Going Mobile in Your Dealership
One of the new keys to the success of your business is your smart phone. With it, you can operate your dealership on the go—making fast, informed decisions that will ultimately improve your bottom line.
More than 440,000 mobile sites and over 500,000 mobile apps exist today, including a growing number of auto-industry related apps. It may seem daunting to integrate this emerging technology into your business, but these tools are a must-have for both acquisition and retail.
What are ‘mobile apps’ and how do they help dealers?
An app is a software application that helps people accomplish tasks faster. Among other things, an app can use the hard drive of the mobile device to store data for faster recall and operation, perform calculations, and access hardware features, such as camera and GPS, all without an internet connection.
At its core, the internet revolution was about technology harnessing the power of information to generate efficiencies. This is exactly the opportunity mobile apps offer to dealerships today—providing information on the go and tying it all together to take action.
How can mobile apps streamline your business?
Mobile browser-based tools provide dealerships with more on the go visibility, but lack a built-in ability to act in real time on information organically across the dealership. However, just as a mobile app enables on-the-go stock trading, for example, an app such as eCarList’s True Target Mobile allows dealerships to take a massive dataset and a complex, multi-step, vendor and personnel process and make it all work from a single handheld device.
The True Target Mobile app gives dealerships mobile access to pricing data from multiple books, current data from top online marketplaces and the ability to filter, organize, and view the data geographically for territory (including vehicle pricing from competitive dealerships). Other functions include VIN scans, taking/adding/removing photos, integrating Carfax Vehicle History Reports and sharing appraisals and pricing with other mobile devices.
Are there other benefits to going mobile?
On the acquisition side, smart phones provide access to information you need to stock your lot with cars that customers want. It’s no secret that the used car supply is decreasing due to rising demand, so the competition for quality units is getting tighter.
Think about the top concerns your customers have when shopping for a used car: previous damage, maintenance, ownership history, and of course, price. Tools like Carfax Vehicle History Reports are readily available through various mobile devices to verify this important information, allowing you to bid with confidence. Having your mobile device handy helps you tie it all together quickly, and allows you to successfully acquire the right cars for your lot.
Today’s mobile devices provide access to information that brings transparency and process efficiency to dealers. The possibilities mobile technology is opening up for our industry are truly extraordinary and, in the current economic climate, leveraging new and user-friendly technology is key to moving more cars and saving money in the process.
Len Critcher is CEO of eCarList, provider of award-winning inventory management and online marketing solutions that make it easy for dealerships to fully own and control the vehicle merchandising process through one unified platform.
Lance Vickery is director of dealer business at Carfax and has spent more than 25 years in the auto industry.