ATLANTA, March 15, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- AutoTrader.com has partnered with auto dealer chat software provider Contact At Once! (www.autodealerchat.com) to deliver chat functionality to dealers who list their cars for sale on the site. The integration of chat enables dealers to instantly connect with prospects via text-based conversations online. The dealer live chat feature is a part of AutoTrader.com's Connections Bundle, which provides dealers with multiple avenues to build and foster relationships with shoppers online.
After an extensive search and testing process, AutoTrader.com selected Contact At Once! to power the dealer live chat solution because of Contact At Once!'s position as a leader in the space and ability to deliver a best-in-class chat experience for both dealers and consumers. The chat window can display the name and photo of actual dealership employees, which improves the consumer experience and has been shown to increase the number of chat inquiries dealerships receive. The dealer live chat solution is also presence-aware, so consumers will only be prompted to initiate a chat session if a representative is available, ensuring that consumers are never left hanging.
Additionally, the Contact At Once! dealer live chat solution enables dealers to conduct chats via their iPads, smart phones or other mobile devices, so dealers can be responsive to consumer inquiries even when they're not at their desks.
The majority of auto shoppers use third-party classified sites during their search, and the addition of chat to AutoTrader.com helps dealers connect with those customers earlier in the shopping process. According to the recent Automotive Buyer Influence Study conducted by Polk and AutoTrader.com, consumers spend 18-19 hours shopping for a car before they make a purchase, with approximately 60% of that time spent online. However, consumers have shown a reluctance to pick up the phone to call dealers during their search and have long been dissatisfied with email response times, leading 70% to just walk into a dealership without first making contact.
"Faster than email and more convenient than a phone call, online chat enables consumers to get instant answers to their questions while enabling dealers to begin creating a relationship with shoppers before they show up on the lot," said AutoTrader.com President and CEO, Chip Perry. "We are pleased with the performance of the Contact At Once! dealer live chat platform and excited about the value it has already brought both dealers and consumers."
Early value tests conducted by AutoTrader.com showed that dealers who added dealer live chat to their listings experienced an average lift in shopper interaction of about 20%.
"AutoTrader.com's embrace affirms the mainstream status of dealer live chat software and signals a new reality – that dealers not using chat are missing sales opportunities," said John Hanger, President & CEO of Contact At Once! "We are honored to have been selected and look forward to working with AutoTrader.com to connect dealers and consumers."
The chat feature on AutoTrader.com is a part of the new Connections Bundle, which includes Chat, Dealer Ratings, Social Media Connections and Sitelink Advanced. Dealers who are interested in learning more about the Connections Bundle should talk to their AutoTrader.com advertising consultants.
Atlanta-based AutoTrader.com, created in 1997, is the Internet's ultimate automotive marketplace and consumer information website. AutoTrader.com aggregates in a single location millions of new cars, used cars and certified pre-owned cars from thousands of auto dealers and private sellers and is a leading online resource for auto dealers, individuals and manufacturers to advertise and market their vehicles to in-market shoppers. The company also provides a robust suite of software tools for dealers and manufacturers to help them manage and market their vehicle inventory and display advertising on the Internet. AutoTrader.com continues to grow key business metrics, including revenue, profitability and site traffic. Today, AutoTrader.com attracts more than 15 million unique monthly visitors who utilize the site to review descriptions, photos and videos of vehicles for sale; research and compare vehicles; review pricing and specials; and read auto-related content like buying and selling tips and editorial coverage of major auto shows and automotive trends. AutoTrader.com operates two other auto marketing brands, AutoTraderClassics.com and AutoTraderLatino.com. AutoTrader.com also owns used vehicle management software company vAuto, Kelley Blue Book (Kbb.com) and HomeNet Automotive, a leading provider of online inventory management and merchandising solutions for the automotive retail industry. AutoTrader.com is a majority-owned subsidiary of Cox Enterprises. Providence Equity Partners is a 25 percent owner of the company and Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers is also an investor. For more information, please visit www.autotrader.com.
About Contact At Once! LLC
Contact At Once! is the leading provider of dealer live chat software for automotive websites and operator of the industry's only chat network, connecting over 7,500 car dealers to the websites that car shoppers visit most often. Adding ContactAtOnce! auto dealer chat software to a website typically increases a dealership's sales conversations by at least 25%. Contact At Once! is headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia. For more information about the company's auto dealer chat product, please visit: www.autodealerchat.com.