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Mo’ Mobile, Mo’ Problems?

Consumers are increasingly relying on mobile devices to research products and make decisions about where to spend their money. As many as 31% of Internet searches are taking place on mobile or tablet devices as of June 2014 – up from 19% in June of 2013. Are dealers equipped to keep up with the growing mobile search trend?

In-market auto shoppers use their phones all the way through the sales funnel, from the early research stages, up to and including walking into a dealership and speaking with a salesperson. For auto dealers, the increased visibility and accessibility can be a game-changer – if they are prepared.

Here are some tips to help:

1. Have a mobile-friendly site
According to eMarketer, “almost 70% of consumers in a recent study were interested in using mobile devices to investigate vehicles.” Mobile devices play a huge role in how consumers research their future vehicle. If a dealership’s site is ugly, or worse, doesn’t even function properly on a mobile device, the user will likely abandon ship for a site that meets their needs and thus omit the offending dealership from their research efforts.

2. Highlight offers and price information
Some in-market auto shoppers are using their mobile phones while standing at the physical dealership. This strategy, aptly named “showrooming,” involves reading reviews, seeking advice on deals and price-checking other nearby dealerships. Many consumers consider deals and offers to be the most valuable information to get after clicking on a mobile ad. Make it easy for your customers to find you and all that you have to offer. Coupling clean, concise offer-based ads with functional, intuitive, and attractive webpages can make or break a deal with a fickle customer.

3. Arm your salespeople with technologies and tactics that work with the tech savvy consumer
Instead of battling the onset of the Smartphone age and the wide world of “showrooming” by turning off Wi-Fi or adopting a “no cell phones allowed” atmosphere, arm your salespeople with tablets and load them up with apps designed for dealers.

While there are plenty of apps available to aid your sales team (some OEMs have apps of their own with a multitude of features), I recommend keeping the dealership CRM tool and the dealership website close by and easily accessible. Being able to hand the customer a tablet will likely force them to put their own away and to focus on the information you are laying in front of them instead of a competitor’s ad or a negative review. This simple switch in devices would put the ball back in the dealership’s court.

For dealers who want a piece of the mobile pie: be proactive. People aren’t going to put down their Smartphone or tablet, so if you can’t beat ‘em, you might as well beat the competition.

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