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Auto, Mobile

It’s clear that mobile needs to be a key part of every car dealer’s marketing strategy. But what does that mean for you? To reach mobile users, you need to know who, exactly, they are, and what they’re using mobile for. We’ve compiled some research on how mobile is affecting car purchases—and paired it with effective game plans you can use to keep car shoppers on your lot, and ultimately, to get the sale.

The findings:

In a study conducted by Ipsos MediaCT, 71% of respondents said they used their mobile devices during the vehicle purchasing process. 58% said that in the future, they anticipated exclusively using their mobile device for this purchase.  

Your game plan: responsive, mobile-first design.

Mobile-first design is based on the needs of the mobile user, in contrast to the old method of designing for a desktop experience and considering mobile as an afterthought, if at all. Mobile-first design ensures, for example, that users on a phone or tablet don’t have to scroll too much to get to important information; that the call to action is prominent and logical for mobile; and that inventory is fully searchable on a mobile device. Responsive design not only adjusts to the size of the screen it’s viewed on, but reorganizes the layout to make sure copy is legible. Together, these two web design approaches make your site welcoming to these important users, and frequently offer a smart hierarchy of information you’d be wise to keep in mind for your desktop website design as well. 

The findings:

According to a study by Placed Inc., 63% are “showrooming”—checking out merchandise online via mobile while they’re physically shopping in an auto lot.  And because they can research any time, anywhere, they’re showing up at the dealership better informed than ever before.

While showrooming is a relatively new phenomenon for car dealers, other retailers have been dealing with it for quite awhile—just ask any bookseller who’s spent ages helping a shopper find just the right read, only to be breezily informed that he or she is planning on buying the book cheaper on Amazon.

Your game plan: transparency. 

A car shopper can research comparative values, get details about a particular car, delve into customer reviews and check out dealers’ incentives right from your lot—and if you’re not upfront, you’ll lose the sale.

The findings:

The same Placed Inc. study revealed that 25% of shoppers who engage in showrooming are comparing your prices with another dealer, while 22% are comparing inventory. If there’s a nearby vehicle that fits their needs or is more competitively priced, a sale that might have been a slam dunk ten or even five years ago could slip right through your fingers.

Your game plan: unique value.

Prepare for the times when you don’t have the best price or the exact vehicle on a shopper’s wish list by providing—and marketing—a better overall shopping experience. Define what makes your dealership unique and sets it above the competition, and make sure every member of your team—from the sales floor to the service department to the back office—can communicate it. 


Don’t forget, there will be times when you’re the competitor being viewed on a customer’s phone from another lot. Is the user interface intuitive? Is it easy to find out if you have the car, and the deal, they’re looking for? Just as customers may be lured away from your lot if you don’t have the goods, your web design, transparency and unique value can make you the Pied Piper if you play your cards right.

And keeping mobile users front and center has yet another benefit. Google rewards mobile-friendly sites by placing them higher in search results. So to be more visible to all users—not just mobile ones—you need to make mobile design a priority for your web design. 

Need help getting your dealership website up to speed? We can help