Each day consumers spend a little more than 3 hours on their smartphones – and that’s not even making calls. The innovation of mobile technology has forever changed the course of history, and generations moving forward won’t even know what life is like without a mobile device such as a cellphone or tablet. Mobile tech’s influence on the economy and nearly every industry is vast, and automotive retail is no exception.
Here are three ways automotive mobile technology has changed car sales- and how dealerships can get ahead of the next mobile tech trends.
According to Frost & Sullivan’s “Executive Outlook on the Future of Automotive Retail”, 20-30% of the space in dealerships will be allocated to technology in the next few years. High end, luxury brands like Audi and Mercedes Benz are leading the marketplace as they finalize plans for interactive vehicle show rooms complete with virtual reality headsets for shoppers to experience the vehicles based on their personal settings. While your local car lot may not be rolling out the VR headsets just yet, if they’re looking to stay up to speed in a competitive marketplace there should be at least a few tech upgrades in the near future.
Tablets for sales use is a popular method of improving dealership experience and sales associate efficiency. Instead of walking customers from vehicle to vehicle across the lost, salespeople can quickly scroll through available inventory with the customer as they work through the sales process. They also aid in harnessing valuable customer information for follow up contact regardless if the shopper makes a purchase.
Dealerships looking to implement mobile tech for their sales team need to take steps to ensure an easy transition. Make sure wireless networks are equipped with enough bandwidth to support multiple devices, as the tech is only as good as its ability to be used. Research different model options to decide what is the best, and most cost effective, device for your business’ needs. One benefit to mobile tech is that it will reduce the need for desktop devices, which can provide a cost-savings in the long run.
In the US alone there are 207 million smart phone users and 156 million tablet users. This means a LOT of data being generated in a variety of high value categories for automotive marketers. The ability to deploy targeted campaigns at the very moments that shoppers are most apt to engage is an unprecedented opportunity that cellphones and tablets have brought to the industry.
According to recent research by Cars.com, car shoppers using a phone or tablet on the lot are 73% more likely to go to a different dealership while car shopping compared to those shoppers who aren’t using a mobile device.Comparison shopping is a staple of the modern auto consumer’s purchase journey, and now thanks to geo-location mobile targeting auto marketers can even deploy perfectly tailored messaging to consumers while they’re on the lot, taking Right Time Marketing to an entirely new level. Not only can the messages be sent based on a consumer’s proximity to certain dealerships, or the fact that they are currently at a dealer or competitor’s lot, the campaigns can be hyper segmented based on actual consumer demographic and behavioral profiles.
According to Nielsen, 63% of consumers expect in-car connectivity so that their mobile use is never interrupted, even while in their vehicle. This trend mirrors customer expectations for seamless brand experiences via all channels. Dealerships who provide access to helpful mobile apps and optimize websites and service portals will see tremendous gains in customer loyalty and retention, especially in their service centers.
Mobile integrations can be as complex as designing mobile applications through which customers can schedule vehicle maintenance or check on a current repair status or as simple as implementing an automatic texting platform that reminds customers when they’re due for routine maintenance or special offers. The level of integration may vary, but in order to stay relevant it’s imperative that dealers start now.
Download our Automotive & Dealership Marketing Strategy Guide to learn how to use data, technology, and analytics to target and acquire today’s multi-channel car consumer.