Could a dealership app work?

Kyle Rosengren
With apps being the new hot mobile technology lately I wanted to ask whether or not a dealership app could work in the same or similar way that apps work for other retail industries such as clothing, sporting goods, and many more? I also wanted to know which type of app (if any) would work best for the auto industry? Since more and more companies are adapting the use of apps to their marketing mix, is it reasonable to say that the auto industry should also follow suit with this trend? Or is it an unfeasible option for dealerships?
Robert Morton
Kyle, I work with Potratz Automotive Marketing and we've considered app development for Automotive Dealers for quite some time. Considering the entire team has an iPhone we thought and thought about how the average car buyer would interact with the app. People don't buy cars on any regular short-term basis, so an app showcasing vehicle doesn't really have a function in the consumer's daily life. Why would they go out and download an app? How would the app be promoted? Personally, I think that apps work best to keep consumer connected with the "backend" of a dealership - they could be used to keep customers up-to-date on service specials and help them stay on top of their maintenance and service appointments. Robert Morton
Kyle Rosengren
Robert, Thank you for the insight. You bring up one of the points that we have been struggling with over here since the idea began. We have come up with a new platform and have been trying to think of a way to implement it into dealerships. We were seeing it as more of a sales tool and I suppose it could also be seen as a branding strategy for the dealership. We are not suggesting that this replace anything besides possibly some of the hard brochures that are handed out at a dealerships, but are seeing it as more of an app that the sales team could use as a less invasive way of letting a consumer see the vehicles and gain information. Let's face it, although the typical dealership salesperson is very helpful and strives to get you the result you are looking for, like any industry there is going to be a bad apple that will give a consumer the wrong impression and unfortunately automotive dealers are one of those victims. So if we can lessen the pressure on the consumer and at the same time give a salesperson one more tool to use in their daily grind we feel that as long as it is at a low cost, why wouldn't it be worth it to try. Basically one car sold would pay for the app. I would agree that the "backend" connection would create the most value, however these are the apps that cost several thousand dollars and have a several months turnaround. This is why we have steered away from this type of product since there are plenty of developers creating this exact product as we speak, and instead have come up with a quick, simple, and money saving solution for dealerships to implement into their sales force. That is just my two cents. This doesn't mean we have all the answers yet since this is a new product we have been playing with and that is the exact reason I asked the initial questions, but with what we have done so far it does seem to have created at least some value for our "trial" applicants.

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