The dealership, which sold 1,718 new and used vehicles last year, has been working to refine its message around the experience.
It initially labeled the tool on its website as a virtual showroom, but has since changed that approach to encourage greater use. It is now listed in the new vehicles menu as a “build and price” tool to attract customers who are considering buying a vehicle, while the service and parts menu calls it “accessorize your vehicle”, a message intended for people who have already purchased a vehicle.
Vehicle configurators are common on manufacturers’ websites.
The traditional approach sees buyers build and evaluate a vehicle on the automaker’s site, where they can explore trims and options for a particular nameplate, and then be referred to dealerships in their area.
But Thomas sees the value of having a configurator that makes it easier to find and keeps consumers on the dealership’s website for longer periods of time.
“We all know that the more time a customer spends on our site, the more likely we are to sell them a car,” Thomas said. “I don’t think we’re necessarily trying to compete with the manufacturer, but when the customer comes to our site, they don’t have to leave our site to be able to view something that we may not have in stock. “