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According to comScore, Inc., 63.2 million people accessed news and information on their mobile devices in January 2009, and 22.4 million (35%) did so daily, more than double the size of the audience last year.
In a statement earlier this year, Mark Donovan, senior vice president, mobile, comScore, said “[The] use of mobile Internet has evolved from an occasional activity to being a daily part of people's lives. This underscores the growing importance of the mobile medium to access time-sensitive and utilitarian information."
According to the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS), nearly 15% of all U.S. households were wireless-only in 2007. In addition, wireless-only adults made up 13.7% of the population. The NCHS is still calculating data for 2008, but, wireless-only households were up to 17.5% of the total in the first half of the year, and adults using only mobiles crept up to 16.1% during the same time period.
How Mobile Works
When a consumer arrives at a dealer’s website, the system detects which browser and operating system the consumer is using. When a supported mobile device is detected, a mobile optimized version of the website is presented (Cobalt Mobile uses the same URL, no redirect to another URL is needed). It is important to recognize that a consumer will use a dealer’s mobile site for very low funnel activities, such as maps and directions, inventory search, vehicle details and to place a call to a dealer. The mobile shopper tends to be ready to engage with the dealer, therefore it is key for a mobile optimized website, like Cobalt Mobile, be task focused – allowing consumers to quickly access the dealer’s entire inventory, get vehicle details and photos, get hours and location, receive turn-by-turn directions to the dealership, or place a call with a single click. The buttons and presentation should be optimized for the smaller screens and consumers’ fingers – with no forms, no dialing, just a highly interactive, one touch interface to help eliminate frustration for the consumer and reduce delays in getting them the information they need.
Why Cobalt Focused on Mobile
More and more consumers are viewing mobile Internet access as a necessity rather than a luxury and it is becoming more important to extend the online consumer automotive shopping experience to mobile devices. In fact, J. D. Power & Associates reports that annual sales of smart phones are predicted to reach 300 million by 2013 – an increase of 95 percent.
Cobalt based our mobile solution on the data and patterns we detected from our 15 years experience, our install base of over 10,000 dealer websites, extensive usability testing and by studying best practices of mobile sites across other industries. We know the behavior of consumers and what tasks they engage in as they get closer in the buying process to actually making a purchase. In developing our mobile solution, we focused on these buying behaviors and key tasks to optimize the consumers experience for the smaller display and interface of mobile devices.
For a dealer, a mobile solution needs to be simple – no additional websites to setup and manage; no additional inventory tools to learn, and no new URLs to market. With the Cobalt solution, without any changes, a dealer’s website gets extended effortlessly to mobile devices – optimized “on the fly” to ensure the consumer experience is consistent and seamless. Consumers view the same photos, inventory and pricing as they would on the dealer’s traditional site, however the information is presented in a format that is optimized for mobile devices. Some of the information is filtered; other information is formatted into bite size chunks that bring the most important pieces of data and calls-to-action to the consumer as quickly as possible. All of the key buying tasks are carried over from the website to the mobile device, including access to the dealer’s new, used and certified inventory; accurate inventory pricing and specials; and dealer hours, location and directions. Using a service like Cobalt Mobile, means all of these tasks can be performed with no typing whatsoever – everything from making the call to the dealer to getting directions is point and click. (Cobalt’s solution works with Google’s mapping application for best of breed mapping capability – no typing in addresses; access to Google features such as directions, traffic, etc. As Google maps gets better, that progress is passed on to the consumer).
During our recent pilot of Cobalt Mobile we found that Cobalt Mobile users are nearly three times more likely to click-through to an Hours and Directions page than Internet shoppers using a standard dealer website.
Picture yourself – it is Saturday afternoon and you are out running errands and have a few extra hours of free time. For the last few weeks you’ve been researching vehicles you like online and you’re pretty close to making your purchase. Last night you found a dealer with several cars you were interested in and you decided to visit the dealer, but you are out without any of the information you wrote down the night before. With mobile access, you pick up your iPhone and view the dealer’s mobile-optimized website, allowing you to continue your research and shopping. The interface is clean and easy to use – buttons are big and spaced to prevent fat fingering; there is absolutely no typing required – all you do is point and click. The content is consistent with what you saw the night before on the dealer website. You quickly search for the type of vehicles you’re interested in and see current inventory with up-to-date pricing. You find a car you’re interested in; you review the specs which are provided in bite-sized pieces. You view some photos and review the details of the special pricing for this vehicle. Now you have enough information and you are ready to contact the dealership – one click and now you’re talking to the sales person to setup a test drive. The experience was seamless from the website, to your mobile device, to contacting the dealership.
To learn more about Cobalt Mobile please call 800-909-8244 or visit www.cobalt.com/mobile.