5 Reasons Why I Hate Mandated OEM Websites
Inspired by my recent LinkedIn Post, 5 Things Your S%&# Website is Doing That Harm Your Business.
1. 🐢🐢🐢 I hate them for being slooooooow: All those "mandated" sliders from the OEM level that have embedded text (IE text that search engines can't read) that 98% of people don't see? Those. Please, stop. Even Harvard has studied this concept and it would likely terrify the educated how often people will negate this as if it doesn't apply to their business.
On top of that: excessive use of multiple videos on the same page. Images uploaded by ill-equipped support teams or in-house receptionists that aren't compressed or sized properly for their location. Janky code that was mish-mashed together to make it work. The list goes on.
2. ⚙️⚙️⚙️ I hate them for not using SCHEMA Markup/Advanced Structured Data: In English, SCHEMA maps all the properties of your inventory into a format that Google understands, which can help you do better in search. It should be included out of the box and you shouldn't be paying another $799/mo for it. It's doing what is right and current in today's digital world.
3. 😓😓😓 I hate them for having no support systems: Waiting days for a response from a warehouse of support workers that have no context about the end-user's business. Never knowing who to call. Never knowing when your changes will be completed.
There's no reason what website users of their own website should not be able upload their own content or make changes. That sucks. Your website is your digital face, where people see your business first. It matters and you need a team behind you that knows your business and can help: fast. (Hint: Flex replies faster and digs deeper than any team out there).
I hate the OEM for not supporting individual dealerships or encouraging them to do what's right for their business's brand. Hint: that would help the OEM sell the most cars.
With that being said, I would like to throw some praise at Toyota Canada for providing guidelines to follow, in unique ways. Toyota Canada encourages their dealerships to maintain some brand standards, while creating content that is unique to their local market area and brands the dealerships themselves.
4. 👬🏽👬🏽👬🏽 I hate them for making every branded website the SAME as their competition.
We see it all too often, new clients approaching us simply asking to be different, to truly share their brand in a way that doesn't look like every other dealership sharing their OEM's name. Duplicate content doesn't harm you, but it sure as heck doesn't HELP you either. Do better! Provide localized answers and personality for your audience to engage with: this isn't dictionary school.
5. ⚒️⚒️⚒️ I have them for boxing in too many TOOLS: I really love tools that map to outcomes, don't get me wrong. Tools can help the user experience, save time, save money. I'm here for it.
I'm not here for using overlapping tools, tools that can't be customized to your brand, tools that are way too slow/unoptimized, and tools that confuse users. We need to measure the validity of tools as part of the whole before installing 67 of them.
Bonus: You can't control jack squat. You should be able to control your house - your website isn't a leased apartment.Lack of control over your own website is something that's way too common in the automotive world, and completely unacceptable.
Our lead designer at Flex phrased it well: "I feel like dealerships don't consider their website part of their business, but more of an afterthought they only have because they know people browse the internet. Or it at least comes off that way – because when you look at their site and compare it to the store front, one feels much cheaper and less maintained than the other."
It doesn't feel that way because the dealers want it that way, it feels that way because OEMs make it that way, and that's what needs to change.