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Virtual assistants can sell a car 80% better than a website

We create branded digital assistants that automate live chat with consistent, accurate and data-powered conversations. We have exchanged more than 11 million messages with car shoppers and owners. The following analysis shows how driving users to high-value shopping tools with greater success turns into sales. Capturing conversations in a systematic way also delivers incredibly insightful “Voice of the Customer” analytics.

We start with the industry website KPI usage and value of each as baseline data - calculated by JD Power

JD power linked online consumer activity with actual offline automotive sales data collected by the Power Information Network® (PIN).

The results

  • 4% of shoppers who configure a vehicle turn into a brand sale
  • 7% of shoppers who request a quote turn into a brand sale
  • 10% of shoppers who download a brochure turn into a brand sale
  • 3.4% of shoppers who find a dealer turn into a brand sale
  • 3.4% of shoppers who estimate payments turn into a brand sale
  • 6% of shoppers who search for inventory turn into a brand sale

Assuming average profit margins on a new vehicle: $3,000
(Profit margins range from a few hundred dollars for bargain-priced sedans, to nearly $10,000 on some Pickup models. We use $3,000 as our value in this ROI calculation).

As an example, that means that to equal 1 sale you need 10 Brochure KPIs or 14 Quote KPIs or 25 BYO KPIs an so on. 

We tracked six specific high-value shopping actions and detailed how users converted to them, scaled against J.D. Power’s O2O1 report to determine their dollar value.

Based on the above, every incremental KPI would generate²:

  • $125 per Build Your Own
  • $214 per Request A Quote
  • $300 per Brochure Download
  • $185 per Search Inventory
  • $105 per Find A Dealer
  • $105 per Estimate Payments

JD Power rate of KPI usage on websites:

Of the 6 selected KPIs, historical web usage data1 suggests the following numbers to be performed by 1,000,000 users each month:

  • Build Your Own @ 15.5% = 155,000
  • Request A Quote @ 3.0% = 30,000
  • Download Brochure @ 1.1% = 11,000
  • Search Inventory @ 9.0% = 90,000
  • Estimate Payments / Find A Dealer @ 4.5% = 45,000 (each)

CarLabs’ clients experience an 80% lift in these 6 KPIs over traditional website navigators

(Assuming only 1% of web visitors use the digital assistant as a conservative benchmark.)

            80% lift                                         Lift x value
  • Build Your Own = 1240            ROI = $155,000 (1240 x $125)
  • Request A Quote = 240           ROI = $51,360 (240 x $214)
  • Download Brochure = 88        ROI = $26,400 (88 x $300)
  • Search Inventory = 720           ROI = $133,200 (720 x $185)
  • Estimate Payments = 360       ROI = $37,800 (360 x $105)
  • Find A Dealer = 360                ROI = $37,800 (360 x $105)      

Deduplicating Shoppers Who Perform More Than 1 KPI:1  Of the six KPIs listed above, the ROI numbers would be accurate if every one of the shoppers performing a KPI did only a single KPI.  Intuitively, we know that many, but not all, shoppers who perform KPIs do multiple actions. Using the J.D. Power O2O data2 as a baseline, we’re assuming an average of 2.41 KPIs per user.  

Adding up the total KPIs above gives a total of 3,008. Dividing this number by 2.41 gives us a unique count of 1,248.  Since we can’t predict exactly which KPIs will be performed by multiple-action shoppers, we also average and divide the entire ROI by 2.41.

Given all of these assumptions,** total ROI in year 1 would be $183,219 per month. 

The ROI would increase as the tool improves and we optimize the experience to convert at higher rates.

Benefits Beyond Conversion and Lead Gen.

CarLabs’ current tier 1 automotive clients realize many benefits, including:

  • Improved ROI on digital advertising using CarLabs engagement tools
  • Reduced Facebook monitoring and live chat costs
  • Improved overall customer experience
  • Better customer insights to optimize marketing and customer service.

Carlabs ROI Calculator

Calculate your ROI based on different assumptions**



**  Assumptions:

  • An auto brand’s Tier 1 new car shopping website receives 2,000,000 unique visitors per month (adjust the ROI at the bottom based on how this number differs for your website)
  • Half of the website visitors, an additional 1,000,000, are current Owners, looking for help with service scheduling, parts, payment or finance questions, or help on using features of their vehicle.
  • Conservatively, 1% of shoppers will use the AI agent to assist w/ new vehicle shopping
  • KPIs performed by website visitors who use the AI agent will rise 80%
  • KPI Value: taken from historical website data outlined above1
  • Profit Margin:  An average of $3,000 is utilized in this calculation2
  • KPI usage current rate:  taken from historical website data outlined above1

¹ J.D. Power’s O2O data matched online website ex

Exposure to offline vehicle sales for more than 20 Tier 1 automotive manufacturer sites.  The numbers are historical averages from the 2016-2018 time period, and individual website may vary by one or two standard deviations, in any given month


² Profit margin calculations are derived from J.D. Power’s PIN network, which captures 45% of the daily transactions for new vehicle sales across the U.S.

Automotive Conversational Platform - Best Practices
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Frost & Sullivan's Automotive Conversational Platform - Best Practices Research