The dealership, which sold 1,718 new and used vehicles last year, has been working to fine-tune its messaging around the experience.
It initially branded the tool on its website as a virtual showroom but has since tweaked that approach to encourage more usage. It’s now listed in the new-vehicles menu as a “build and price” tool to attract customers thinking about buying a vehicle, while the service and parts menu calls it “accessorize your ride,” which is a message meant for people who already have bought a vehicle.
Vehicle configurators are common on manufacturer websites.
The traditional approach sees shoppers build and price a vehicle on the automaker’s site, where they can explore trims and options for a particular nameplate and then get referred to dealers in their areas.
But Thomas sees value in having a configurator that aids research and keeps consumers on the dealership’s website for longer periods.
“We all know that the more time a customer spends on our site, the better chance we have of selling them a car,” Thomas said. “I don’t think we’re necessarily trying to compete with the manufacturer, but when the customer does make it to our site, they don’t have to leave our site to be able to visualize something that we may not have in stock.”