The Biz Doc Texas note: While this post focuses primarily on an Automotive Dealership Web Site, the fundamental principles of any business’s Web site apply.
If you believe in the Scientific explanation of our planet’s history, several million years ago, both Dinosaurs and Crocodiles shared the same space and often competed for the same prey. Through some catastrophic event, the dinosaurs (or at least as they were universally viewed as a species) became extinct while the crocodiles managed to survive. How did this happen?
One of the most well-known beliefs is that the crocodiles were able to survive because they were just as adept in flourishing in the water as they were on land. They could adapt. They could adjust. They could become what their surroundings and the new environment in which they had to survive dictated they had to be.
So which one is your Website? The Dinosaur or the Crocodile? And, how does one define which is which?
The Dino Site:
This one is easy to recognize. It’s the most prevalent species.
The Dino Site focuses on two things: Buy & We. “Buy this New Car”. “Buy this Used Car”. “Buy this Service Special”. “Buy this part”. “We are having a sale”. “We have this car”. “We want you to get your oil changed”.
The Dino Site is all about zero customer engagement; zero customer “power”; zero customer interaction; and zero customer input.
The Dino Site is the Internet 2.0 version of the Saturday Newspaper Classifieds. It screams. It is chaotic. It’s razor-sharp T-Rex teeth right in your face. It is repetitive in a tightly managed, rarely tweaked, completely inflexible cycle. It makes everything seem like it has to happen RIGHT NOW! It says that the sale that happen this week is the best sale that there’s ever been; even though it’s the same sale that happened last week – and the week before. And your (we’ll call your customer base this not because they literally are, but because it works in this analogy) prey? They are now smart enough to recognize all of this and avoid it all costs unless they absolutely have to come to the water hole.
“Hey! Look at the shiny object over there…” just doesn’t work with modern internet visitors anymore. The Dino Site will have a much tougher time surviving into the next decade and beyond.
The Croc Site:
This one is much harder to recognize because it exists in just a few sparse places.
The Croc Site focuses on two distinctly different things: Showcase and Empower.
“Let me tell you about this”. “Allow us to educate you”. “What do you want to do?” “How do you want to proceed?” “What would you like?”
The Croc Site understands – first and foremost – that in many ways they are no different than an e-Commerce Site from a major retailer or e-tailer. Of course. In the vast majority of cases, the price points are much, much higher than the blue shirt you buy online, but the foundational principle is still the same.
The Croc site is offering a product – or products – for sale that a consumer can purchase online and add to their “shopping cart” and then “check out”. Ahhhhh…but can they? Even the best Croc Site is often leaving out this crucial detail. Can one of your customers come to your Web site and have the complete power and – most importantly – tools to make an actual purchase from your site? Or are they forced to submit all of their contact info before you give them the luxury of offering your best price to them?
Imagine going to (insert your favorite shopping web site here) and having to give them your name, email and phone number before they’ll give you a sale price on that stylish lamp you had your mind set on. Crazy, huh? But wait a minute, it’s not that simple! Buying a car is not like buying a lamp. There’s TT&L. There’s a credit check. There’s (insert next roadblock for your customer to have to hurdle here). But yes. It can be. It can be just that simple.
You just have to know how to evolve your Web Site from a Dino to a Croc. And more importantly, you have to want to. You have to be willing to change. To evolve. To survive. Many Dealers don’t want to, or think they have to. Are you willing to take that chance?