A new feature on AutoTrader.com allows consumers to personalize online vehicle searches. Those searches offer dealers a potential marketing tool.
The feature, itself a Web site called MyAutoTrader.com, enables consumers to save vehicle searches for future use. It also alerts them when the vehicles they identify are no longer available.
"Users want to know when certain specials are running," says Gladys Kabiru, AutoTrader.com's consumer product manager. "They can come into this space and set up an alert to say, 'Notify me when dealers in my area are running specials for this type of car.' And bam, it's in front of them."
The site asks users to create a profile that includes their name, age, sex and ZIP code, as well as the year, make and model of the vehicles they own.
Kabiru says users who register with MyAutoTrader have the option of providing personal information. AutoTrader will not share individual details with dealers or anyone else, she says.
But aggregate data can tell dealers which vehicles generate the most searches in their markets. Dealers also can send marketing messages to consumers who express an interest in getting them.
Kabiru says information from MyAutoTrader can help dealers "understand who are these people coming to AutoTrader.com, what cars are they looking for, what are they able to find and what is not readily available."
She says it's too soon to tell how many consumers are providing personal data on the site. AutoTrader.com is not yet giving information from the site to dealers, she adds.
MyAutoTrader went online in late May. By mid-July, about 165,000 users had registered at the site, Kabiru says. About one-fifth signed up to receive marketing messages from AutoTrader.com.
AutoTrader.com compiles 3 million vehicle listings from 40,000 dealerships and 250,000 private owners.
You may e-mail Arlena Sawyers at [email protected]