I recall 15 years ago having conversations with dealers regarding the importance and necessity of deploying a dealer branded website. Today, dealers are now battling that same argument around the deployment of a dealer branded consumer mobile website / application.
Are dealer branded consumer apps a necessity or a nuisance?
Importance of mobile
With over 4.5 billion mobile subscribers in the US alone, dealers would have a hard time finding an argument against the importance of deploying a mobile strategy. As a key touch point that connects consumers to businesses, dealers need to consider that deploying a dealer branded consumer mobile app in their dealership is not only a necessity but also a cost effective way of increasing customer loyalty and ultimately driving repeat business.
Why are consumer apps important?
Nielsen Ratings reports that 44 percent of mobile subscribers in the US use smart phone technology. Of those, 71 percent own either an Android or iPhone device. Moreover, for the first time ever, mobile app usage in the US has surpassed desktop and mobile web consumption. Consumers are spending more time within mobile apps than ever before – nearly 2,555 minutes more per year. This is a clear statement to all dealers to get in the game. Be active. Stay connected to your customers. Be mobile.
Why will consumers use dealer branded apps?
Consumer trends show us that businesses continue to compete for consumer mindshare and ultimately, space on their smart phone. In fact, iPhone users download an average of 40 new apps each year, Android users download 25 and Blackberry users download 14 annually, respectively.
The top downloaded apps across all operating systems include: Facebook, Pandora, the Weather Channel, and Google maps. This is not surprising since consumers are interested in not only downloading but spending time in applications that are user-friendly and help make their life easier.
What dealers should look for when deploying a consumer app?
If mobile is important and consumers are actively using mobile apps, then it is clearly a necessity for each dealer to consider the best way to deploy this technology within their dealership.
Recent industry examples have helped to define what dealers should look for in a consumer mobile app. Ultimately, dealers should select a provider that can offer both convenient and on-demand channels of communication for their customers. Dealers should select a mobile app that includes not only a smart phone vehicle information application, but a two-way communication channel between dealer and consumer.
Today, relevant consumer mobile apps involve making information that used to be stuffed into the glove box available at a consumer’s fingertips. This information includes: general vehicle information, vehicle operations, maintenance and even warranty details. Connecting to real-time smart phone critical functionality, such as Google Maps, camera or QR scanners, help make the application necessary for daily use.
More advanced mobile apps include the ability to calculate loan payments, schedule maintenance appointments and evaluate vehicle trade-in values. For dealers this is a win-win. Imagine the ability to not only maintain real estate on a consumer’s mobile device but also track that usage. This will provide the ability to know if a consumer is shopping for a new vehicle.
Call to action
The time is now to start investigating how consumer mobile app technology fits into your marketing strategy and customer lifecycle management process.
What do you think – are dealer branded consumer apps a necessity or a nuisance?