Will Auto Shoppers Use Smartphones to Buy Cars?

by · April 19, 2011

According to a recent study performed by the independent mobile advertising network Greystripe, a “huge majority” of smartphone owners will use their devices to help them both find and buy a new car. Android and iOS users looking to purchase a new ride, be it new or used, intend to use their mobile devices during the process.

Greystripe apparently surveyed over 850 people on it’s network between November last year and this February, on the topics of buying cars and mobile phones. According the release they issued today:

  • 25% of iPhone and Android users plans to buy a car within 12 months
  • 78% of thesse say they will use their mobile device for both searching and purchasing their car
  • 15.6% intend to buy a new car, with another 10.4% looking at the used market

Dane Holewinski, director of marketing at Greystripe says “touch device users are a tech savvy consumer segment with plenty of income… Auto brands are aware of the attractiveness of this audience and have been one of the most aggressive industries when it comes to rich media mobile advertising that harnesses the power of touch.”

There have been a lot of links over the past few years between car makers and mobile apps. Greystripe claims that auto brands alone have increased their spending by 113% in Q1 2011 over the same period in 2010. Hyundai for example includes the Equus owner’s manual pre-loaded on an iPad when you purchase the automobile new.

While auto shoppers performing a purchase transaction with their local dealers via smartphones is not on the horizon, accommodating communications between dealers and buyers via smartphone devices and tablets is becoming increasingly important. Mobile phone apps are one way to accommodate this communication, and so too are mobile-friendly websites, and text messaging.

What Should Dealers Do?

From a marketing perspective, dealers must be considering the mobile experience in just about everything they do in advertising, be it by including text opts-in in radio and TV ads, or QR codes in printed ads display ads, or even more simple and conventional touch points such as mobile-friendly emails.

When you send out an email today, you must consider the fact that people receiving it are expected to click links in it, and so you want to make sure you know what the mobile experience will be like for them.

For instance, if your email includes a link to a page on your website, but your website is set to auto-detect mobile browsers, which often includes tablet browsers, then you want to make sure that the destination page on the mobile site is consistent with the destination page on your website. Of course of your website is not set to auto-detect a mobile platform like this then you want to make sure your website as a whole is mobile-friendly. Otherwise, the mobile experience for your customers, which is growing rapidly, is likely to cause issues.

This is but one example of how the marketing has changed and will continue to change in the coming age for auto dealers. As one who is responsible for marketing at your dealership, take the necessary measures now to identify where and how you can improve the mobile experience for your customers.