Say “auto chat” and a handful of vendors come to mind, including Contact At Once!, who pioneered chat in online advertising and still remains the only solution that lets dealers use the same chat tools in online ads, on OEM sites, in social media, on dealer websites, and more.
As a matter of fact, the company serves up chats in almost every kind of online auto venue imaginable, including mobile. Along the way, they’ve racked up awards for company growth, product performance and employee satisfaction, including top honors at this year’s Automotive Website Awards for chat product and overall product satisfaction.
In spite of all the accolades however, chief executive officer, John Hanger says what the company hopes to achieve doesn’t just revolve around being a top-rated chat product. “Chat was around before Contact At Once! and if dealers are looking only at putting chat on their own website, they have several options, including ours.”
Of course, as Contact At Once! sees it, chatting strictly from a dealer website only snags a fraction of the sales opportunities out there. “How likely is it that a shopper starts and ends her search with one dealer website,” asks Hanger? “As shoppers scan across dozens of ad sites, OEM websites, and more, you’ll stand a much better chance of making a connection if you’ve put your chat invitations everywhere they’re looking—not just on your own website.”
Statistics from a recent Contact At Once! dealer survey support the premise. Dealers report getting chats from at least a dozen sources, including major online ad sites, regional classifieds, Facebook and Craigslist, to name a few.
Conclusions? Having chat on your dealer website is a good thing. Enabling chat from other online sites in addition to your dealer website is better. But, you’re still not done, because there are even more ways to create connections with shoppers, online and otherwise.
“Auto dealers are masters at the marketing model where consumers find them in print, hear them on TV, then drive down to the dealership to begin the buying process,” Hanger says. “Of course, that’s not today’s typical experience.”
Today, research shows, the vast majority of shoppers start a search online. Some even end up haggling prices among dealers on a mobile phone in the showroom parking lot. Today, the typical dealer marketing strategy includes tried-and-true stand-bys like print, combined with pay-per-click, online ad listings, and mobile sites.
“Chat is perfect for enabling connectivity between online shoppers on desktops or tablets,” says Hanger, “but what about people driving by a dealership after hours, seeing a print ad in the newspaper, or walking by a bus-stop billboard?” The Contact At Once! vision remains to enabling instant connections from all those locations in addition to online sites, which leads us to the company’s latest innovation—Mobile Text Connect.
“Mobile Text Connect, combined with chat, creates a continuous connectivity loop, from the first place shoppers search for cars, all the way to the showroom floor,” explains Hanger. Dealers utilize chat invitations and special text numbers or QR codes to enable instant access between shoppers and the dealership.
Dealers can place chat in online advertising and on dealership websites, but they can also put QR codes and text numbers just about anywhere. A number in an ad or on a brochure can launch a one-to-one text conversation. Interested in trying it now? Just text 678-827-4069 to see how it works.
A QR code, like the one printed here, can be used in ads, promotional pieces, or included in emails, newsletters or on websites. If you want to see how that works, just scan this QR code and you’ll instantly launch a text conversation with a Contact At Once! representative. Put it all together and dealers can create interactive, real-time sales opportunities from anywhere.
Aside from all the hype about chat, most dealers just want to know if it works and according to the latest Contact At Once! survey, the answer is a resounding yes. Almost 60 percent of participants said they believe the ability to chat gives them a strong competitive advantage. “Simply put,” says Hanger, “wherever your customers are, Contact At Once! chat and Mobile Text Connect puts you there too.”