RPA has been Honda’s advertising AOR for decades, but we haven’t always handled the important automobiles.honda.com website, a vital stop on the purchase journey. Put frankly, the experience people were having on the site was slow, clunky, and more frustrating than it should have been. It didn’t match the brand values Honda stands for — such as quality, people centricity, and a never-ending quest for improvement. Honda turned to RPA to take over responsibility for this vital platform, including customer experience strategy, front-end development, back-end development, UX, design, copy, analytics, and more.
Our People First CX Health Score assessment uncovered a variety of insights and opportunities. For one, the online shopping and research tools had been optimized for a desktop experience, despite 65% of current traffic coming from mobile devices. Abandonment from the “Build & Price Tool” was high, showing that people were finding the experience frustrating and bailing on the process. Details like offers, discounts, and trade-in values weren’t intuitive or transparent. And most importantly, the experience across tools wasn’t seamless. (For instance, if someone used the “Build & Price Tool” and then went to “Search Inventory,” the site didn’t bring their information along for the search — and forced them to start all over again in the build tool when they went back.)
Since user engagement with these tools is highly correlated with purchases, we had a big opportunity to give people the seamless, first-rate experience they expected —and to sell more Hondas as a result.
Over the course of three years, each shopping tool was redesigned for a mobile-first, optimized experience led by data-driven analytics and insights. Key to this transformation was the collaborative creation of
an eFeatures database, which enables shopping by feature and advanced filtering across multiple shopping tools. We also used the React front-end framework to develop a refresh-less experience, similar to a mobile app, that vastly improved page-load performance and perceptions of speed.
These enhancements enabled the transfer of user data across tools, creating a seamless shopping experience for the user. We also added “Welcome Back” personalization that allowed shoppers to pick up right where they left off, even if they had left the site and returned later.
Here are some of the tools we either created or dramatically improved:
Our research showed that customers were interested in comparing the features of different Honda models, but the capability didn’t previously exist. People could compare trim levels of the same model and competitor models but couldn’t compare different Honda models against each other. We created a brand-new tool that allows shoppers to choose up to three different Honda models and view a convenient comparison of key features.
Previously, people could see a list of features when looking at a specific trim-level. But they couldn’t search based on the features they were most interested and see which models fit their preferences. This brand-new tool gave them the power to do this.
The Current Offers page is the primary destination for Honda’s paid media traffic. We completely redesigned it to better align with the Honda brand, create a better customer experience and help drive more qualified leads to dealerships, optimize it for mobile and enhance the media landing page experience. The redesigned tool increased offer exploration 202%.
The previous version of this tool wasn’t smart enough to provide an accurate vehicle cost estimate. Our update connected the payment estimator with all the other tools, plus took into account any offers available, geographic constraints, state and local taxes, and the user’s FICO score to provide a truly accurate estimated payment projection. People could then adjust key variables to help get the payment to just where they needed it to be. This brought added value to the website and helped pave the way to purchase. As a result, mobile payment estimator usage grew+2 ppts and form submission rates increased +12 ppts.
The Build & Price tool is one of the most compelling connection points for engagement and leads. The original tool was frustrating, slow, difficult to use, and experienced high abandonment. Honda and RPA leveraged user testing insights, best practices research within multiple industries, and web analytics data to design and enhance the experience, improving speed, ease-of-use, vehicle understanding, and engagement. As a result, vehicle configuration increased by 44% and the share of those who successfully completed their configuration increased +18 ppts.
As one of the final steps of the customer journey, the Search Inventory tool plays a key role in connecting people to their desired vehicle. Previously, however, this tool never “talked” with the other tools — but this upgrade fixed that. People are now able to configure, research, and price-compare within the inventory experience and seamlessly connect to a local dealer. The new tool was also designed to mimic the navigational paradigms of other tools, especially build & price, providing shoppers an intuitive mental map to continue their journey toward a vehicle purchase. As a result, filter usage saw a +22 ppt lift, continuation rate through the tool grew +50 ppts, and leads grew +61%.
For numerous reasons, the final car purchase still needs to be handled by a Honda dealer. But we know there is an increasing desire for people to complete the entire process online, so we incentivized dealers to offer a “buy online” program, and gave those participating dealers additional exposure throughout the website journey.