Industry News & Trends

Are You Ready for the Mobile Shopper?

In 2013, almost 200 million tablets were sold and smartphone ownership exceeded 58% across the nation.

Consumers are quickly moving to cross-platform browsing, accessing information on their desktops, laptops, tablets and smartphones. As shoppers shift freely between these devices, your dealerships online presence MUST adapt.

Major online vehicle shopping sites are seeing the effects of the change firsthand. Almost 50% of the 30 million visits experienced in February originated on a tablet or smartphone, which of course indicates that car shoppers are comfortable researching and shopping for their next vehicle on mobile devices.

Consumers Embracing Mobile Research

While it can be difficult to determine if customers are using a tablet or a smartphone, the general rule of thumb is that if it is possible to do something on a smartphone, (like shop for a vehicle) people are going to do it.

A recent study by Placed Inc., for, found that 63% of car shoppers are now using smartphones to conduct research and help make buying decisions at dealerships. The study also found that a whopping 25% are using only a smartphone to do research before heading in to a dealership.

Let’s take a moment to let that sink in…

A full quarter of your potential customers may only see your dealership’s website on their smartphone before deciding whether to come in or move on to the next lot. If your dealer website is not properly formatted for a smartphone and you’re not taking advantage of advertising channels that are mobile-optimized, YOU ARE missing out on good chunk of potential customers.

vehicle shopping practices on mobile device

Shopping On The Go

The mobile device used to shop or research vary depending on what a consumer is doing at the time. When they’re out and on the go, a smartphone is the most frequently used device, while the larger tablet is more commonly used at work or home. In most cases it seems as if a tablet is used for more extensive research and comparison shopping.

In the automotive sector, smart phones tend to be used for contact based activities such as texting or calling, but are also used on the lot to check details on a specific model, access reviews or comparison shop prices with other dealerships. Tablets, laptops and PCs, on the other hand, are usually used for more detailed research away from a dealership, often while sitting on the couch and watching TV.

Optimize Your Content

Key takeaways include, having a consistent dealership presence across all digital platforms is key to your success with today’s consumer. As the cost of devices has dropped and high-speed data has become the norm, consumers expect a consistent and quality experience during the entire car shopping experience, regardless of whether they are on their laptop, tablet or smartphone.

With one-third of car shoppers using more than one device while researching their next vehicle purchase, means that presenting your dealerships message and inventory across various platforms can be the difference between a sale and a missed opportunity.

[highlight color=”#F0F0F0″ font=”black”]*Be sure to download the Placed Inc., recent study – it’s full of some great data around mobile device usage at the dealership![/highlight]


Are you taking notice to more and more consumers using a mobile device while at your dealership?

How much of your website traffic is coming from mobile devices?

Do you have a responsive design website?


Founder of DealerRefresh - 20+ Years of dealership Sales, Management, Training, Marketing and Leadership.