A Mobile Market

Dealers are adjusting to shoppers’ increased use of digital data.

A lot has changed in the auto buying industry. The use of mobile devices has grown dramatically in the past five years. Amy Bannor, an internet sales manager at the Corwin Chrysler Dodge-Jeep-Ram in Fargo, N.D., told her team to never text a customer when she first started six and a half years ago. "I told them it was unprofessional," said Bannor. Today, she has changed her perspective, and asks for a new customer's phone number immediately. Bannor says, "It's all about communications, and answering the customer in the way they want to communicate."

Times are changing, and so is technology, which includes the way consumers choose to research, shop and communicate with dealerships. Corwin, like every other dealer in the country, has found that the boom in mobile technology is not only dramatically changing the way Americans shop for cars, but also reshaping the dealer-customer relationship. The numbers prove that mobile shopping is quickly taking the lead when shopping for a new car. J.D. Power data shows that 28 percent of new vehicle buyers who use digital information in the shopping process use smartphones, and 30 percent use tablets. Interestingly, 41 percent use more than one device - say, a smartphone and a tablet - while shopping for a new car.

Christian Fuller, the chief relationship officer at Search Optics, believes those numbers mean that dealers need to provide a rich but easy website experience for a mobile user. "Dealers need to think about their mobile websites in the same way they think about a customer walking in the showroom door and being greeted in a friendly way - because now as much as 60 percent of the first touches for a store may come on a mobile device," said Fuller.

Growth in mobile consumerism has led to a shift from adaptive design to responsive - which will allow one website to work across all devices. This is important, especially when a large amount of buyers are using more than one device. According to Fuller, Search Optics found that a switch to responsive design leads to a 48 percent increase in the time people spend on those websites on their mobile devices. In addition, he said search engines like Google reward mobile websites that provide rich content and a better customer experience with a higher ranking in customer searches.

To learn more from automotive and technology experts for the new mobile shopping era, click here.


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