This was my first major project after transitioning to the corporate level. Beginning in late 2008 Morrie’s was rebranded from ‘Service is Key’, to ‘Buy Happy’. With the new branding came a new selling process, including doing away with negotiated sales in favor of a one-price model, and refocusing our business around building online sourced sales.
The original morries.com was redesigned in 2005, and was essentially a bust. The layout had poor usability and worse SEO. None of the websites ranked for anything beyond their store name, ie “Morrie’s Mazda”, and organic traffic accounted for less than 20% of visitors. This led to Morrie’s controlled sites generating less than 15% of all e-mail leads in 2008.
The redesign process began in December 2008, and all sites went fully live in April of 2009. I worked closely coordinating between our COO, our ad agency, and a third party consulting company we hired for some project guidance. Since that time all Internet leads have increased by 156%, with internally controlled lead shares going from 13% before the redesign to over 35% since, a 286% increase. Gross profit from Internet lead sourced sales has increased over 300% from 2008.
To begin the process we started with one site, which would become the template for the remainder of the project. The store I originally worked for with was chosen as the guinea pig, due to familiarity, and readiness for change.
The first draft submitted by our consultants was worlds better than what we had, but I wasn’t satisfied. I didn’t feel this design did enough to communicate our messaging, and the branding wasn’t strong enough.
Our ad agency took the design from our consultants and re-worked it based on my input. I felt that this got much closer to what I was looking for, but needed some work.
This was the final draft based on my edits. We opted to launch with a flash billboard with our new Buy Happy Promises featured prominently in the middle of the page. I felt this design best leveraged our new branding messages with ease of use, giving consumers 1-click access to any inventory their were searching for. This design also incorporated a new project we were working on – an embedded YouTube video player, loaded with customer testimonials.
Once the store pages were all complete, we re-worked morries.com. Under our previous web structure morries.com received very little traffic, and was not a significant lead driver. With our new advertising model focusing on driving traffic to morries.com it was essential we got this piece right. We wanted to be sure that our branding messages were prominent, but our number one consideration was to make it easy for our customers to shop for cars. This first draft was very close to the final product, with only the central navigation being significantly changed.
Here we can see the final draft of morries.com before it went live. The central navigation was changed to direct customers to shop by brand, but store locations were accessible via the arrow button to the left. This iteration was live for about 6 months before its first major revision.
In early 2010 we added an advertising slot to the store pages, and revamped the lower left box adding direct access to appraisal and credit app tools. The advertising slot was coded in such a way that we could manage the tile rotation remotely, hosting the images on our media server, giving us the capability to switch out these specials on the fly, without relying on our web provider to update code.
Morries.com underwent a significant revision during the spring of 2010. After the success of using the ad rotation spots on the store sites, we added the upper and lower ad spots to morries.com, moving the ‘Best Price First..’ tagline up to the header, and adding an ad spot in its previous location. We re-worked the central brand\store navigation to better reflect the ‘locations’ button on the left side, and updated the Twin Cities Luxury Auto spot to better reflect it’s branding, and add navigation directly to their used cars. Finally, we added the Public before Wholesale module to the lower left area, replacing the under-utilized appraisal and credit app links.