There is a lot of information on a dealer website, which usually means that there are lots of pages and tools. However, sometimes you want a change of pace.
Looking outside our comfort zone with web design is a great idea. Whilst not everything will be applicable to your marketplace, you can get some great ideas, as well as coming away feeling inspired and interested!
Today we are going to focus on some of the simplest website designs we know – and see whether there are any ways car dealers can take inspiration from their pared back, slimmed down approach.
Apple is the proud owner of THE go-to example of a minimalist website. Of course, they have a streamlined, simple product range, and the image-laden website is an obvious extension of that brand.
Is there anything we can take from the website and apply to motor trade sites?
The main things for me is the simplicity of the menu – 7 items is the ideal, as any more than that psychologically is harder for the brain to store. It’s also immediately going to take you through to the correct section – something we should all aspire to do.
In addition, unsurprisingly, Apple are geniuses at product photography. If we all aspired to take crisp, clear, exciting and appealing images of our cars then your website should be exponentially improved.
The very definition of minimalist, the Falvé homepage has three giant banners, a few menu options, and nothing else. Again, the emphasis is on the quality of the photography showcasing the products – and a whole banner dedicated to a key advantage, Free Shipping.
How can we apply this very basic homepage design to automotive websites?
Consider reducing the amount of option on your homepage to three main options – New Cars, Used Cars, and Aftersales, perhaps. The end result could be that customers find it much easier to get immediately to the website section they are looking to, without having to wade through too many choices.
A word of warning: For SEO (and introduction!) purposes, we’d still recommend homepage content and some sort of social support. This is where knowing your industry really comes into its own!
Wait a second! The Firebox website has so many boxes and options on it, how on earth can we classify it as minimal?!
Think about it – there is a very simple, search focused menu with options that have no doubt been well-researched as delivering them the maximum number of sales. The rest is just a grid, made more interesting with different box sizes. It’s very simple to look at, whilst still showcasing a lot of options in a very visual manner.
This may be the easiest to apply to car dealer websites so far in the list.
By removing a giant banner you do away with having to take a guess at the offer that will apply to the highest percentage of website visitors, and instead make it easy for them to choose what suits them best. A combination of categories links and specific offers still make it sales focused. And social proof can be worked in too. Very clever!
you be willing to sacrifice the traditional banner?
Dropbox have a very different product and market place to a typical car dealer, so you’d be forgiven for thinking that, whilst clearly clean and easy-to-use, their website has nothing to offer in terms of automotive advice.
However, we want to draw your attention to the sign up form. It is just three fields – name, email, and password. Dealers could learn a lot from this – the shorter the form, the higher it is likely to convert.
We are actually in the process of researching service booking form drop off, and are seeing many multi-step forms performing very poorly. The reason? They take too long to complete, and don’t look at all appealing.
Can you learn from DropBox and improve your forms to boost your enquiries?
From lots of image-heavy sites to one that doesn’t have a single picture on its front page. Instead, you see a wall of stylish, typographical text.
The result is that when you arrive on the site, you immediately ready the headline – which, as it happens, introduces the designer and what they do in a mini CV. Most visitors will know more from this than they would ever get from a single image.
Can dealers learn from a website that puts text first?
Well yes – it emphasises the importance of website copy. While images are absorbed faster by visitors, if you have a specific message to say sometimes you need text – and if you do it right, there is no reason for people not to read it – and enjoy doing so.
This German bike website has a similar image heavy front page, but what we really want to highlight is the lovely menu, which stands bold and very visible to the top right of the page.
The menu combines an icon and a text explanation to make it as easy as possible to get to the right section of the website. It would be interesting to see a car dealer really stream down their navigation and see how much the bounce rate of the homepage improves.
Have you seen any other simple websites that are giving you inspiration?