TLA’s VanGuide rebrand: meeting van buyer needs

Any rebrand or digital overhaul offers an opportunity for introspection. It’s a chance to learn what’s working well and what needs to improve. Having recently relaunched VanGuide to the market, we took some time out with Ishan Sonavane, Product Manager at TLA to talk about the reasons behind the change and the key insights it provided.

Why was the decision made to rebrand VanGuide?

The website has been in our stable for a long time, providing van buyers with sought-after content on light commercial vehicles.

The site generated a high percentage of organic traffic. Visitors engaged well with a range of content. This included practicality reviews, dimensional specifications, reliability, and alternate fuel sources for vans. That engagement was important. It provided valuable insight for OEM into customer behaviour and preferences.

OEMs can use that insight to deliver better services to their customers. From purchasing a new van to supporting them through van ownership.

But the site needed an overhaul to deliver the most value to its visitors. We wanted to make it easier for them to access commercial vehicle content. That meant we needed new functionality, such as ‘search by attribute’ features. We also added the option of getting in touch with manufacturers using calls to action on our model pages. For the OEMs, it was about giving them a way of attracting customers at all stages of their purchase journey.

“This was a rewarding project to be involved with, which I thoroughly enjoyed working on. Being able to create a new site where each type of van buyer would be able to find an ideal van for them…”

Ishan Sonavane

What research informed the approach?

We collected as much information as we could from different sources. The first step was to research existing publications and studies on van usage, historical sales, trends, patterns and so on. We also looked at van blogs, forums, model-specific websites, and any other user-generated content. We sent out two surveys. The first was to see how visitors felt about the current version of VanGuide. What they liked. What they didn’t. What they wanted to see from a new version, etc. We also dug deep into their purpose for visiting the website.

The second survey was for in-market van buyers. This had questions about their purchase journey. It covered brands and models they had considered, reasons for choosing certain brands and models, as well as important attributes when choosing a van.

We were able to classify the information into distinct categories. This shaped the decision-making process for the redesign of the website.

What were the key findings about in-market van buyers?

The second survey provided key insights into customer behaviour. We identified two personas that informed the rebuild: private/individual owners and business/fleet owners. All were considering or actively looking for EV alternatives for their next purchase. However, the availability of new vans was still a key concern.

Vanguide Homepage
The Van Guide Website Homepage

What are the key factors that in-market van buyers consider when searching for a van?

  1. Practicality. When purchasing a new van the most important factor is its load-carrying capacity. i.e. Load volume, maximum weight, etc. The most visited pages on VanGuide are dimension review pages.
  2. Cost. As expected, cost plays a vital role in the decision-making process. Most compare prices from the competitor offerings before choosing a new van.
  3. Reliability. For most, vans are their source of livelihood. They need a workhorse that won’t let them down. Van buyers research user reviews before purchasing a van to find out how reliable a product is.
  4. Multipurpose. Some owners use vans for purposes other than work (e.g. school run, getting groceries, etc.). Having a good cabin with features such as Bluetooth and sat-navigation affects their decision.

This was a rewarding project to be involved with, which I thoroughly enjoyed working on. Being able to take the project from idea to execution was very satisfying. It was nice to see that the hard work we put into researching and designing the website paid off. Getting positive comments from our users about the new version of the website has been the cherry on top.