Dave Thomas is one of a handful of dealers forging new sales methods for handling Internet shoppers. Some examples:
Staffing: 'Our Internet manager, Chris Wofford, came from a consumer advocate background. The majority of our people don't have car sales experience. They have been trained specifically to handle the Internet customer.'
Female shoppers: 'The people I sell over the Internet, I would say 65 to 70 percent are female. That person can make a purchase without having to feel intimidated by walking into the showroom.'
Updating Web pages: 'Every 30 days, you have to look at your Web page and say, `How can I make this faster? How can I make it more convenient for the customer?' Because it's all about convenience and speed. It's all about being able to get a huge amount of information in a short period of time.'
Advertising: 'We advertise our site on the Internet. But we also use traditional advertising. We've used newspapers and radio to drive traffic to the Web page.'
Used-vehicle sales: 'The problem with buying a used car over the Internet is you really can't see that car. You pull up a picture over the Internet, and the resolution isn't good enough for you to really inspect it thoroughly in a 360-degree view. But that's probably only about two years away.'