Do you ever stop to think about what your customers are doing while they’re waiting in line at the grocery store or plopped down in a doctor’s lobby? Odds are most are staring at glowing screens as they fling birds at grinning pigs, snapping a picture of a check to directly deposit through a bank app, or tagging themselves in a social media post. Given that customers are spending much of their free time submerged in the mobile-app world of their smartphones, isn’t it time your dealership was there, too? Mobile applications present an ever-evolving platform for consumer engagement, no matter the market.
Our latest research shows that not only are consumers using dealership mobile apps to shop for their next car and make up their minds about potential purchases, but consumers who use mobile apps are far more likely to take the next step and buy a vehicle—and spend more money on it than non app-users.
The study included over 366,000 consumer records between April 1, 2013 and March 31, 2014. It spanned 111 dealerships, representing multiple brands, store sizes, and regions, all of whom offer Driver Connect, DMEautomotive’s dealership-branded mobile app, to their customers.
The numbers are eye opening.
Customers who used a dealership’s mobile app were 73% more likely to purchase a vehicle from that dealer and would spend seven percent more on purchases than those who didn’t use a dealer’s app. Think about that for a moment. If your ad agency told you that billboards were driving 73% more purchases than any other marketing, what would you do? Probably buy more billboard ads. And what if they told you that 15% of the vehicles purchased were by consumers who had just seen your billboards, but had no prior history with the dealership? And so it is with dealership mobile apps.
No one can walk around with a billboard in their pocket, they have to drive by it. Walking around with an app in their pocket, however, that’s literally the case and it does much, much more. Consumers are walking around with your entire store’s inventory in their purses and pockets, able, at a swipe of the thumb, to schedule a service visit, receive “Vehicle Ready/Vehicle in Service” notifications, or make a car purchase. Your name, your dealership, your inventory at the ready and right in their pockets. Not only that, but your dealership app can send push notifications and geofence (a mobile app feature that recognizes a pre-determined set of geographical boundaries and then takes action when the customer enters those boundaries) around your and competitors’ stores. Plus, because these apps track the lifecycle of the vehicles, your dealership can offer more personalized care and maintenance information, including messages and notifications directly to their smartphone. This constant connection enables you, as dealers, to know the perfect time to push a message for trades, buybacks and special offers.
And that contact could not be more important because, today’s shopper is avoiding the dealership, and even the very effective test drive. Instead, shoppers prefer to hang back and stealthily comparison-shop on their own.
In this ‘dealership avoidance’ buying climate, mobile apps are rising up to put your dealership (and a new set of keys) in consumers’ hands.
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].