Cocoa Hyundai, located just outside of Orlando, FL, has had a long history of serving the community - not only with their best-in-class products and service, but also their philanthropy. The dealership participates in many community related projects, including 72 Miles of Giving, a Brevard County charitable organization. It's these endeavors that sparked a conversation about how the dealership could do more to get visibility on all the things happening in and out of the showroom.
Carlos Lopez had never worked at a car dealership. In fact, his passion in life was food, having worked in the restaurant industry for over a decade before getting his shot to take advantage of a newly established internet department at Cocoa Hyundai.
Six years after signing on to run the digital business at Cocoa Hyundai. Carlos is a powerhouse in the Central Florida marketing game. He has been invited to multiple 20-groups, and has established himself as one of the go-to resources for dealers looking to get their digital marketing efforts up to scale. With a keen interest in analytics, Carlos has built his website based on data, and is working to get his dealership into the "Amazon" stratosphere of operational excellence.
Carlos's transition into the digital world was not easy, however. There were a lot of lessons to be learned early on, including the fact that Hyundai only allows their dealers to partner with one of two website providers as part of a "certified program"
"Our first website was with Cobalt and we had it for a year when I started. And we actually switched to four different ones."
Carlos was far more interested in the user journey through his website than satisfying his OEM's requirements, so he decided that working with a non-certified partner would be the best decision moving forward.
WEBSITES & DIGITAL MARKETING
When Hyundai launched their certified website program, they only gave the option of two website providers, Cobalt (now CDK), and Dealer.com. During that period, the dealership knowledge base was pretty low, so choosing a well-established provider was really the only option. Fast forward five years and more digital qualified individuals started entering the dealer space, including Carlos Lopez. The need for more website and marketing flexibility was apparent, which caused Carlos to launch his search for a partner that would satisfy their need for best-in-class products and service.
"It was actually a really unique experience because #1 I didn’t really know that much about the industry and I didn’t know that there was so many decisions out there for a dealer. So, my owner, we sat down, and he gave me 4-5 companies to look through and we shopped them like a consumer would. We checked out everything about their website and we tried quite a few, but we ended up having a partnership with DealerFire, and it’s been great. You know, it’s been really really great, the best one so far."
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DealerFire had a tough climb. Any situation that includes a secondary website for the same business is tricky, but Carlos and the Cocoa Hyundai team were trying to make an impact in their market, and the only to do that would be to invest more in DealerFire, and less in their already present Cobalt website.
"We were looking for things like “how fast is the website”, “what do the pictures look like”, “where is everything located”, we want to make sure we’re not just looking at it through our eyes, as much as we’re going to look at it through the consumer’s eyes "
Data and analytics were an integral part of the design process. Amazon was a huge influence and design components of the eCommerce site were implemented into the dealer's SRP and VDP. DealerFire designed a website to really cater to the new age car shopper, with an emphasis on mobile usability, include page load speed and inventory filtering. DealerFire assigned a dedicated designer and website builder to reach Cocoa's goal of brand representation.
Build based on data - that was Carlos's plea when first developing the DealerFire website. There's a ton of marketable data related to user experience, especially on mobile. The reduced dependency on slideshows, the mobile filtering on SRP, and the number of form fields were all influencers on the overall website design and performance.
The emphasis on mobile created better user experience for shoppers on Carlos's website, resulting in a 30% increase in mobile time on site in 2019; extremely important considering over 57% of his website traffic was now being generated by handheld devices.
The mobile-optimization results weren't limited to website browsing though. The DealerFire website also saw a 16% increase in total mobile lead form submissions in 2019. The other noticeable gain for Cocoa was the acquisition of traffic from their primary market area (PMA). A mix of website optimization and local SEO strategy resulted in a 22% increase in overall sessions - exactly the impact the dealer was looking to have in their community and neighboring cities.
"The thing that DealerFire does that’s impressive to me, is that you can go into my analytics from day one with those guys, and there’s literally a story that they’ve done. They annotate everything, which is huge."
INCREASE IN MOBILE TIME ON SITE
INCREASE IN MOBILE FORM SUBMISSIONS
INCREASE IN SESSIONS FROM PMA
DECREASE IN MOBILE BOUNCE RATE
"The look of the website, the speed of the website, and the flow of it because at the base level we forget that the website is there for our customers, and we want the website to be super user-friendly for them. DealerFire's website does it all so beautifully. If I won the lottery today, I would buy a couple car dealerships and they would all have DealerFire websites."