UPDATED — March 23, 2015: A recent article in the Wall Street Journal about General Motors’ Shop-Click-Drive initiative shows just how far the automotive industry has to go before consumers have the ability to complete the entire car buying transaction online. (Updates are in italics.)
GM created Shop-Click-Drive (www.ShopClickDrive.com) to make it easier for their customers to buy their cars online.
The revealing part in the article, Why GM Hired 8,000 Programmers, are the numbers, which, frankly, are not impressive. You wouldn’t know that from reading the article, though, which failed to put the numbers into context.
(UPDATED: The article also misreported that it apparently took hundreds — if not thousands according to the article — of programmers two years to develop the online platform. Shop-Click-Drive was actually built by Entrega Systems, a small Troy, MI-based firm.)
Over the first year of the Shop-Click-Drive initiative, GM reports that about 1,800 of its 4,300 dealerships participated. Those 1,800 dealers sold 15,000 vehicles to customers that used Shop-Click-Drive at some point in their buying process.
Do the math — 15,000 sales divided by 1,800 dealerships equals 8.3 sales per dealership generated by Shop-Click-Drive last year. GM says in the article that the closing ratios are about 30% for Shop-Click-Drive — 8% higher than the typical third party lead provider.
The initiative as a long way to go, if it survives. Just based on the fact that GM is talking to the Wall Street Journal about it indicates that it plans to continue the program — even with it’s less than stellar numbers, My guess is that GM continues to tweak and add to it.
One of the first things that should be on the agenda is giving customers the ability to save where they are in the process and to integrate it into the offline process as much as possible. (AutoNation is light years ahead in its AutoNation Express initiative). This function likely will be added sometime in the second half of the year.
We could go on about the myriad of items Shop-Click-Drive needs for it to even resemble a true online buying platform. For now, it’s just another lead generator that’s a little more dressed. But GM says more functionality is being added monthly. Also to come this year — an improved logo and more marketing to increase exposure across all of GM’s brands.