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Old 12-20-2007, 07:38 AM   #1
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My workcamping assignment this winter is with an RV dealer north of Gainesville, FL. I'm rebuilding their website content as well as adding all their inventory online. It is a work in progress.

I think I've covered a lot of bases with content. Even so, I thought it would be helpful to solicit advice from fellow RVers, especially on iRV2.com.

Please, take a moment and reply with what you would like to see/read when you view an RV dealer website. What content? What services? Anything at all?

I'm not at all involved in sales. My goal is advice not sales prospects! I can't change the RV brands the dealer sell. Also, I have to work within the confines of the Web tempate provided. So, don't ask for fancy effects.

Please take a few minutes to view the website and send me your comments regarding content (text/pictures). Thanks.

Dealer website: JD Sanders RV Center
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Old 12-20-2007, 07:38 AM   #2
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My workcamping assignment this winter is with an RV dealer north of Gainesville, FL. I'm rebuilding their website content as well as adding all their inventory online. It is a work in progress.

I think I've covered a lot of bases with content. Even so, I thought it would be helpful to solicit advice from fellow RVers, especially on iRV2.com.

Please, take a moment and reply with what you would like to see/read when you view an RV dealer website. What content? What services? Anything at all?

I'm not at all involved in sales. My goal is advice not sales prospects! I can't change the RV brands the dealer sell. Also, I have to work within the confines of the Web tempate provided. So, don't ask for fancy effects.

Please take a few minutes to view the website and send me your comments regarding content (text/pictures). Thanks.

Dealer website: JD Sanders RV Center
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Old 12-20-2007, 07:59 AM   #3
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Hi Lew,
For me, keeping the site current and accurate is most important. This will happen (or not) after you leave. I ask that whatever you do, make sure the process and tasks to update the site are well documented and very easy for anyone to do.
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Old 12-20-2007, 08:14 AM   #4
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I've been looking for a new TT for the past year. One of the biggest turn-offs for me when viewing a dealer website was the "CALL FOR PRICE" text many dealers use. I know this is to get the consumer on the line so they can start working the deal. I don't want to start the process with a saleperson until I know the TT is priced such that I'm interested working a deal. I realize they often simply put their list price and you work down from their. I'm smart enough to calculate the 20 - 30% discount I should be able to deal.

Once I give their list a 20-30% haircut I know if I'm in the ballpark and whether or not I want to negotiate with them.

The dealers I refused to call were those that put the "CALL FOR PRICE". Who knows, I may have been able to get the best deal from one of them but I refused to call because I didn't want to play their game.
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Old 12-20-2007, 08:23 AM   #5
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Gary,

You are absolutely correct!

Early on I voiced my concern to the management. I've known the owners and staff for years. No one there has teh time to keep the inventory current.

I suggested that we bring an intern in from U.F. or the Community College each semester. So, naturally, its my job to research that!
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Old 12-20-2007, 09:07 AM   #6
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Riverdog,

I'm with you. I have the MSRP of every new rig on the site, as well as the asking price for pre-owned units.
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Old 12-20-2007, 04:37 PM   #7
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Wow - going to actual users to develop usability for a website??? That is very "out of the box" thinking in this world, you know

I kid only because I am a web developer myself. Way too many times I see marketing departments serve themselves as opposed to serving the users that they actually want on their site. I applaud you.

One of the sites I really appreciated when I was shopping for my current RV was the Demartini RV web site. I appreciated how they had a lot of photos of each unit, an MSRP listed, and a copy of the "window sticker" for every unit. The window sticker was especially useful to find out exactly what options were included in the MSRP that was listed. They also have a direct email link for each coach, so it is easy to distinguish which one you are inquiring about.

The thing I didn't like about the site was that it was done with frames, so it is very difficult for a non-web geek to send someone a direct URL to view a coach. But, that is pretty minor in spite of all of the positive things about the site.

There are plenty examples of "bad" sites out there. You are on the right track by getting feedback here.


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Old 12-21-2007, 07:52 AM   #8
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Kev,

Thanks for the input. I checked the site you mentioned and saw the stickers. It's the first time I've seen a sticker on the Web.

My dealer no longer sells new Class A coaches. They are the Airstream headquarters north of Orlando. They sell other brands too. The point is, with the exception of Airstream Class B coaches, they stock only trailers & fifth wheels. I don't know that those come with stickers. But, I'm going to find out!
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Old 12-21-2007, 11:15 AM   #9
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I dont think my Travel Trailer came with a sticker in the window, but I know it came with a build list of everything and all the options it had on it.

That would be almost mandatory to include with pictures. For me, I think pictures and more pictures sell the deal. Who wants to look at a few low quality shots with bad lighting? I'd try and include as many photos of each unit as possible.

Good job with asking for suggestions.

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Old 12-21-2007, 01:51 PM   #10
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Pat,

I'm limited to 12 pictures per rig. I don't think I've used that many so far. I've been taking wide angle shots covering a wide area. Perhaps I should add some more detailed close-ups.

If my dealer does have a "build list" or something similar, then I next have to figure a way to add it to the webpage. I can't just load it as a separate page for each unit - one of the website's limitations. I can load documents but they have limited access.

I'm thinking about creating a searchable PDF that includes the build list/sticker for each new unit on the lot. Then make it either downloadable or accessable on the site.

Oh joy! More work! Well, I did ask for advice, didn't I?
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Old 12-21-2007, 02:39 PM   #11
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Kudos to you for undertaking such a project & I wish you luck upgrading the site. You've come to the right group of folks to get opinions.

Along with the other suggestions that've been made, I like it when a website shows the unit's floorplan in it's photo section. Saves me from having to open a new window to the mfr to look it up.
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Old 12-21-2007, 05:48 PM   #12
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Dave & Lori,

I've been scanning floorplans from the brochures. I've only finished with the Airstream lines. I add them to each model as a JPEG photo. It will take me a while to san the rest of their lines.
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Old 12-21-2007, 06:18 PM   #13
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Sounds like you are on the right track, Lew. I think the important part about the window stickers that were shown (although I have never seen them actually in windows!) is that they list all of the options included. I see so many rigs for sale that have the available options listed, which is fine if you are ordering new, but does not help if you are looking at a specific unit.

A thought about the floorplans and build sheets - you can just snap a picture of them with a digital camera, crop and post just as you would a picture of the trailer.


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Old 12-22-2007, 05:04 AM   #14
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Kev,

Floorplans for travel trailers are usually found with 5 or 6 floorplans per brochure page.

I just scan the page on my HP DJ335 all-in-one printer, Then I use Nikon View to crop each floorplan into a separate JPEG. Finally, If I need to clean something up I use Microsoft Paint, a simple and mostly underappreciated program that comes with Windows.

If I scanned each Build Sheet as a JPEG and loaded it as a picture to the site, you couldn't enlarge it enough to read the text, I'm afraid. It's a limitation of the website that I have no control over.

Next week, when I'm back at the office I'm going to explore the abilities and limitations of the document store and display feature of the site.
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