Polk Study: Chat Translates to Automotive Purchase

By the experts at Cars.com

One in three chat users bought a vehi­cle after hav­ing an online con­ver­sa­tion with a deal­er, accord­ing to a new study con­duct­ed by Polk and com­mis­sioned by Con­tact At Once!

Polk ana­lyzed 10,000 Con­tact At Once! chat tran­scripts in which con­sumers vol­un­teered per­son­al­ly iden­ti­fi­able infor­ma­tion, such as full name or driver’s license num­ber.  They then matched these indi­vid­u­als to house­holds with vehi­cle sales and reg­is­tra­tion data over a 60-day peri­od to under­stand any con­nec­tions between the chat con­ver­sa­tion and pur­chase behav­ior.

The ana­lysts found that chats orig­i­nat­ing from deal­er­ship web­sites, OEM sites and auto­mo­tive mar­ket­place sites, like Cars.com, ulti­mate­ly result­ed in pur­chas­es one-third of the time.

“It val­i­dates the many anec­do­tal reports we have received from deal­ers that chat does help them sell cars,” said Marc Hayes, Con­tact At Once! founder and exec­u­tive vice-pres­i­dent of prod­uct and strat­e­gy, in a recent press release.

Near­ly 12,000 Cars.com cus­tomers cur­rent­ly use Chat, includ­ed in all Cars.com ad pack­ages, to con­nect with shop­pers, though many oth­ers have yet to take advan­tage of the tool. If your deal­er­ship hasn’t reg­is­tered for chat, con­sid­er it as an oppor­tu­ni­ty to engage with cus­tomers who may not con­tact your deal­er­ships via phone or email. This study rein­forces sim­i­lar research relat­ed to SMS mes­sag­ing that indi­cates near­ly half of shop­pers age 18–34 believe a text mes­sage (com­pa­ra­ble to chat) is as mean­ing­ful as a phone call.

Chat is most effec­tive when mul­ti­ple peo­ple at the deal­er­ship han­dle con­ver­sa­tions. To increase avail­abil­i­ty to poten­tial cus­tomers, it’s best to pro­vide your entire sales team with access to Chat and have a man­ag­er mon­i­tor activ­i­ty.

More­over, Con­tact At Once! pro­vides a mobile desk­top exten­sion and iPhone app for deal­ers that aren’t able to be tied down to their desk all day. It’s sim­ple to use and prompts shop­pers to con­nect with the deal­er­ship even if a chat is missed.

To get start­ed with Chat on Cars.com, sim­ply con­tact your Cars.com rep­re­sen­ta­tive or email support@cars.com.



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