One of the most surprising findings of the recent Online Readiness Scorecard was how fragmented the online shopping journeys on car manufacturers websites were. This reoccurring theme contributed to many low scores, but also helped to identify many common quick wins across the board.
A typical car manufacturer's website usually isn't a single unified website, but a collection of many different platforms linked together, each powering a separate section of "the website." The customer is left to jump between several standalone sections that are often developed and managed by different suppliers, powered by various technologies and implemented over time as individual projects without enough focus on integrating these into the overall customer journeys across the entire website.
As a result, in one extreme example, nine website sections were powered by seven different platforms, which resulted in 31 individual customer interaction touchpoints!
This leads to the customers filling the same details again and again, losing cars they painstakingly configured when they popped over to read about finance, losing live chat sessions just because they went to check the offer they've seen on the banner, talking with different agents during the same visit, or just arriving at a dead-end without any obvious means of getting out of. It's the same disaster from the sales perspective because such fragmented journeys lead to abysmal conversion rates and don't allow any shopper support and nurturing.
An obvious solution might be a "digital automotive platform that does it all," but as that exists only in sales collateral, the more realistic and far less expensive answer is "consolidation and integration."
Start by designing realistic user journeys that include multiple sections of the website, then support these technically by consolidating the forms, sharing user sessions (and information) across the sections, and opening all links in the same window. It wouldn't take long, and it's not technically difficult, but the outcome will significantly impact customer journeys, reduce the conversion drop-offs, enhance the brand image and form the necessary foundation for the next stage of optimising the online to sell.
In summary, the majority of the low-scoring websites can be improved almost overnight by implementing a few simple, thought-through fixes rather than requiring lengthy major projects. An initiative with such high impact and low costs should perfectly match today's economic climate.