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Jared Hamilton
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Michael Esposito

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Dealership Mobile Apps: Hype or Substance?

 

Certain technologies lend themselves really well to mobile application use. Consumers download millions of mobile apps related to gaming, weather, social networking, navigation, travel, restaurants and other forms of entertainment.

But when it comes to business, and dealerships in particular, the market for mobile apps is a little more uncertain. Not all business applications lend themselves well to mobile apps use. For instance, in our business we use a contact management software. When the company came out with a mobile app, we thought it was a good idea and installed it on our salespeoples’ smartphones. The problem is, the screens on the phones are so small that it’s difficult to read anything. Besides, our salespeople have access to the software through their laptops, which they bring with them wherever they travel.

Which leads me to wonder, are mobile apps for business more hype than substance? A report from mobile analyst firm Localytics.com found that 26% of mobile apps are used only one time, and a Pew Internet study last year reported that just 24% of adults use their mobile apps. I would be very interested to know how many dealership employees would use dealership management system (DMS) applications in the following departments if they were available as mobile apps?

CRM

Would extensive CRM functionalities be useful in a mobile app? While out on the lot, would a salesperson use a tablet device to enter a customer’s information, search for a vehicle or calculate an estimated monthly payment?

Sales

I could see salespeople using tablets to show customers inventory and give them quotes. And in F&I, tablets with e-signature capabilities would enable a more interactive and paperless process, which would save a dealership both time and money, along with speeding up the process for the consumer. What do you think?

Service

A rugged tablet device would be useful in the service lane, when customers arrive with their cars, as service employees could enter all the RO information on the spot. But most service departments now have terminals mounted in various places that are easily accessible to both technicians and service advisors. Do we need both?

Parts

Mobile apps are available that allow customers to order parts, but what about parts department employees? Would they use their smartphones or tablets to order parts or update inventory?

Dealership employees, which mobile apps would you be most interested in, and in what format: on the smartphone or on a tablet device?

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