General Motors is paying $5 million to make dealer websites smarter

Article by Anita Panait, on August 31, 2013

General Motors is paying $5 million for 60 days so that its 4,324 dealers can test adaptive Web site software that automatically adjusts images and content based on search history. Although similar tracking technology has been used by retailers like Amazon, it is relatively new to automotive retailing, according to Ed Vogt, GM's general director of retail sales support.

GM is offering the new tracking software -- developed by Web site and digital marketing vendor Cobalt -- at no costs to all its dealers for a 60-day trial, Vogt said. The premium package for each dealership will cost GM $699 monthly, allowing the carmaker's retailers to determine whether the sites improve the Web experience of shoppers and entice more of them to contact the dealership, according to Vogt, adding that some GM dealers already commenced piloting the technology in February.

Vogt said that a wider rollout of the technology was done in the past few weeks. According to Vogt, it is too early to see whether the sites are generating leads, which means that they are influencing more customers to ask to be contacted by dealers.

Paul Huber, director of technology at Capitol Chevrolet, remarked to Automotive News that advent of smart Web sites in dealerships is welcome, if overdue. The Web sites work by tracking cookies to instantly detect where else a shopper has been online.

If a shopper searches for the Chevrolet Silverado pickup on Google and then visits the dealer's Web site, the site automatically show Silverado photos, incentives and inventory for the shopper.General Motors is paying $5 million for 60 days so that its 4,324 dealers can test adaptive Web site software that automatically adjusts images and content based on search history.

Although similar tracking technology has been used by retailers like Amazon, it is relatively new to automotive retailing, according to Ed Vogt, GM's general director of retail sales support. GM is offering the new tracking software -- developed by Web site and digital marketing vendor Cobalt -- at no costs to all its dealers for a 60-day trial, Vogt said.

The premium package for each dealership will cost GM $699 monthly, allowing the carmaker's retailers to determine whether the sites improve the Web experience of shoppers and entice more of them to contact the dealership, according to Vogt, adding that some GM dealers already commenced piloting the technology in February.

Vogt said that a wider rollout of the technology was done in the past few weeks. According to Vogt, it is too early to see whether the sites are generating leads, which means that they are influencing more customers to ask to be contacted by dealers. Paul Huber, director of technology at Capitol Chevrolet, remarked to Automotive News that advent of smart Web sites in dealerships is welcome, if overdue.

The Web sites work by tracking cookies to instantly detect where else a shopper has been online. If a shopper searches for the Chevrolet Silverado pickup on Google and then visits the dealer's Web site, the site automatically show Silverado photos, incentives and inventory for the shopper. [source: automotive news - sub. required]

Topics: gm, dealer

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