Recently I got back in touch with a close friend whose hobby is to tune up his cars and “pimp them out” like that famous MTV show.
One important part of his hobby is to look for car accessories and truck accessories that add a distinctive touch.
He spends a lot of time looking online for custom grilles, spoilers, wheels, car floor mats, body kits, tail lights, and all things automotive, such as nano technology, that unveil beauty and style to his rides.
Talking with him about his online searches for car parts, reminded me a lot of a previous article where I discussed how to attract fashionistas online.
We started talking about his experience in several websites and what made his search easier and what didn’t. Here’s a review of what I learned about the user experience of a car enthusiast visiting websites for car parts: what turns him off and what engages him.
What Turns Online Car Enthusiasts Off
1. “They’re not only forcing you to see their ads, but they’re all out there being pushy”.
At the top of his list are the ads with a small animation that have a “teeny tiny x close thingy” that you can never find. These ads bother him a lot because they get in his way. “They’re not only forcing you to see them…but they’re all out there being pushy”, he said. “I understand that websites like to generate some revenue selling ad space but I prefer that they stick to listing brands or making smart use of logos or recognizable brand images”.
2. Lack of Redundancy
“This might sound counter-intuitive but I prefer to have at least 3 different ways to find what I am looking for. One day I like checking out long lists of names. Another day I might like to check only images. The next day I might give a query tool a try.” This means that if a visitor is looking, for example for Simply Sprayed, he should be able to find the product from a drop down menu, a search bar, or a product directory.
Conclusion: intrusive ads and lack of variety in ways of navigating the website diminish the user experience.
What Engages Car Enthusiasts Online
1. Continous Live Online Support
“Nothing is more annoying than seeing a button for LIVE online support and then finding out that the schedules are very restricted. If you put out there that you have a live chat feature, then you should invest in making it as continuous as possible. If you cannot afford it, then you’re better off providing an e-mail address or contact form.”
2.Recognizable colors, trademarks or patterns around the website
“I am very brand loyal.” If you invest so much in developing a brand and trademarking logos, patterns and slogans, make savvy use of them online. Use them around your website. Do some A/B testing to find out what makes your links/images more actionable to your website visitors.
3. Girls, girls, girls
“This may sound like a no-brainer, but it is so hard to do. Car tuning is a very macho-like hobby, so of course I am going to look into your website if you have cute girls. However, just like live chat, you need to be consistent and keep up the section. Nothing is more disappointing than seeing the same set of pictures for 3 months in a row. If you have a section with pictures, keep it up to date!”
Conclusion: car enthusiasts require a reliable and continuous live chat feature, smart use of recognizable brands and trademarks, and a picture section that is updated on a regular basis.