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Jared Hamilton
From: Jared Hamilton
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Ed Brooks

Ed Brooks Automotive Digital Marketer

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Look Outside Automotive

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While arguing with my dear friend Larry Bruce about the benefits of mobile (I'm very much for, he's more skeptical) I came across this AMAZING study from Deloitte. Of course he attacked it because isn’t automotive centered, but I’d argue that we can learn from looking at outside perspectives.

The study in entitled “The New Digital Divide - Retailers, shoppers, and the digital influence factor”. This report looks at how Digital influences in-store buying. In my mind this describes the current state of the retail automotive business to a ‘T’. We may being transformed into something more closely resembling eCommerce, but most dealerships are a long way from it today.

Here are a couple of pull quotes from the study;

“…the speed of the change is far greater than anything analysts predicted just a couple of years ago. The influence of digital devices on the shopping journey, a dynamic Deloitte calls the ‘digital influence factor,’ is not only shaping how customers shop and make decisions in-store. It is setting new digital expectations of retailers in terms of how they help their customers gather pertinent information to make shopping decisions and purchases.”

“Given this acceleration, we are at a tipping point in retail – a point where digital channels should no longer be considered a separate or distinct business. Instead, digital is fundamental to the entire business and the entire shopping experience, in and out of the store.”

“…you should stop viewing your customer and your digital strategies as distinct and separate issues. Today, people and their devices are wired as one. Integrating digital into the customer experience has become a business imperative, and retailers who ignore this fact will likely be trapped in the digital divide – the gap that separates shoppers’ digital needs and expectations from the experiences retailers are actually providing to them.”

Much of the report looks at what consumers are doing and then looks at what retailers are doing and then looks at how to bring the retailers efforts into closer alignment with the customers – Bridging the digital divide.

For instance;

In the area of Customer Experience

We see customers...

Using “screens” (desktop, mobile, tablet) very differently throughout their path to purchase.

We see retailers...

Creating sameness across “screens” by emphasizing functionality such as responsive design and failing to recognize these individual interactions as part of a larger journey toward the path to purchase.

Bridging the digital divide (Recommendation)

Customers want a shopping experience that “connects the dots” along their path to purchase. Viewed as discrete interactions across screens, these interactions are meaningless. Viewed as a holistic customer experience, these interactions become powerful predictors of preference and purchase intent.

In the area of Analysis/ Measurement

We see customers...

Signal a preference and purchase intent as a part of their pre-visit browsing activity

We see retailers...

Over-focus on “after the fact” measurement of online activity, such as channel attribution, conversion, and click-through rates.

Bridging the digital divide (Recommendation)

Customers who are pre-shopping an assortment before buying in-store have little/no intent of converting online. Consequently, their visits appear in most attribution and abandonment reporting as “failed” conversions. This significantly understates both the effectiveness and potential of your digital strategy

Which brings back to my buddy Larry. Larry always disparages the "Conversion Rate" of mobile, while this study is arguing that because the utility, convenience, and the functionality of mobile are important to consumers, they are converting where it really counts today – in-store to a sale! In fact the Deloitte study shows when shoppers combine desktop and mobile research they convert to a sale – in-store – 40% more often!

Larry Bruce
First let me say I am not attacking the study... In fact I agree with ALL of it... BUT the study has NOTHING to do with mobile marketing! It has to do with how customers USE their smartphones in a purchase situation and how retailers need to help them make better choices by allowing them to access rich information using all screens... whatever they want AND I COULDN'T AGREE WITH THAT MORE! HOWEVER.... When it comes to buying clicks, placing display banners the conventional forms of online marketing and mobile for the car business at this time these channels are the last channels in the budget you should be putting money towards. The context of the customer is not in a mode that the dealership can or should engage with the customer when they are truly mobile (Small Screen smartphone device). They are usually: 1. Looking for quick information on the go in which your chances of getting a click or even influencing are low. 2. Showrooming in which if they do click you ad all you are going to do is lower the gross profit for the store they are at. 3. Looking for your dealership number or directions which they will find just as easy organically (Just make sure you have a mobile site so that it is easy to get that info) So to sum up... Using mobile to enhance your customers shopping experience.... WAY GOOD! Using mobile as a online marketing channel... LAST THING YOU SHOULD BE DOING!
Ed Brooks
You and I have very different definitions of "Mobile Marketing" Larry. I use my smartphone almost everyday to help me shop for something. I don't think I've EVER clicked on paid link or display ad on my phone. So if your definition of "Mobile Marketing" is limited to PPC > a landing page > form fill lead, then I agree, that is stupid.
Mark Dubis
I am with Larry on this topic. And while a mobile marketing strategy is important it needs to work and integrate with a broad, focused ad program for the dealers. Too often dealers don't think about their mobile presence on the small screen.
Ed Brooks
Fair enough Mark. A question: do you consider a dealer's mobile website to be a part of their "Mobile Marketing"?
Dennis Galbraith
Great stat about the importance of combined visits Ed! It's not enough for a dealer's website to be responsive, functioning properly on all devices. It also needs to function across devices. The "Send to Mobile" feature on SRPs and VDPs is essential for shoppers who think they've found the right vehicle from a desktop computer but need to have it on their mobile device when meeting up with their significant other. Most cars are not purchased by a single individual, and mobile has changed how they come together around the vehicle and store information online.

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