September 8, 2004, 12:00 AM

Online car researchers quickly become buyers, says Autobytel research

67% of car shoppers who submitted requests for price quotes at Autobytel.com utlimately purchased a car, according to a survey of Autobytel shoppers conducted by R.L. Polk & Co. 42% bought a new car and 25% bought a used car, the survey reported.

Kurt Peters

Executive Editor

 

67% of car shoppers who submitted requests for price quotes at Autobytel.com utlimately purchased a car, according to a survey of Autobytel shoppers conducted by R.L. Polk & Co. 42% bought a new car and 25% bought a used car, the survey reported.

The study also confirmed that online buyers’ expectations about what they want or can afford are not a lot different from traditional buyers: They want champagne but can only afford beer. “Many online buyers aim high when they submit purchase requests and 25% of new car buyers will switch to a used vehicle,” Autobytel said. “So, in addition to providing information on the requested vehicle, dealers should quote a comparable vehicle that is 10% less expensive, provide information about the lowest priced vehicle in the category, and suggest some used options. In other words, when it comes to price quotes, work to expand the discourse from a simple `yes or no` conversation to a more general dialogue about the customer`s needs and priorities, and how you can best serve them.”

The survey of users also showed that the online buying cycle is just over 50 days. Two-thirds of car buyers who bought or leased a vehicle after submitting a Purchase Request through Autobytel did so within 90 days, with one-third doing so within the first 30 days.

"Dealers often think of the online Purchase Request as an end, rather than a beginning," said Dennis Colome, Autobytel`s director of dealership performance coaching and best practices. "Excellent prospect and showroom management tools supporting a communications strategy that keeps the dealership front of mind for the buyer is the silver bullet for closing Internet sales."

 

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