Portland, OR October 1, 2008 — ProfitRunners, providers of leading dealership technology solutions, today introduced WideStorm™, a division of ProfitRunners and a revolutionary platform that enables auto dealers and website visitors to negotiate a vehicle deal solely online. The system can be used in conjunction with any existing website and DMS. WideStorm™ goes well beyond standard enegotiation systems by enabling dealers and consumers to work together and negotiate the entire purchase online, including vehicle selection, add-on features, trade-in value and financing.
“We want to give forward-thinking dealers a competitive selling advantage by empowering their customers to negotiate the deal from home,” said Jock Schowalter, CEO of ProfitRunners and DealerPeak. “We believe this approach will attract and engage the most advantageous group of prospects, serious car buyers well down the sales funnel, and deliver them to dealerships like no other tool currently on the market.”
WideStorm™ is a screen-driven, step-by-step process that walks the car shopper through a purchase as if he or she is sitting across the desk from a dealer. Customers have the option of self-evaluating their trade-in and may apply for financing directly online. When ready, the customer submits the requested contact information and deal terms to the dealer.
It is at this point in the negotiation where most online efforts end. With WideStorm™, the negotiation is just beginning. The customer’s request appears on the dealer’s computer in the Dealer Control Panel. The dealer uses the tools in the Dealer Control Panel to structure the most lucrative deal and emails a “presentation” to the customer that gives the customer a series of payment options to consider. Each customer has a secure, personalized microsite for viewing their personalized terms and for storing details of their negotiation. The process repeats itself until a deal is reached or is taken offline.
ProfitRunners, parent company to Dealerpeak, developed WideStorm™ in response to a growing demand by early adopter car shoppers for more Web-based transaction capability. The platform is based on CRM, desking and website technology that has been serving hundreds of dealers for over 8 years. The company is currently accepting forward-thinking dealerships to participate in a beta test of the technology. According to a recent report by J.D. Power and Associates, two-thirds of new vehicle buyers and three out of five used-vehicle buyers used the Internet at some point during their purchases. A survey by AutoNation reported similar results with two out of three consumers finding a “start-to finish” Internet car sale process appealing.
“We envision WideStorm being used by only the most progressive dealerships. The target customer for our solution is the early-adopter car shopper who has already done the research online, has completed a test drive and knows the price they’re willing to pay. All they want at this point in the game is a fairly negotiated price and the vehicle is sold,” said Schowalter.
“The beauty of Widestorm is it delivers on its promise – to bring serious car buyers into the showroom, ready to purchase. Even if the buyer arrives at the dealership and decides at the last minute to select a different vehicle, the dealer has a chance to up-sell and keep the deal under their roof. Ultimately, it’s a better experience for both buyers and sellers,” said Schowalter.
Along with Widestorm, ProfitRunners is the parent company to DealerPeak, headquartered in Portland, Oregon, and has created trend-setting customer relationship management and website solutions since 2000. Since its launch, the company has attracted hundreds of loyal dealer clients, including major auto groups such as Ron Tonkin Auto and Dick Hannah Auto Group dealerships.