Website technology and design trends are constantly evolving. Is your dealership making the most of your website to build your brand, attract web visitors and then convert those visitors into customers?
This installment in Rural Lifestyle Dealer’s “Innovations” series features information from leading website vendors, including: ARI Network Services, Dealer Spike, Equipment Dealer Marketing, Equipment Locator Services, Spinutech and YasTech.
Review what they offer in this side-by-side comparison and see what’s new in terms of responsive design, online equipment marketing, customer engagement and more. The companies also provide their take on best practices for websites, offering ideas and strategies to help your website do more than just take up space on the world wide web.
ARI Network Services, Milwaukee, Wis.
Now more than ever, shoppers are turning to search engines, third-party sales sites, social media, review sites, apps and the ever-expanding list of digital marketing channels as their primary sources to make their purchasing decisions and find dealers.
ARI Network Services offers a full suite of online marketing solutions, including award-winning dealer websites, digital marketing services and its mobile app. Also, ARI is the only co-op approved website vendor for Toro dealers throughout North America.
Number of Equipment Dealer Installations: More than 1,800 OPE dealers.
Unique Solution: ARI offers websites, digital marketing services and eCatalogs. Its digital marketing services team has deep expertise in the digital marketing channels that are critical to your business. That’s why ARI is trusted to manage the online marketing presence for more than 7,500 dealers and some of the largest OEMs. The company’s mix of digital marketing strategies includes premium directory management; online reputation management; syndicated social media content feeds; real-time performance dashboard; search engine optimization; email marketing; and pay-per-click marketing.
Functional Highlights: ARI OPE dealer websites offer industry-specific features including more than 100 of the leading OEM parts lookup catalogs; pre-loaded OEM promotions; and turnkey eCommerce shopping cart. Highlights include:
- Tools to showcase inventory
- Mobile app for inventory management
- Service scheduler
- Search engine optimization
- Parts catalogs
- Custom forms to generate leads
- OEM promotions
Recent New Developments: ARI recently acquired Auction123. The acquisition provides the ability to publish listings to CraigsList.com automatically, making it easier for dealers to market and sell their equipment online.
Dealer Reference: Pat Lyons, Pat’s Power Equipment, www.patspower.com, Charlestown, R.I., 401-364-6114
Recommended Best Practice “Stay up-to-date. Today’s SEO best practices are much different than they were 5 years ago — or even last year. As Google and the other major search engines continue to alter their algorithms, the tactics that help you rank on the first page of search results are constantly shifting. Staying on top of your SEO strategy can help ensure you’re reaching shoppers who are likely to buy from you.
“The future of SEO is local. More shoppers than ever are using search engines to find local products and Google wants to provide them with the best possible answers. To do this, it looks for websites of businesses that are well-established in the community, are well-liked by shoppers and have accurate and consistent information.”— ARI Network Services
Dealer Spike, Lake Oswego, Ore.
Dealer Spike is a world-wide digital advertising company focused on helping dealers increase sales and service profitability through online digital advertising and training. The company provides innovative, powerful, distinctive web solutions and tools to thousands of dealerships worldwide. Its expertise comes from real-world dealership experience and a passion for listening and responding to dealers’ needs.
Brand Name: Dealer Spike
Introduced to Market: Introduced to powersports dealers in early 2008. Introduced to ag equipment dealers in 2014.
Number of Equipment Dealer Installations: 116
Unique Solution: Dealer Spike offers its DS1 Platform. The company integrates with multiple dealership management system providers to integrate data in real-time. The company’s online showroom acts as the number one salesperson for your dealership, accelerating leads and sales.
Functional Highlights: Dealer Spike websites offer a virtual dealership that promotes all profit centers — new equipment, used equipment, finance & insurance, service and parts — in a simple and user-friendly interface. The solution focuses on your units in a way that is aesthetically appealing, while still allowing for your dealership’s culture to shine through.
Dealer Spike websites are built on a responsive platform, meaning that they both look and function correctly on a desktop computer as well as a mobile device. The sites feature consistent navigation and multiple submission buttons for call-to-action forms, meaning you never miss an opportunity for a lead. Your virtual inventory will never qualify out of stock equipment and updates automatically — maintenance-free.
Dealer Spike’s back-end administration tool allows you to make edits to the site easily on your own time, if you wish to do so. You have the ability to have as much or as little control over your website as you’d like. The company has a support and client relations team that will reach out to you on a monthly basis and is always available to take your requests.
Recent New Developments: Dealer Spike’s search engine marketing (SEM) reporting tool has the ability to display records for individual reporting modules, displaying all high-performing keywords to help increase your website’s online visibility. Dealers who implement an SEM package are offered insight into where the advertising spend budget is going in terms of results.
Another new development is the integrated and fully responsive e-commerce storefront, which runs on the same platform as the rest of the company’s dealer websites. It enables customers to easily browse and purchase aftermarket parts catalogs and dealer-specific inventory from any device. They have also added more specific search options, enabling customers to find exactly what they are looking for. Previously, Dealer Spike offered a stand-alone e-commerce storefront. In addition to the responsive update, the product interface is much cleaner and more modernized — making it look and function much better on both desktop computers and mobile devices.
Dealer Reference: BE Implement, www.beimplement.com, 1605 N. Highway 87, Lamesa, Texas, 79331, 806-773-3401
Recommended Best Practice: “We cannot stress enough the importance of a responsive platform for your website. This will ensure that all of your website visitors (potential customers) have a user-friendly experience, regardless of the device they are using. We are now at the point where more Google searches occur on smartphones than desktop computers, so it’s vitally important that your website looks nice and has proper functionality on a mobile device.” — Dealer Spike
Equipment Locator Services, Harlingen, Texas
Equipment Locator Services/Tom Rowe & Associates provides responsive mobile-friendly websites and other digital marketing products and strategies. The company draws on more than 20 years of actual “hands-on” dealership ownership/management experience and, now, more than 20 years of digital marketing for the equipment industry.
Introduced to Market: 1995
Number of Equipment Dealer Installations: More than 400.
Unique Solution: Driving quality traffic to a dealer’s own website and building a comprehensive digital marketing plan, which may include email marketing, SMS text marketing, digital signage and search engine marketing (pay-per-click). Using the EquipmentLocator.com inventory management system to feed wholegoods and parts data means more items to sell and more people to view the listings.
Functional Highlights: The ability to syndicate equipment listings data from multiple industry partners (print, online, OEM) allows the company to craft a flexible and custom solution for dealers of any size.
Recent New Developments: Recent developments include near real-time inventory syndication to more print publications, parts marketing, Dealer Sales Channel TV, and a new ecommerce platform for selling merchandise or parts online.
Dealer Reference: Dustin Fussnecker, Fussnecker & Sons Tractor Sales, Ripley, Ohio, 937-392-4700
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org, marketing.equipmentlocator.com
Best Practice Recommended: “Work with a provider that knows the industry inside and out. Consumer products aren’t the same as equipment, so not everybody drives a tractor. We don’t exclude customers because they may not be buying all of our services, so choose a provider that won’t try to leverage you.” — Equipment Locator Services
Equipment Dealer Marketing (EDM), Ozark, Mo.
EDM is a partnership between David Groves, a veteran web provider for small to medium-sized businesses, and Mike Wiles, who has a 25-year history in both the wholesale and retail segments of the equipment industry.
Introduced to Market: 2014
Unique Solution: Comments from Mike Wiles, “First, we’re not young guys just out of college. If you’re a little tired of a ‘20-something’ rattling off all that their website will do for you and using web buzzwords that make no sense and wondering what the heck you’re even paying for, we can help you. What your website is doing (or not doing) can be explained in terms you can understand, and what’s keeping you from ranking higher in the searches can be shown. We break web traffic trends down and show you exactly what you’re getting when you pay for our services. We don’t tie your website up with a platform that only we understand. Instead, we use WordPress, the most widely-used and user-friendly web development software that’s available. We encourage you to do many of the updates yourself, so you don’t have to call us every time a supplier changes a program. This helps you customize your site quickly and saves money. Finally, we understand the business, having managed a successful mid-sized equipment dealership for over a decade. We want to be a partner that helps you be successful.”
Functional Highlights: According to Wiles, “I don’t think we can overstate the use of WordPress. It’s a simple system that does everything you need and there are many free or inexpensive plug-ins that work with it. It’s so simple that even most eighth-graders can tweak it if you need them to. Many web providers utilize a high dollar system that only they know how to operate. That ties you to them, subjects your business to large fees and may prevent you from leaving if you’re not pleased with their services. We’re here to help your business and don’t feel there are benefits to equipment dealers for expensive deluxe platforms. WordPress will do everything you need and save you a lot of money over time.”
Contact: email@example.com, www.EDMforSales.com
Recommended Best Practice: “The biggest problem we see among small businesses is resentment toward money spent improving their web presence. Many owners, especially in the equipment business, need to be educated about how a good web provider can help them grow online, develop a plan to achieve well-defined goals, and then commit resources, and a big part of that is their time, to achieving those goals.”— EDMforSales.com
YasTech Developments, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan
YasTech helps agricultural equipment dealers create great looking websites that help them more effectively market themselves online. A website helps showcase the equipment you sell, the parts you have and the service you provide. The company builds websites that are mobile-friendly, ensuring that customers will be able to find what they need with ease, no matter what kind of device they’re using.
Introduced to Market: 2012
Unique Solution: YasTech has worked with both Iron Solutions and AgDealer to embed and build custom used equipment listings for dealer websites.
Functional Highlights: Some of the core functionalities include:
- Responsive design to make the site mobile and tablet friendly
- Integrated or embedded equipment listing, including a custom list that a dealer enters or from a feed from Iron Search or Ag Dealer
- Solution is built on a content management system called WordPress to allow dealers to update content and images themselves
- Built-in blog for posting regular articles and news
- Ecommerce capabilities to sell products directly online
- Code optimized for search engine optimization
Recent New Developments: One of the newest features included in all of the company’s websites is responsive design. Responsive design is the ability for a website to respond to or adapt its content to fit the screen it is being viewed on. This ensures the websites look great on all devices including desktops, tablets and mobile phones, as well as optimizes the experience for each user.
In responsive design, the content, menu and fonts all change size or position based on the width of the screen the website is being viewed on. For instance, you may notice that when you’re viewing a website on a phone, the menu is collapsed into a dropdown style menu and the content is all organized into a single column down the page.
Entry Price Point and Deliverables Included with Entry System: YasTech’s base website package is $2,599 (Canadian dollar) and includes:
- Customized design of WordPress template
- Sitemap and menu navigation organization and setup
- Home page with rotating featured image slider
- Set up of up to 10 internal pages and initial content on site
- Built in blog/news page
- Creation of contact forms that are linked to email
- Email newsletter sign up form integration
- Code optimized for search engine optimization
- One training session on using WordPress for updates
Dealer Reference: Ag World Equipment, agworld.cc, Kinistino, Saskatchewan, 306-864-2200
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org, www.yastech.ca, www.yastech.ca/web-design/agriculture-dealer-websites
Best Practice Recommended: “The most important aspect of any website is that it has a clear message and a clear call to action for each audience it is serving. This is important for each page of your website as well, including the home page. Too often, businesses want to cram too much information onto one page and visitors get overwhelmed.
“By having a clear message, and a clear next step for the visitor to take, your website becomes super effective at turning your website visitors into profitable customers.” — YasTech
Spinutech (in partnership with Geometry Global), Cedar Falls, Iowa
Spinutech’s solution was built specifically for John Deere dealers. The company was the first to have a centralized database of new equipment to display on dealers’ websites. The company also integrates with many online used equipment listing services to pull inventory directly onto the dealer’s site. The solution also has many features that are critical to a dealer’s online success. For instance, they offer a proven “call to action” process/design that has yielded extremely high close rates. All of the company’s sites are responsive and will work on all devices.
Introduced to Market: 2010
Number of Equipment Dealer Installations: More than 100.
Unique Solution: Built in lead management; used equipment email alerts; new equipment listings; and online application for employment.
Recent New Developments: Lead management and product selector tool.
Entry Price Point and Deliverables Included with Entry System: $3,000 one-time fee and monthly fees starting at $250. Deliverables include a fully responsive site with content management system; inventory listings for both new and used equipment; employment application; form builder; calendar of events with registration; and more.
Dealer Reference: Bonnie Baty, TriGreen Equipment, Athens, Ala., 256-233-0339
Contact: email@example.com, geometry.spinutech.com
Best Practice Recommended: “A strong website is the foundation for all of your online efforts. Having a site that is a true reflection of your dealership is critical. Keep the site updated and fresh, don’t let it become outdated. This is the equivalent of having a broken sign on a physical location.”— Spinutech
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