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Motorola introduced the first commercially available cell phone in 1983. The next year there were 12,000 cell phone subscribers. Today, 5.1 billion people around the world own a cell phone. According to an AutoTrader/Northwood University study, 17% of all dealership customers originate as telephone leads.
In 1997, Microsoft released Outlook and email is introduced as a new way for computer users to connect. Today, there are 1.9 billion email users worldwide and approximately 294 billion email messages are sent per day. According to that same AutoTrader/Northwood University study, 14% of dealership customers originate as email leads.
1997 was also the year that AOL popularized instant messaging, allowing users to conduct real-time conversations over the Internet. But in 2005, Contact At Once! adapted instant messaging technology and applied it to serve the unique needs of the automotive industry. Currently, the largest automotive classified search providers (including Cars.com, AutoTrader.com and Edmunds.com) offer instant messaging - or live chat – on their websites. Also noteworthy, approximately 20% of all dealers in the U.S. have added live chat to their dealership websites in order to increase sales interactions with online shoppers according to dealerchatmarketshare.com.
Apple introduced the first iPhone and smartphone use exploded along with the popularity of text messaging. In 2008, Neilsen reports that for the first time, text messaging surpassed phone calls as the primary means of communication. Today, smartphones account for nearly half of all cell phones in the U.S. and Pew research indicates that on average, cell phone users send 41.5 text messages per day as opposed to 12.3 voice calls.
Contact At Once! will soon release Mobile Text Connect, a new and an innovative way for mobile shoppers to connect with dealerships via text messaging. The product is currently in its final phase of development and was recently unveiled at the 12th Digital Dealer Conference in Orlando, Florida. Using Mobile Text Connect, shoppers can initiate text conversations with dealerships via mobile devices either by scanning a QR code the dealership has placed on advertising, by entering a designated phone number, or by clicking an interactive button found on the dealership’s mobile website.
Although Mobile Text Connect has not yet officially been made available to Contact At Once! customers (it will be offered as a standard feature in Deluxe and Premium packages starting in May), dealers can try it now by scanning the QR Code above, by texting 972-675-7271, or by visiting autodealerchat.com from a mobile device and clicking on the ‘Ask A Question’ button.