Audi of America's Web site, audiusa.com, used to be a little confusing to browse and a little crude to use. Visitors, using their smartphones to desktop computers, had a little hard time trying to figure out the site. That was the case until end of May 2013, when Audi launched the first redesign of its Web site since 2009.
Mark Ramsey, general manager of digital retail operations at Audi of America, admitted that the old site failed to live up to a lot of the expectations that customers had for the brand. This prompted the carmaker to have its agency of record, AKQA of San Francisco, overhaul the Web site to display properly on different screen sizes and types.
The Web site is also now configured to allow customers to search the inventory of all Audi dealerships simultaneously without going to individual dealership pages. Ramsey remarked that that Audi wants its Web site to be a “true shopping tool for consumers, and a tool to assist dealers.
He said that shopping Web sites shouldn't just be their dealer sites. He added their brand Web sites should allow customers to find the right car as well. Although Audi is not alone in taking this move, it says that it is the first brand in its "import high group" peer set -- which includes BMW and Mercedes-Benz -- to take the step. Visitors to Audi’s new Web site could now see the inventory of the nearest dealership when they search for a ZIP code on the site.
All other vehicles are listed as available "upon request," which means that a local store has a chance to make a trade and turn a lead into a sale. According to Ramsey, Audi ran the new system past its dealer council, and decided to show search results for one store at a time. Mazda's Web site, meanwhile, shows online shoppers the inventory of all Mazda stores nationwide. Visitors to Mercedes-Benz and BMW Web sites could click a link to a dealership's Web site to see its current inventory. [source: Audi]