Attention American Automakers: Your websites suck
David Meerman Scott writes in:
The news from the big 3 automakers has indeed been grim. Year-to-date, GM sales fell 12.2 percent, Ford sales fell 3.8 percent, and Chrysler sales were down 4.9 percent. It has indeed been a bummer of a summer. There are many reasons for the auto industry troubles such as high gas prices, last year's incentive programs, high cost production, a skew to SUVs and other large vehicles at a time when smaller is better, and many other issues. However, one thing the industry can fix is the terrible official websites.
Websites are like software products: the real challenge isn't what to include; it's what to omit. Ford, in particular, seems to want to include everything. And the local dealerships are even worse. It's the iPod versus Microsoft packaging example. It's Google homepage versus almost anyone else's.
The problem is, I think, is that the Ford people are sales people first, and marketers second, while Lexus is the other way around. It's as if Ford is saying "I want to sell you something! RIGHT NOW!! at 0% interest!!!" while Lexus is saying "Come browse. Let us help you buy."
At a car dealership recently, I finally had to tell the sales person to BE QUIET; I needed to think and I couldn't concentrate when the sales guys is yammering. I've had so many good interactions with sales people that bad ones just drive me berserk. I ultimately bought from a different dealership.
Is your web site trying to sell or is it helping people buy? There's a difference.
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