Dealers’ sites getting smarter with GM money image

General Motors is signing a $5 million bill in order to have its 4,324 dealers test adaptive Web site software that automatically adjusts photos and content based on a visitor’s online search history.

This type of tracking technology is not really new, as retailers like Amazon have been successfully using it for years and is designed to present a customized experience to their Web site visitors based on what they’ve been clicking on and searching for online.

Still, for the auto industry this system is relatively new to automotive retailing, according to Ed Vogt, GM’s general director of retail sales support. Developed by Web site and digital marketing vendor Cobalt, the new software has been offered for free by GM to all its dealers for a 60-day trial, Vogt said. GM is paying Cobalt $699 per dealership monthly for the premium package so dealers can see whether the sites improve the Web experience of shoppers and coax more of them to get in touch with the dealership.

After select GM dealerships used the technology as early as February, in the past few weeks it has been rolled out more widely. Vogt said it is too early to determine whether the sites are generating leads — that is, influencing more customers to ask to be contacted by dealers.