Dealerships are seeing a surge of traffic on their Web sites and a greater willingness by shoppers to leave their crucial contact information, said data consultant Dataium.
The brightening auto-selling climate combined with dealership Web-site improvements are prompting more Internet leads than a year ago, said Will Perry, Dataium director of business intelligence.
Leads per 100 unique visitors jumped 25 percent in May to 2.07 from 1.65 in May 2012, Perry said.
Moreover, visitors are more serious about shopping. Two of every three visitors to dealership Web sites are opening an inventory page or looking at specific vehicles vs. 59 percent a year ago when visitors used Web sites more frequently for other purposes, Perry said. Those include seeking service or finding how to contact the dealership, he said.
Dataium is able to see user traffic on about 13,000 dealership Web sites. The Nashville company is able to aggregate data from about 12 million visitors a month to the sites.
Dealerships have removed many barriers on their sites preventing shoppers from leaving contact information, Perry said.
For example, many dealerships have scaled back the amount of contact information asked of a shopper to just the critical elements: name, phone and e-mail address, Perry said. Many shoppers find forms asking for best time to be contacted and other data as intrusive or too time-consuming, he said.
"Web site providers are making it easier for consumers to submit leads," Perry said.
Internet shoppers also are starting to get past security concerns that may have made them hesitant to leave contact information, he said.
Eighteen months ago there was much publicity about companies sending Internet ads to people who had not left contact information. Marketers used cookies, or tracking files stored on shoppers' computers, to send the ads.
Those concerns have subsided, Perry said, but the impact of growing data-collection incidents involving the Internal Revenue Service and National Security Agency bear watching.
Dataium has found that about 15 percent of the Internet leads coming into dealerships result in vehicle sales.