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Autobytel Launches Dealer Insights Series to Help Car Dealers Increase Sales to Online Consumers

Detailed reporting and training information, based on data from millions of online car buyers matched to actual state vehicle registrations, helps dealers across the U.S. improve Internet sales operations.

IRVINE, Calif. --(BUSINESS WIRE)-- Autobytel Inc. (Nasdaq: ABTL), the company dedicated to helping automotive consumers and dealers connect online, today announced it has launched the Autobytel Dealer Insights Series, a quarterly education program designed to help dealers increase sales to today's online consumers.

The information offered in the first of the Autobytel Dealer Insights Series is backed by shopping trends and behavioral data from millions of online car buyers matched to actual vehicle registrations in all 50 states from R.L. Polk & Co. to shed light on what happens to automotive leads after they've been submitted online.

"We initially partnered with R.L. Polk as part of our ongoing commitment to lead quality, but when we dug into the data, we found some rather interesting and surprising consumer trends," said Scott Pechstein, VP of Sales for Autobytel Inc. "We felt it was critically important for dealers to be aware of these trends."

The first collection of materials in this series (including five video education sessions that feature Pechstein) is entitled Perception vs. Reality of Internet Leads and offers a detailed analysis about these trends, including:

1.How and why today's car buyers are much different than in generations past.
2.How and why the online car buying process has changed in recent years.
3.The propensity for consumers to buy a different brand than the brand for which they initially submitted an Internet lead.
4.The propensity for consumers to buy a used car after they've submitted a new car lead, or to buy a new car after they've submitted a used car lead.
5.Important advice, based on this data, about how dealers can best meet the needs of today's online car buyers and modify their Internet processes to enhance their sales results.

Following are just some of the important statistics* contained in this series:

  • Of the consumers who submitted a new car purchase request and bought, 54.4% bought a different brand (new or used).
  • Of the consumers who submitted a used car purchase request and bought, 53.6% bought a different brand (new or used).
  • Of the consumers who submitted a new car purchase request and bought, 41.9% bought used (any make).
  • Of the consumers who submitted a used car purchase request and bought, 20.7% bought new (any make).
  • As Internet leads age beyond 30 days, the propensity for consumers to defect to another brand — or to defect from a new car to a used car — increases significantly.

Following are several important tips from the series, to help dealers enhance their Internet sales operations:

1.Since today's car buyers are prone to considering many brands, dealers should communicate the significant benefits of their brand in addition to communicating the benefits of their store (i.e. industry awards and accolades, manufacturer maintenance/warranty/roadside assistance programs, etc.).
2.Since today's car buyers are prone to switching from new to used, or from used to new, dealers should communicate to customers other vehicle options — in addition to information about the vehicle of interest — such as comparable same-brand new models, comparable CPO cars and/or a link to the dealership's used car inventory page (featuring their brand and other brands).
3.Since today's new car buyers are more prone to switch to used cars as Internet leads age past 30 days, dealers should modify their communication strategy to place more emphasis on used options as the lead ages.

This first collection in the series also highlights information contained in "Lost Sales Reports" provided to dealers who are part of the Autobytel program. These reports highlight Autobytel Internet lead data specific to their dealerships and to their market areas, and which brands or types of vehicles people ultimately bought and from whom, to help dealers optimize their sales and marketing efforts.

"Essentially, some of the perceptions dealers have about Internet leads are much different than reality," said Pechstein. "Knowing the cars people ultimately buy and from whom, once an online purchase request has been submitted, enables us to provide insight to help dealers get customers into their stores and driving away in their cars."

The Autobytel Dealer Insights Series videos are available at http://dealer.autobytel.com/dealer-training.

*Autobytel Internet Lead data and R.L. Polk & Co. Vehicle Registration data: Analysis from Q1 — Q3, 2012.