The Internet has been here for awhile, and mobile traffic has been growing rapidly for years, yet according to a recent far-reaching survey some dealerships still haven’t caught on to the new way of doing things. We’ll be taking an in-depth look at this survey and some of its most significant findings in future articles, but for now we thought we’d give you the single most salient point.
Some of you will probably be giving yourselves a pat on the back upon reading this, while others might be smacking your hands to your foreheads in dismay. Wherever you stand in terms of your online and mobile readiness, the good news is there’s always room to improve—and this article should give you a good idea on how to go about doing exactly that.
According to a survey conducted by PCG Research, in which both dealers and consumers were queried as to their expectations, assumptions, and behaviors, more and more dealers are recognizing that mobile traffic to their websites is growing, and that consumers are increasingly using mobile devices to shop for cars. Given all of the very clear data on this point—which most dealerships can verify through their own basic web analytics—it’s good that dealers are acknowledging this trend.
Less good is their attitude towards the people behind the mobile traffic. The survey found a persistent belief among many dealers and auto sales professionals that mobile shoppers weren’t serious—that searching for cars on smartphones and tablets was a casual affair, and that consumers truly interested in purchasing a new vehicle in the near future would use different tools and technologies to conduct research and contact dealers.
On the contrary, consumers who responded to the survey said they used all tools at their disposal to get the best possible information (and the best possible deals) on the cars they were considering, and that their mobile searches were in fact a very serious part of their process and their ultimate purchasing decision.
The stereotype many dealerships are holding onto of the iPhone crowd as being frivolous time-wasters is holding them back from their full potential. There are sales, profits, and long-term customer relationships being lost due to a simple yet profound miscalculation of what people’s intentions are and what their behavior—especially their choice of device for online access—signals about their readiness to buy.
ANY contact by a potential customer, on the web or otherwise, needs to be treated like a serious step on the road to an actual sale, and contact from a mobile device—including a visit to your website from a smartphone—is actually a very strong signal that a consumer is ready to buy. Instead of dismissing these visits as the result of frivolous window shopping behavior, dealerships need to be encouraging, cultivating, and nurturing the leads generated by mobile visits.
Optimizing your site for the mobile web is simply one of the best ways to boost your sales numbers, period.
So don’t let the stereotypes persist. Give mobile the attention it deserves, and get today’s consumers on board.