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From: Jared Hamilton
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Greg Gifford

Greg Gifford Director of Search and Social

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Mobile Shopping is a Reality

(written by AutoRevo CEO Chad Polk)

Invest in mobile and be ready for your shoppers

If you haven’t yet heard of the 3-screen lifestyle, you’ll soon become very aware of it.  It’s the ever-growing lifestyle of consumers with a TV, Computer, and now s Smartphone.  Modern marketers are finding creative ways to reach these consumers who are riding the growing wave of always on instant availability.  Recent research finds that U.S. mobile Internet users are engaging in shopping-related activities at a rate that exceeds desktop usage.

Any way you look at mobile, it is transforming the way your customers shop and interact with your dealership.  Dealerships that are not investing in mobile shopping technology are at risk of getting left behind.  The good news for mobile initiative dealers is that mobile-optimized websites can raise engagement as much as 85%.

This isn’t meant to scare anyone.  Mobile websites are just another marketing channel to reach prospective customers.  What better gift could a customer give you than to have your dealership available in their pocket 24/7? You’re probably a smartphone user, right?  At any given time, how far away is your phone?  Personally, I know the farthest my phone ever gets from me is my nightstand.

In a recent study done by Adobe, I found some statistics that will get your attention:

  • 53% of mobile shoppers rated product and pricing information as most important
  • 66% of mobile shoppers prefer shopping via mobile browser vs. in an app
  • 46% of first time mobile shoppers access a retailer’s site is by typing the website into the browser
  • For consumer researching and browsing product information, 81% prefer mobile browser and 19% prefer mobile app
  • 71% of consumers prefer a mobile browser over a mobile app when comparing products and prices.
  • 53% of consumers spend 1-5 hours per week shopping mobile websites

Auto dealers have gone through the TV phase, are living in the computer phase, and have now been given a new frontier for marketing: the smartphone era.  For dealers, mobile can be a highly influential marketing channel.  For automotive retailers, it provides the unprecedented immediacy of shopping your store when the need strikes the consumer.  Think of mobile not strictly as a purchase channel, but more as a marketing channel to drive consumers to an action (lead conversion) and to serve them information whenever they’re ready to buy.

Mobile shopping is still in its early days, but auto dealers absolutely need a mobile presence to begin testing and measuring what works for their store, clients, and region.  Mobile will continue to evolve as user experiences catch up to the fast pace of smartphone technology.

So, you ask, “What should I consider when setting up my mobile website?”  Here’s a list of 5 areas to consider when you’re getting started with mobile (or to evaluate your current mobile site).

  1. Minimalist approach to the user interface (UI), with a focus on uncluttered shopping experience.  An example of poor UI would be putting too much information on the inventory list.
  2. Your mobile website must convert leads.  Do you have consistent easy-to-navigate lead forms, touch-to-call, or SMS functionality?
  3. High quality imagery.  Touch screen smart phones have made incredible strides in displays.  Does your mobile website deliver rich media to the mobile browser?
  4. Deep product details.  There are several great ways to display as much vehicle data on a smartphone screen as there is on desktop browsers.  Provide your consumers with as much information as you do on the desktop.
  5. Robust search.  Searching, sorting, and filtering inventory could not be more important on a mobile website.  Customers are usually looking for a finite inventory set or a specific vehicle when searching on mobile.

Google recently stated that mobile searches have increased by 500% from 2008 to 2010, and according to recent projections published by Nielson Co., 1 in 2 Americans will own a smartphone by the end of 2011. It’s time to take notice that the “must have a website” era in our industry has now become the “must have a mobile website” era! 

(source: Adobe Scene7 Mobile Commerce Survey: Mobile Shopper Insights for 2011)

Lindsey Auguste
This is awesome. The buzz us that mobile is getting big but I don't think people really know how big it has the potential of getting. That stats really speak to that. The list of areas to focus on when setting it up is such a good place to start also. Sometimes it's hard to know where to begin! Thanks for posting.
Greg Gifford
Yeah, it's really eye-opening for a lot of dealers when we show them those stats...
Jim Bell
Well, the stats say it all. Make your website mobile friendly or you may be out of the game.
Jim Bell
Well, the stats say it all. Make your website mobile friendly or you may be out of the game.
Greg Gifford
good point - here's another stat that's even more amazing - 88% of US mobile phone users are more likely to buy from a dealer with a mobile website so dealers need to take it further than a mobile-friendly site - they need a dedicated mobile website... (check out our recent blog post - http://blog.autorevo.com/2011/04/ive-got-a-mobile-dealer-website-so-what/)

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