Mike Boguth of Hamilton Chevrolet in Warren, MI, knew what he wanted:
A system that could give Internet shoppers dealership inventory information in real-time.
Boguth, Hamilton's vice president and general manager, figured dealership websites should feature such fast and accurate data to accommodate the growing ranks of Internet car shoppers.
But that's not always the case, especially with corporate-sponsored search engines.
“GM BuyPower's database is updated regularly, but is usually falls a few days behind schedule,” says Boguth. “We wanted something that would allow both salespeople and customers to get an accurate picture of the vehicles available on our lot, as well as preview any inbound inventory.”
That would mean web-enabling the dealership's database system. Boguth contacted a couple of information technology companies before he found one willing to develop the custom application he wanted. That was Enterprise Expectation Systems (EES), an Internet service provider and web development firm in Rochester, MI.
After months of consultation to develop a prototype, EES provided the real-time solution Boguth sought.
Called CARGO, the proprietary system updates inventory hourly. It allows Hamilton to display inventory, both stock and inbound, with full descriptions and color photos.
EES founder Harry Lee says, “Data is uploaded to the site as often as is specified by the dealer.”
In five minutes, inventory can be updated in the Excel dealership spreadsheet and uploaded to the site.
Shoppers can view all the inventory on the lot or search for a specific model, make and trim level. Salespeople can too, as well as check inbound stock.
“As a showroom tool, CARGO reduces much of the time associated with locating vehicles,” says Boguth, who pays $600 a month for the service. “Instead, salespeople can quickly locate vehicles by VIN number, make and model, price range, optional equipment, engine configuration, and even by color.”
The dealership's award-winning website, www.hamiltonchevrolet.com, features a searchable database, Internet sales and service specials, service scheduling and broadcast e-mail capabilities.
Meanwhile, Chrome Systems Corp. rolls out a new version of Chrome Inventory Everywhere, an inventory editing and posting tool that lets dealers and their website designers enhance and publish inventories online, and update as often as they like.
The latest version introduces several key enhancements most notably, faster import time, easier set-up, and automated updates.
It allows posting updated inventory data in real-time and keeping vehicle prices and information consistent across published sources.
“When consumers see something they want online, they expect it to be there when they visit the dealership,” says Chrome President David Mingle.
Steve Kremer of Blossom Chevrolet in Indianapolis, says the new system is more efficient, “making the whole process a lot easier for us.”