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New Polk Data: Do Online Shoppers Who Chat Buy Cars?

By Aaron Hassen on Dec 17, 2012

In an announcement published today, R.L. Polk confirmed that 1 in 3 car shoppers who initiated live chats with dealerships, in fact, purchased a vehicle within a 60-day period.  This analysis by Polk is the first of its kind and places a difinitive marker on what dealerships have individually claimed for some time.

Polk reviewed some 10,000 chats originating from dealer websites, online advertising sites and OEM websites, matching people who chatted to households with vehicle sales within a 60 day time frame.

The confirmation is significant as currently, 22% of dealerships (according to include live chat on their websites and growing number of dealers look to make a decision on whether to adopt live chat in 2013.

Additional information on the Polk findings is available here.


Great article Aaron, thanks for sharing!

Dec 17, 2012

Thanks, Justin.

Dec 17, 2012

Although this is no surprise to those exposed to chat results in recent years, this is import data for those dealers, the majority, who still do not have chat on their sites. A significant number of shoppers want to chat, shoppers who actually buy vehicles from stores willing to answer their questions. Thanks so much Aaron.

Dec 17, 2012

Dennis, you've been a leading voice on this topic the last many years. Thanks for your comments and foresight.

Dec 17, 2012

Great article and also backed by a strong company (Polk) case study. Its amazing with so many solutions available for chat for car dealers that the numbers of those not using is so high. To add to those numbers from an insiders perspective, I can confidently tell you the dealers using our Managed 24/7 Chat solution generate 4 times as many leads (not conversations>>>> LEADS) than dealers who rely on forms submissions from their websites.
Chat has to be one of the biggest no brainers for any car dealer. Think of how many car dealers have aggressive PPC campaigns that send customers to a website to browse but yet never get greeted.

Dec 17, 2012

Great article. Agree with all above. It's interesting that more dealers have not jumped on this. It's like 3rd party internet advertising in the early 2000's. New? Yes. Effective? Very. Dealers should not let the early intenders beat them to this great source of leads and sales. There are a lot of good companies who provide chat out there. Dealers need to their do diligence and jump on board.

Dec 17, 2012

Very interesting stats. I guess that leads to the importance of chat on a dealer's website.

Dec 17, 2012

Jim, Ralph and Dave...Thanks for the positive comments.

Dec 21, 2012


While it's good to prove that chatters are in fact car shoppers, how do we prove that live chat is still a worthy expense for dealers? Is there any more detailed information about this study? Specifically, if a dealer didn't offer live chat, did the customer abandon that dealer's website? What is a dealer was slow to respond to live chat? What if the dealer failed to write well? Are telephone calls, or website leads, better alternatives to live chat?


Dec 27, 2012

Live chat also includes the ability to text message a dealer and get an immediate response. The dealer must have a simple way of making sure a representative is available at all times, or at least making sure that the live chat is not available when nobody is available to give a prompt response. Almost all live chats that I have seen to date are poorly implemented and most of the ones that are outsourced have been poor. I agree that 2013 is likely to be a pivotal year with these technologies, especially as more consumers are using mobile devices to search and interact.

Dec 27, 2012

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