The WardsAuto e-Dealer 100 represents a variety of dealers, from single points to multi-state groups.

For instance, 42 of Berkshire Hathaway Automotive’s 81 stores (the former Van Tuyl Group) are on this year’s list, ranging from No.10 to No.98.

Also on the list – yet again – is No.3 Dave Smith Motors. It is located in Kellogg, ID, but dealer principal Ken Smith has built an operation that uses the Internet to sell cars nationwide.

Other regulars on the e-dealer list are the Chapman and Cardinale dealership groups, No.1 and No.2, respectively, this year.

WardsAuto e-Dealer 100 sales totaled 287,170 last year. That’s comprised of 173,563 new and 113,607 used units.

While tallies are a fraction of the 17.4 million new and nearly 15 million used vehicles dealers sold last year, they are more than three times the sales attributed to the Internet that was reported on the first WardsAuto eDealer 100 in 2001.

For the purposes of this ranking, an Internet sale is considered as one in which customer contact is initiated online and a dedicated Internet salesperson or department completes the transaction.

“The e-commerce landscape for dealers has definitely evolved,” says Sean V. Bradley, president of Dealer Synergy, a training and consulting company. His presentation at the 2016 National Automobile Dealers Assn. convention was entitled “The New Internet Dealership.”

“The Internet and phones are the new showroom,” he says, calling that change “dramatic and profound.”

Google says 80% of all transactions, not just automotive, start with a search. “People search for their husbands, wives, pets and medications online,” Bradley says. And certainly cars.

Many dealerships have embraced the modern ways many of today’s customers want to shop, and there’s plenty of best-practice advice. For example, a dealership can move to a “responsive” website design that permits easier navigation on multiple devices.

Another proposed strategy is to set up a business-development center that integrates all the information that comes into the store through digital channels.

But buying a car remains a very individualized activity that thrives on personal relationships.

Though there is no shortage of valuable e-commerce tools and creativity in dealers’ Internet departments, car buying as an Amazon-like experience has not yet arrived. That’s largely because it appears as if dealership customers don’t necessarily want to go all in digitally.