If you still need convincing that e-commerce is a brilliant
opportunity to rip out the cost of sales, reposition a brand, or
generate new revenue, this site is worth a visit. With 1.5 million
transactions under its belt, autobytel.com offers a serious challenge to
traditional car retailers.
With my fancy new G3 Power Mac, I was looking forward to zipping through
the site, hardly blinking as screens refreshed at the touch of a
Sadly this was not to be. Buying a new car can be a seven-year wait, so
a few extra seconds shouldn’t hurt.
I sank easily into the driver’s seat, enjoying the reliable
Although, my cyberide hardly induced the ’Jeremy Clarkson’ effect, I
felt the strategists behind the venture had done their homework and
understood the psychology of their market.
My expectations of this site were coloured by years working for US ad
agencies, where the hard sell was all. Allowing customers to
self-complete was seen as creative indulgence, and evidence of a suspect
view that the audience had a brain.
Happily, Autobytel has bypassed this approach.
With point-and-click access to information about car makes and models,
price and finance options, browsers are allowed to guide themselves
through the selection process. To buy, all I have to do is submit the
purchase information and wait for a dealer to contact me.
Does the branding work? With 100,000 purchase requests every month,
Autobytel has certainly created awareness for their proposition.
However, the interface design leans heavily on the functional sell and
seems to miss out on a more stimulating use of creative technology.
Would I buy from this site? Certainly. If only to browse at my leisure
rather than be given a full-frontal attack from showroom staff.
Where to find it: www.autobytel.com