The annual WardsAuto e-Dealer 100 list is out, and there are some trends definitely worth noting. Is your dealership poised to capture the ever-growing number of Internet-only car shoppers and turn them into loyal customers? The payoff could be huge, and there’s practically no risk—it’s something every dealership’s sales manager needs to be thinking about.
WardsAuto e-Dealer 100 list is comprised of the 100 dealers in the US who completed the highest volume of online vehicle sales over the past year. A sale counted as an “online sale” is the customer initiated contact with the dealership via an Internet-based method, and if the transaction was completed by a dedicated Internet salesperson or Internet sales team.
This simple criteria resulted in an eclectic bunch of dealerships, providing one key takeaway right off the bat: like Colt’s revolver in the Wild West, the Internet has become the great equalizer in the auto sales industry. Whether you’re a small independent dealership or part of the largest network of dealerships in the country, you can earn yourself a spot as one the nation’s top online car and truck dealers, as long as you approach it right.
42 spots on the list were snagged by dealerships owned by Berkshire Hathaway Automotive (formerly the Van Tuyl Group), but the highest any of them climbed was #10 and they were scattered all the way down to #98 (and 39 Berkshire dealerships didn’t even make the list). Meanwhile, Dave Smith Motors of Kellogg, ID—not exactly the most active region for car sales, generally speaking—–has yet again landed on the list, this time at the #3 spot. Using an online platform, this independent dealer is selling nationwide and has transformed its business.
Being big is nice, but when it comes to the Internet it clearly isn’t everything.
WardsAuto admits that the number of online-only sales it tallied—287,170 across all 100 dealerships who made its list—is still just a drop in the bucket compared to the 32.4 million overall new and used vehicle sales in 2015. Still, that means each of the 100 dealerships on the list were averaging nearly 8 online sales every single day, and the total number of online sales has tripled since since the first WardsAuto e-Dealer 100 list back in 2001.
To put it in plain terms: online sales are growing rapidly, but there’s still plenty of time to jump in and grab a piece of the action. You can compete with the big guys if you set up your website and your online outreach correctly, and if you are a big guy—well, you’re in for some competition, but who better to handle the massive volume of online sales around the corner than you?
And of course, if you need any when it comes to attracting, keeping, and converting online auto buyers, we have a few ideas to help you out.