It’s 2014, about seven years after the release of the original iPhone, six years after the release of the Android smartphone and four years after “mobile app” was deemed the 2010 Word of the Year by the American Dialect Society. And it’s now, in this brand new year of 2014, that these technologies have become a platform for our everyday lives, some could even say running our lives, without a second thought. What we would we do without access to our bank accounts via the bank’s mobile app, or a built in GPS mapping app that totally banishes the fear of ever getting lost again? What about the Facebook app? We know you can’t live without that!
And now, here in the future of mobile, retail apps are on the rise extending the consumer centric business model into apps, bringing our customers closer than ever before, allowing us to rapidly identify and immediately fill the needs of their daily lives. Imagine a world where all you need to bring with you to the store is your phone, where you’ve got all your research, coupons and money right there on your four- inch screen. Well now, this is now the world in which we live!
It’s through the power of the smartphone and mobile apps that the mobile wallet was born. Mobile wallets are smartphone applications (for example, Apple Passbook or Google Wallet) that virtually hold any financial service, from bank accounts, credit cards, and loans to coupons, store cards, boarding passes, and tickets to the ball game, that can all be scanned with the consumer’s mobile device at the time of purchase or use. It won’t be long before your customer enters the service drive with just their phone in hand and car in tow, asking to pay for their services via their mobile device.
Make the mobile wallet a part of your mobile strategy, integrated through your dealer branded mobile app (you do have an app right?). Work with a vendor that offers these services to avoid wasting time on complicated software development and high cost of installation.
Use the mobile wallet for your coupon offers where customers can simply tap an “Add to Passbook” button and send it straight to their mobile wallet. For this use, it’s important that your mobile wallet couponing system supports Apple and Android devices. You can even build traffic to your store using a “punch card” style frequent buyer program for your mobile wallet, where customers can “Buy 3, Get 1 Free.”
Then take your mobile wallet to the next level, using a geofencing(software that recognizes a pre-determined set of geographical boundaries) mobile marketing strategy to not only send customers alerts and reminders when they are near your store, but also as a defection prevention strategy, bringing them back onto your sales and service drive, sending them specific offers when they enter a “fence.” So let’s say your customer drives up to “The Competition” for an oil change, but you’ve geofenced “The Competition” store location. Your customer will receive a customized message that offers a much better deal at your store right down the street for the same service, and that day only. It’s guerilla marketing for the 21st century!
Mobile channels will continue to evolve whether you jump on board or not. But it’s vital to start experimenting in technologies like the mobile wallet right now in order to provide the modern dealership experience that your customers want and need, securing your business for the future.
Mike Martinez is chief marketing officer of DMEautomotive, the industry leader in science-based, results-driven automotive marketing that provides a range of marketing services to the biggest and most innovative automotive organizations in the industry. For more information, email [email protected].