Wednesday, September 12, 2007

The Web's Influence Does Not Stop Within Traditional Retail

This is an cool study that sheds some light on the fact that nearly industry segment is affected by online research. So even the most traditional sale channels need to take heed to this consumer behavior.
Web converts more tire kickers to buyers at Hyundai dealer

Visitors who fill out an information-request form on Coastal Hyundai’s web site convert to buyers at a 22% rate, compared to about 16% for those who walk into the showroom, Wade Wahy, Internet sales manager for the Melbourne, FL, car dealer says.

“The Internet is definitely taking the lead in bringing customers to the dealership,” he says.

Coastal Hyundai, whose web site is hosted by, uses search marketing as well as traditional TV and print ads to bring consumers to its web site, “The web makes traditional marketing more effective because we get an instant response from consumers who log onto our site after seeing a TV or print ad,” Wahy says.

The site lets them view current inventory and fill out online forms for more information, engage in live chat with Wahy or other sales people, and e-mail questions that get forwarded to Wahy’s cell phone. Customers can also order parts online and have them shipped along with the bill to their home address. In some cases, buyers go through the process of choosing a car, applying for financing and arranging a pick-up date completely online, then show up at the dealer to pick up the keys and sign final papers, Wahy says.

Coastal Hyundai is considering other web site features such as online comparisons of different makes and models of cars, and it may eventually offer an online shopping cart to let customers complete purchase transactions online for parts or even vehicles, Wahy adds.

The web doesn’t replace in-person customer service, however. It enhances it, Wahy says, by providing more options for communicating with and serving customers and prospects. And that keeps them engaged and more likely to complete a purchase, he adds.

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