.g. by using a mobile friendly responsive email containing all the relevant lead information)

Have you any more suggestions or examples of great VDP implementations?