October 9, 2008, 12:00 AM

Combining web search and better product pages closes deals at auto dealer

Based in the central Georgia town of Warner Robins, the Bill Butler Chrysler dealership is winning more business through Internet search with a site content management tool that helps shoppers find specific details on cars more quickly, the dealer says.

Based in the central Georgia town of Warner Robins, the Bill Butler Chrysler Dodge Jeep dealership is winning more business through Internet search with a site content management tool that helps shoppers find specific details on cars more quickly, sales manager Alan Johnson says.

“I recently sold a car to a guy from Portland, OR, who wanted a very specific car-an Audi A4 high-performance model-who found us through a Google search,” Johnson says. “In our old system, I don’t think he would have found us.”

Bill Butler recently deployed a new inventory management and display application from The Cobalt Group Inc., a provider of web site development applications for auto dealers. By providing more information on available used as well as new vehicles, including multiple photos, vehicle specifications and performance details, the dealer has made it more likely that web searchers will land on an inventory page, where conversions to sales are about three times higher than on the home page, Johnson says.

The Cobalt application has led to a 75% increase in the number of customer leads from a vehicle detail page, he adds.

The application also enables the dealership to view how consumers are using its web site, then develop online promotions and modify pricing to increase sales, Johnson says.

The new web strategy is also resulting in improved profit margins, Johnson adds. “If shoppers find exactly what they’re looking for, price becomes a non-issue, so this helps profit margins as well as selling more cars,” he says. “Our Internet team produces higher gross profit per car and about a 10% higher profit margin.”

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