Internet leads for vehicle sales have flattened out in the past year. Alex Jefferson, director of Internet and training for the Proctor Dealerships of Tallahassee, Fla., said that online car shopping has been growing and so the fault clearly lies with the dealers who fail to respond quickly.
Jefferson said that when dealers are slow at following up on these leads, the consumers would instead walk in the dealerships or use the telephone.
Jon Quade, a performance improvement consultant at ADP Digital Marketing (which was created after the acquisition of the Cobalt Group in 2010), said that the change has made dealers boost efforts to make sure that they handle the Internet leads and phone calls well.
Quade said that several years ago, many believed that personally visiting the showrooms and contacting them by phone will be a thing of the past because of the Internet but the opposite has happened as “phone calls have exploded."
Quade discussed a recent internal study by ADP Digital, which offers Web sites and customer retention tools to dealers. The results show that dealers get 10 phone-call leads for every two Internet leads while a year ago, it had seven phone-call leads for every two Internet leads.
This study covered data that spans from March 2010 to March 2011. Dataium, a Nashville-based firm that monitors auto-shopping habits online, has also released its own findings that serve to confirm the trend. Jason Ezell, president of Dataium, said that in the last 10 months, only 2% of visitors to dealer Web sites requested to be contacted.