Social/Digital Media

Copart Seeks Public Input for Rebuild Contest

DALLAS - 

Copart has invited the general public to vote on the finalists of its first Copart Rebuild Challenge.

The contest, which gathered video entries of various vehicle rebuilds from April 14 through July 6, has been narrowed down to 10 finalists. The three with the most votes by July 25 will receive one of three prizes: a $10,000 grand prize, $2,000 second-place prize or the third-place reward of one year of Copart Premier Membership.

Matt Burgener, the chief marketing officer at Copart, was elated to view the variety of entries his company received.

“We had an overwhelming response to the Copart Rebuild Challenge,” Burgener said. “Our members fixed up everything from luxury cars to boats and motorcycles. It was wonderful to see how talented our customers truly are. We are excited to get the public involved to vote for their favorite video and ultimately select the winner of our inaugural Copart Rebuild Challenge.”

To view the ten finalists selected by Copart’s panel, click here.

Outsell Releases Buyer-Detection Tool for Dealers

MINNEAPOLIS - 

Digital marketing company Outsell launched a new buyer-detection product this week that works to keep dealers from missing out on new leads and potential repeat customers while also helping to gauge just how serious a shopper is about securing a new ride.

BuyerScout actually alerts users when current customers and prospects are actively shopping for a vehicle.

The tool evaluates customers’ online and offline behaviors and scores their actions to detect when they’re ready to buy.

"More than 50 percent of consumers seeking to purchase a vehicle begin gathering information six months prior — and the majority of that time is spent online. Traditionally, it's been extremely difficult for automotive salespeople to get visibility into shoppers' readiness to purchase and vehicle/brand considerations outside of their own website and store," said Dan Smith, vice president of product and marketing at Outsell. "BuyerScout is the only product available to the automotive industry that identifies active shoppers early in the purchase cycle and provides deep insight into the customer's shopping behavior prior to, and after, initial engagement with the dealership.

"The BuyerScout information is like gold to an automobile salesperson."

The tool utilizes data from more than 12,000 automotive websites, and works “to provide a full picture of buying behavior, brand preferences and shopping intensity.”

After synthesizing vehicle, customer, Web and behavioral data, BuyerScout provides the dealers a daily "most likely buyers" report, identifying who's actively shopping for a vehicle, along with details on any competitive makes/models that the shoppers may also be considering, company officials explained.

BuyerScout is available through Outsell's Digital Engagement Platform, and more than 280 auto dealerships across four automotive brands are already using the new tool.

One dealership already using BuyerScout is Tom Hesser Chevrolet in Scranton, Pa.

Internet sales manager Adam Jones said, "BuyerScout is fantastic and provides valuable ammo for us. The data shows us how we stack up against competition. Now that we have it, I can't imagine not using this tool at our dealership.

"Based on BuyerScout's scoring system, we are able to identify and qualify customers more accurately. It's another piece of the puzzle to help us win more business from other dealers."

DealerSocket Partners with Private Equity Firm

SAN CLEMENTE, Calif. - 

Billed as a “true partnership in every sense of the word,” software-as-a-service relationship management solution provider DealerSocket entered into a strategic investment relationship on Tuesday with Vista Equity Partners, a private equity firm with more than $12 billion in committed capital focused on investments in software and technology-enabled services companies.

DealerSocket recapped that it has grown from a startup software company in a garage 13 years ago to a firm with 450 employees supporting the CRM platform for franchised and independent dealerships.

DealerSocket partnered with Vista to accelerate growth and to continue to invest in product, service and operational scale.

Chief executive officer and co-founder Jonathan Ord explained the new relationship with Vista will serve as a platform to continue the DealerSocket traditions of great culture, innovation and customer service and couple it with an increased ability to scale and grow well into the future. 

Ord added DealerSocket’s current management team will remain in place and continue to hold a significant ownership stake in the company in a situation he deemed as a “true partnership with Vista in every sense of the word.”

Ord went on to say, “DealerSocket is a great company with tremendous potential. We looked long and hard for a partner that could provide the type of strategic and operational support for our leadership team that would enable us to realize our full potential.

“We did not want to be acquired. Rather, we sought to find a partner that would not dilute our brand or de-energize our employees or customers as well as help us capitalize on all available opportunities for growth. This relationship with Vista accomplishes that goal and more,” he continued.

Vista founder and managing principal Robert Smith said, “We are tremendously excited about partnering with DealerSocket. We are convinced that DealerSocket is a wonderful platform company in a space that is in need of thoughtful innovation and attention to customer satisfaction.

“The company is led by a passionate management team that loves automotive and loves their customers and desires to continue the legacy of DealerSocket,” Smith went on to say.

Study Reinforces How Consumer-Written Online Reviews Impact Leads

WALTHAM, Mass. - 

A recent study from DealerRater and Dataium confirmed that positive online reviews that provide employee-specific information drive website traffic and leads to dealers.

The study showed that DealerRater users were 90 percent more likely to visit a dealer website and 5.3 times more likely to convert to a lead when that dealer had a positive overall rating of 3.5 stars or higher.

Users reacted even stronger to review profiles that provided expanded information through DealerRater’s Certified Dealer Program. In particular, users were 12.1 times more likely to submit a lead to dealers that featured employee pages on their DealerRater review profiles.

Employee pages, available to participants in DealerRater’s Certified Dealer Program, allow a dealer’s customers to write reviews for individual dealer employees and feature specific information on the individual employee, such as an employee bio, photo and video greeting.

“The study validates what we’ve advised dealers on for years. Dealer reviews have a clear impact on the behavior of today’s auto shoppers. And the fact that auto shoppers are more engaged with the employee pages available from Certified Dealer profiles reveals that consumers are looking for more transparency as they research dealers,” DealerRater chief executive officer Gary Tucker said.

“When comparing multiple car dealerships, they’re looking for detailed reviews that provide a clear idea of what to expect from the car buying process,” he continued.

Tucker emphasized the study further illustrates the high value generated by DealerRater’s Certified Dealer Program, finding that participating dealers were able to attract, engage and convert more shoppers into leads than non-certified dealers.

DealerRater users were 50 percent more likely to visit a Certified Dealer website, as well as spend 80 percent more time on-site, than a non-certified dealer website. Moreover, Certified Dealers showed an 8.8 times higher lead conversion for new vehicles and a 10.8 times higher lead conversion for used vehicles than non-certified dealers.

Dataium chief development officer Eric Brown further explained what he believes the study findings show.

“Online reviews have already helped consumers in the car buying process, but now we’re looking at the other side of the relationship by showing how dealers can benefit from reviews,” Brown said. “The numbers speak for themselves: dealers that provide great customer service are receiving positive online reviews that, in turn, attract and convert more shoppers.”

Brown and Tucker also pointed out the findings were corroborated by John Osinga, IT/Web manager of London City Chrysler, a DealerRater Certified Dealer located in London, Ontario.

“We have focused heavily on leveraging DealerRater reviews over the years and it has paid off,” Osinga said. “We are seeing more referral website traffic now than we ever have before thanks to our online reviews. In addition, visitors are spending more time and viewing more pages on our site.”

The study is based on Dataium’s comparative analysis of dealership website traffic and DealerRater review profiles for more than 1,000 dealers. Dealers interested in learning more about the study or how an online reputation can be leveraged to drive sales can visit www.dealerrater.com/dealer.aspx.

Penske Partners with Online Savings Site

DETROIT - 

BoostUp.com — a free social savings website that can help consumers raise money toward a major purchase like a vehicle — recently formed a new partnership with Penske Automotive Group. 

Officials highlighted select Penske dealerships will now provide a discount — what the site calls a BOOST — of up to $500 to all BoostUp.com savers.

Here’s how the site is intended to operate.

BoostUp users can create an account to save their own money through automated bank deposits or payroll deductions and raise money from family and friends for birthdays, holidays, graduation or any gift giving occasion.  Partners such as Penske then can offer BoostUp savers a dollar for dollar matching incentive toward the purchase of their product or service. 

BoostUp founder and chief executive officer John Morgan explained the complementary nature of the partnership will allow both Penske and BoostUp to reach their common goal of helping people afford and purchase the vehicle of their dreams.

Morgan noted Penske’s 177 U.S. retail automotive franchises, 35 brands represented, strong reputation and global presence combined with BoostUp’s growing, revolutionary savings platform are what drew both companies together. 

“We are elated about working with Penske Automotive Group.” Morgan said. “This partnership solidifies the important mission of BoostUp, which is to help consumers reach their goals.  This is a major added benefit for BoostUp car buyers.”

Nissan Launches Mobile Newsroom Site

NASHVILLE, Tenn.  - 

Launching just in time for the New York International Auto Show, which opens to the press tomorrow, Nissan has launched a new, mobile responsive version of NissanNews.com.

For consumers, dealers and journalists interested in the automaker’s latest breaks, Nissan noted that new mobile site adapts to any smartphone or tablet.  

"Nissan's commitment to innovation goes beyond our vehicles, and that is why it is important to offer an attractive and user-friendly interface when media visit our newsroom from a mobile device," said David Reuter, vice president, Nissan Corporate Communications. "With the new mobile responsive design of NissanNews.com, we are providing journalists more convenient access to the information they need most. This responsive design technology keeps our award-winning newsroom firmly rooted as one of the best."

The company shared the new design simplifies functions such as touch-screen clicks, pinching, scrolling and zooming.

This version of NissanNews.com also allows images and video content to be readily downloaded.

The new site was launched in part because of more users switching over to mobile devices.

 In the first few months of 2014, 35 percent of Web traffic to NissanNews.com came through mobile devices, representing a 52 percent increase over the same period last year, when 17 percent of traffic made their way to the site through a mobile device, the company shared.