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Why as a dealer do I need a mobile app?

DrewAment

Sr. Refresher
Apr 30, 2009
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Phoenix, AZ
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Drew
Very interesting article... https://time.com/3158893/smartphone-apps-apple/ The ComScore whitepaper (link in article) - is also a good read.

And this one -- http://qz.com/253618/most-smartphone-users-download-zero-apps-per-month/

To re-post what I have said in this and other forums over the past year ... I think my opinion remains the same:

Dealers (and most retail outlets - Amazon, WalMart, Target, BestBuy) are still having a hard time getting consumers to install and KEEP INSTALLED an Android or IOS app - as most people will just go to the retail website (and expect it to be mobile friendly). Even brands with high loyalty and brand awareness have this problem.


I looked at a mobile app vender apps on Android that they have published .. http://goo.gl/vH4sxo Almost all the dealership apps have less than 100 downloads.. a few have 100-500. Do we really want to pay $1000/mnth (est cost of most apps) to only engage 500 people...and that is assuming they all still have the app installed!


As another example... at the most recent GM Digital Summit I asked how many people had downloaded the MyChevrolet app http://www.chevrolet.com/mychevrolet.html ... they refused to comment.


So I did some checking... the Android version has between 100-500k downloads (pretty sad for how many Chevrolet cars/trucks are sold), IOS does not share DL info. It also looks like they gave up on the CHEVROLET branded version... as the IOS version now just links to the OnStar app.


For Toyota -- it looks the same. Only 100-500k downloads on Android, IOS is non-reporting. Also pretty sad for how many Toyota's are sold nationwide.


Most stats and surveys show people mainly use apps and programs on their mobile for games and entertainment. Think about it... would you rather want to install and download an app to read news, or just visit http://news.google.com -- install an application from Amazon.com, or just visit http://amazon.com??


Websites are (and should) becoming more mobile friendly. Visiting a site on your mobile should be just as seamless as a desktop. We need to push our website vendors to be better at handling mobile traffic (which we are)....rather than pushing the customer towards an app install - of which we will have no control over due to publishing requirements of the Android and IOS platform - the vender in that case holds ALL the cards.
What do you think ... and have any of you seen success with a dealer only app?
 
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Chris Cachor

Sr. Refresher
Apr 29, 2011
431
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43
Chicago, IL
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Chris
There's no need for one! Since all a user would be doing is downloading content (vehicle images and info) it doesn't make sense for an actual app - just a mobile friendly version of the site is required. App development is also difficult, expensive, and changes frequently so mobile friendly website (responsive or adaptive) is the hands down winner here.
 
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yagoparamo

Sr. Refresher
Dec 30, 2009
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Seattle
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Yago
There's no need for one! Since all a user would be doing is downloading content (vehicle images and info) it doesn't make sense for an actual app - just a mobile friendly version of the site is required. App development is also difficult, expensive, and changes frequently so mobile friendly website (responsive or adaptive) is the hands down winner here.

Chris,

Totally correct, at this point what is the difference between a good mobile site and an app?

The only difference, and taking an airline company app as an example, is when you need information stored for later use that you may need without an intent connection. So airplane company apps like Alaska Airlines allows you to pull your tickets and QR code to check in without a connection.

For what we do, retail in a very fast changing environment, the app doesn't make sense.
 
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Bill Simmons

Jr. Refresher
Sep 30, 2010
232
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Richmond VA
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Bill
I think mobile apps for dealerships fall under Uncle Joe Rule #122: "Just because it's a good idea, doesn't mean it'll work".

We have had an app available at 6 our our stores for over 2 years now. The largest download number we have seen is 179 at our Toyota store. Not a very high percentage of users is it? Not considering the 1000's of people that it has been offered to.I have no idea how many of those still have it and are active users. I don't think there are many.

Why would a customer need a car dealer app? We just sold them a car, so whats the incentive to them for having an app with our inventory? None.

Service retention is another reason that is being touted but I feel that has limitations also. Most dealers are lucky to see their customers back in service more than three times a year for normal maintenance. So having an app on their phone that they MIGHT use three times a year to schedule service with us is not enough incentive. I could go on and on why I think they are a bad idea. But the one last reason I want to mention is privacy issues. It seems a lot of people are excited about the idea that apps can "geo-fence" our customers so that we can send popup coupons to their phones. Does anyone really think that type of push marketing is a good idea?

Many, myself included, feel a popup on my phone, when I didn't ask for it, is just as annoying as a popup window on a website. Apple seems to agree because the upcoming IOS8 update will have even stronger location tracking blocking available to users.

Kevin Frye has done a couple of great presentations recently concerning privacy issues on websites. I believe that the privacy and tracking of peoples activity through mobile apps is more than likely the next big topic.

This is a great slide from the Comscore report. 50% of app usage is devoted to social media, listening to music, and playing games. Retail, which I guess is the category car dealers would fall under, accounts for only 5% of usage.

mobile-app-stats.jpg
 

Chris Cachor

Sr. Refresher
Apr 29, 2011
431
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43
Chicago, IL
First Name
Chris
It seems a lot of people are excited about the idea that apps can "geo-fence" our customers so that we can send popup coupons to their phones. Does anyone really think that type of push marketing is a good idea?
I've seen this advertised by vendors and I think it's really deceptive. It requires action by the person you're targeting (download app, configure location services) which very few will do. It's designed as a tool for the user, not the marketer. OEMs could see success implementing this, but not at a dealer level IMO.
 

yagoparamo

Sr. Refresher
Dec 30, 2009
1,901
493
113
Seattle
First Name
Yago
I've seen this advertised by vendors and I think it's really deceptive. It requires action by the person you're targeting (download app, configure location services) which very few will do. It's designed as a tool for the user, not the marketer. OEMs could see success implementing this, but not at a dealer level IMO.

Chris,

Maybe for service?
 
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craigh

Super Moderator
May 19, 2011
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Ontario, Canada
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Craig
Mobile apps really only make sense in Service, but they make quite a bit of sense in service if done correctly.
Things like Reynolds SSK could be integrated into an app or service booking, etc.

Sales? Nah.
There's a company up here in the Canadas trying to do mobile apps with iBeacon support for lot-wanderers but after seeing their presentation I thought even that was a failed attempt.