As a progressive dealer, ask yourself what your biggest accomplishments have been over the past few years. What is your competitive advantage compared to other dealerships? Next, ask yourself how mobile technology plays a role in facilitating what you do well, and how you can leverage those advantages even further. In this article, five dealership principals and managers share top strategies on how their dealerships use mobile technology to foster what they do well, and how they leverage those competitive advantages to sell and service more cars.
Whether they’re a customer or potential buyer, today’s consumers rely on and interact with their smartphones much more devotedly and frequently than they do with any other tools. As Kelsey Bilyk, marketing director at Lacombe Ford, puts it, “Mobile app customers are much more interactive through their smartphones. They want to be connected to our dealership; they prefer the convenience of scheduling a service from our mobile app; they appreciate the peace of mind that they get with one-touch call roadside assistance; [and] they are keen to receive updates on our mobile offers, community events, and special promotions.” She adds, “This unique connection and usage is essential to growing our business and keeping our customers loyal to us.”
For modern, forward-thinking dealerships, courtesy, friendliness, and professionalism are a few of the qualities that define exceptional value. Extending this value into the digital realm delivers incremental value to customers and keeps them coming back. Richard Davies, vice president of Midland Honda, says, “We use mobile technology to help serve our customers better. We’re delivering engaging experiences by enabling our customers to directly schedule a service from their smartphone, as well as improving our customers’ ownership experience by giving them access to their service history.”
“Our customers are assured that servicing their vehicle regularly and retaining the all-important service history records from their smartphone could add value when the time comes to sell, and give buyers confidence a car has been well cared for.”
Dealerships can use mobile analytics to measure performance and make decisions that will help maximize auto and service sales. This gives them a competitive advantage and delivers highly personalized experiences to maximize the potential of every opportunity. Michael Mills, general manager at Champion Chevrolet Buick Cadillac GMC, says, “Our mobile analytics gives us insight into who is downloading our app, how often they use it, how many mobile offers and rewards are being redeemed, how many referrals are being shared, [and] which prospects are visiting our competitors, just to name a few.” Mills adds, “What’s more, we’re more effective in targeting prospects during their buying cycle. For example, we can search for customers that are in the market for a new vehicle and proactively invite them to RSVP to a special event. This level of personalization helps us sell more cars and improve loyalty to our dealership.”
Referrals not only reduce the cost of customer acquisition but also have a higher close ratio — especially when referred by a trusted family member or friend. Rick Funk, principal of Funk’s Toyota, says, “Digital word-of-mouth has been one of our strongest marketing tools for selling cars.
Through our mobile app, customers are able to share a referral promotion through any digital channel, including social networks such as Facebook; peer-to-peer platforms such as Skype, Facebook Messenger, and WhatsApp; as well as traditional communication channels such as texting and email.” Funk concludes, “These channels are a great way to generate qualified sales leads.”
Geofencing enables dealers to set up a virtual perimeter around their dealership location, as well as competitors’ lots. When customers and potential buyers pass through the perimeter, they trigger a timely and personalized message alert to their smartphone, enticing them with an effective call-to-action to visit the dealership. Andrew Auger, marketing manager at North Bay Toyota, says, “We use geofencing in a variety of ways to increase our visibility. We geofence our competitive dealerships and send timely and personalized incentives to active buyers who are currently shopping on their lots.”
He continues, “We also geofence our own dealership to improve service retention with existing customers as they drive by. Sending the right message at the right time helps us to convert more potential buyers to customers and keep them loyal to our dealership.” T
ony della Busa is the CEO of Mobile Einstein, a leading provider of mobile customer VIP and geofencing solutions for auto groups. Mobile Einstein gives dealerships the power to increase shoppers on lot, convert more buyers to customers, increase monthly service appointments, and improve service retention. www.mobileinstein.com
Join our newsletter and get news in your inbox every week! We hate spam too, so no worries about this.