J.D. Power to OEMs: Face the Mobile Reality

J.D. Power and Associates joined the ever-increasing parade of experts shouting about the impact of mobile computing this week, announcing that automaker websites which best met the needs of tablet and desktop users enjoyed an increase in overall consumer satisfaction with the online experience.

The company’s semi-annual Manufacturer Website Evaluation Study (MWES) found a clear increase in mobile adoption among shoppers, and, as a result, a shift in expectations about how automotive websites deliver tools, navigation and content — regardless of the device used.

Below the “Fold”
“Many websites have introduced content in a layout that places information below the illusory fold, so when loading the webpage, visitors must scroll more to get to that content. While this is acceptable to tablet users, it can be frustrating for desktop users,” said Arianne Walker, senior director of media and marketing solutions at J.D. Power and Associates. “Many of the highest-ranking websites execute this tablet-friendly design with floating menus, providing shoppers on either a desktop or a tablet with quick and easy access to any content throughout the website.”

The study, fielded between May and June, is based on evaluations from more than 10,000 new-vehicle shoppers who indicate they will be in the market for a new vehicle within the next 24 months. It found that 35 percent of new-vehicle shoppers surveyed own tablets, indicating a shift in the way shoppers consume information found on the Internet. Dodge ranked highest in overall satisfaction, followed by Mercedes-Benz, Porsche, Jeep and Lexus.

Shift in User Expectations
Despite this change in user expectations, many automakers are attempting to meet the needs of desktop and tablet shoppers with a single site. That approach puts a premium on above the fold navigation and content placement and clarity, according to the report.

The study is a closely-watched barometer of website effectiveness among automakers due to the large number of surveyed new car shoppers. Many, in fact, put considerable time and resources into making improvements specified by the study. For dealers, the MWES can be used as a strong indicator of changes in online shopping behavior, as it points out keys to effective site optimization through the input of 10,000 in-market users. This year, the study pointed to the importance of three must-haves, given the influence of tablet usage:

–Higher contrast in navigational elements, including clearer buttons
–Larger text and less clutter, which increases readability
–Easier access to tools important to the shopper

Key Points
–Dodge wins latest MWES study
–Mobile users increased to 35 percent of those surveyed
–Shift in expectations regarding site navigation and clarity

Join the Discussion
— Is it time to call your website vendor and ask them about a mobile site?

Source: J.D. Power

By Brian Chee 

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