In January of 2023, together with Tom Murray and his team at Brandon Ford, Motive began building a new website for Brandon Ford. As one of the largest dealerships in the world by volume, their website is mission-critical. As reported by Brandon Ford, over 92% of their customers visit their website before making a purchase.
What we were solving for
Learning from the Brandon Ford team has been an amazing experience that has enabled us to expand the scope and power of our platform in their image. With over 1500 vehicles in stock and in transit, we had many challenges to address in regard to their website.
Prioritizing vehicle discovery
With so many vehicles, it's unreasonable to expect consumers to sift through each one to find the vehicle they like. We set out to prioritize vehicle discovery, making it simple and fast for customers to find exactly what they want, even with so many choices.
Balancing consumer and internal use cases
Brandon Ford's website serves both as a consumer tool and an internal resource for customer-facing team members to showcase inventory in-store and find vehicle matches.
Displaying more information on the results page
To create a more informative and user-friendly experience on the SRP, the Brandon Ford team suggested displaying a description snippet on each vehicle, as well as showcasing various vehicle information such as engine, miles, color, window sticker, and highlighting two prices, along with any applicable savings.
How we solved it
To address the requirements for the SRP, we invented a new concept for our platform: Complications.
Complications, traditionally, refer to watches. On a watch, complications represent any function that exists in addition to telling time on a timepiece; like the date or a timer. This concept inspired us to create a framework for adding more information to the SRP cards while maintaining simplicity. In the context of our platform, complications are unique, customizable badges and functions on the SRP that offer additional information beyond the default vehicle photos and pricing details.
The pricing complication
The first complication we introduced was detailed pricing. Previously, we only displayed the final price on the SRP card. However, as Brandon Ford prices their cars competitively and often sells below MSRP, we needed to showcase this advantage. To accommodate this, we added a second price and price labels to the pricing badge on the SRP. Additionally, we intelligently calculated savings, taking into account rebates and incentives, and displayed this information in a badge next to the pricing.
The description snippet
The second complication we incorporated for Brandon Ford was the addition of description snippets. Their team dedicates considerable effort to crafting engaging vehicle descriptions, and featuring these snippets on the SRP not only creates a sense of urgency but also provides customers with a better understanding of each vehicle's unique aspects.
The badge complication
The third complication we introduced was the addition of customizable badges. These badges provide snippets of information about the inventory and can be fully customized, from the icon to the text. Dealership users can attach these badges to vehicles based on specific criteria, displaying properties such as miles, MPG, engine name, or static text. To avoid limiting the number of badges displayed on a given vehicle, we placed them on a horizontally scrollable track, theoretically allowing for an infinite number of badges per vehicle.
Addressing vehicle discovery
To enhance vehicle discovery, Brandon Ford implemented our AI Mode filtering alternative alongside our existing features such as infinite scrolling, real-time filtering, semantic search, and fast load times. The AI Mode filtering allows users to search for vehicles using a conversational interface and natural language, making the process more intuitive and human.
The launch of the new Brandon Ford website was a critical step, as they had used their previous website for over a decade, accumulating thousands of custom pages, blog posts, and tens of thousands of backlinks.
Importing existing pages
To ensure a smooth transition, we developed a parsing engine to crawl and scrape content from the existing website, transferring it to our CMS and Blog tool. Once the engine finished importing pages, it automatically added 301 redirects where necessary.By taking these measures, we minimized the risk of negative impacts on organic search rankings. In fact, post-launch metrics indicated an increase in organic discoverability, likely due to improved mobile experience and Core Web Vitals scores.
Minimizing risk of organic search impact
By transitioning each page and blog perfectly from their prior website, we minimized the risk of negative impacts on organic search rankings. In fact, post-launch metrics indicated an increase in organic discoverability, likely due to improved mobile experience and Core Web Vitals scores.
An in-person touch
We decided to spend launch day at Brandon Ford in person, as we found it beneficial to meet their team and receive direct feedback, rather than through email or Slack. This face-to-face interaction provided valuable insight into their objectives and allowed us to better understand how we could help address their challenges and meet their needs.
Our collaboration with Brandon Ford to create a new website was a rewarding experience, as we tailored our platform to address the unique challenges faced by one of the largest dealerships in the world.
Tailoring our solution to their problem
Through the development of innovative features such as Complications, we were able to enhance the user experience for both consumers and dealership staff, prioritizing vehicle discovery and presenting valuable information to consumers. We chose to adapt our solution to the problems they faced – not the other way around, as is often the case.
Making it easy to change
The smooth launch, facilitated by meticulous planning and in-person interaction, successfully preserved Brandon Ford's search ranking and even improved organic discoverability. This successful launch by Motive highlights the power of close collaboration, creative problem-solving, and a focus on user experience to create a website that catered to the specific needs of a unique dealership and devoted customers.