In the days before websites were responsive, it seemed that having a mobile app was the way to go. The idea that you could offer your current and potential customers everything at their fingertips - current specials, inventory, & service appointments, to name a few. All of which sounds great, yet it seems that once dealers re-designed their websites to be responsive, mobile apps fell to the wayside. So while a dealer should have a responsive - mobile-first - site, it does not mean that we should forget about offering a mobile app! Knowing that there are several benefits to having a mobile app!
Here are the top things to consider when choosing whether or not to have a mobile app.
Responsive vs. Mobile App - What Is the Difference?
A responsive site simply means that the site is mobile friendly. However, just because your site is mobile friendly does not mean that it is easy to read! Not to mention, in many cases, your mobile site does not offer all of your core content. And if you do offer all of your content, not all of your vendor's plug-ins are responsive!
One of the biggest challenges dealers face is offering a seamless mobile experience - believe it or not, there are still dealer sites where you have to pinch and zoom, which does not offer the customer a pleasant experience. So in some ways, you could be missing out by not providing the customer all of the content possible. Whereas, if you had a mobile app, you could easily integrate and offer relevant content.
So What Is the Purpose of A Mobile App? And How Can It Help Maintain the Eco-System
While I am not always fond of using other industry examples that do not always apply to the auto industry, some companies have mobile apps that not just work, but have changed their customer's experience. Think about it - how often do you use a companies website vs. using their mobile app? In most cases, the only time you would use their website is if the mobile app is hard to use or you forgot your password, etc. Not to mention, even if you do not use the mobile app that often chances are that you will not delete the app from your phone.
The most significant benefit, though, that a mobile app has is managing your dealership's Eco-System! The idea that once the customer has the app downloaded (which can be apart of the sales to service hand-off), you are providing the customer with a meaningful, relevant way to manage their vehicle. Not to mention - imagine being able to send them a push notification when it comes time for them to service their vehicle! Where you could easily embed videos into the custom landing page that offers the benefits of the service you are recommending. The ideas are endless, and the more relevant and engaging your content is, the better chance you have in getting them to convert into that sales or service appointment.
At the end of the day, people want something simple and easy to use, which a mobile app can offer - think about it, how many times have you been on a dealer site - trying to book a service appointment and you have to pinch and zoom to answer the multiple questions, and you give up in frustration and just call the dealership to then only be left on hold? Yeah, it is not a fun experience.
Lastly, Another benefit of a mobile app would be for the dealer to collect data from the user profiles in which case they could offer relevant, targeted marketing. For example, if the customer has their vehicle data in their app profile, you can easily send push notifications that remind them to come in for service!
Bottom Line: There is a big difference between a mobile app and having a responsive site! And by offering your customers a mobile app to manage their vehicle in a meaningful, relevant way it can have a positive impact, making it easier to manage their relationship in one place.
Does your dealership have a mobile app? If so have you seen success with it? Is downloading the mobile app a part of the sales to service hand-off?