Mobile Shopping Trends: A Game Changer for Auto Dealers

Did you know that men aged 30-49 do more mobile shopping than other age groups?

50% of popular Groupons business over the next couple of years will come from mobile devices?

That Starbucks has seen over 3 million Micro Payment transactions?

1 in 10 [survey respondents] said they’d rather lose their mother-in-law than their cell phone.” -Leger Marketing

“A whole generation of teenagers faces premature senility in the prime of their lives due to the use of mobile phones and new wireless technology.”  –Daily Express

These trends and figures are not only interesting; they affect mobile shopping for cars and trucks as a whole. Understanding these upcoming trends will help car dealers’ see how important mobile sites, mobile applications and mobile marketing campaigns will be.

In 2011, mobile auto consumers climbed 60%, used car sales are soaring, and more people are looking to buy, from a comfort level they have achieved with the state of the economy.

According to Google/Compete Research

81% of smartphone users access the internet on their mobile devices and 1 of 3 searches has a local intent.

Out of all the mobile shoppers in the world 17% are looking at Automotive Websites and 53% of those end up at a dealership buying a car.

I believe as smartphones get smarter and consumer expectations rise, the mobile tech industry will step to the plate to offer innovative and cutting edge services, especially in the area of shopping. In that case Auto dealers who cater to mobile shoppers will be “winning”!


Get in the Mind of your Customer


Mobile Shopping

Mobile Shopping

Because shoppers use their mobile phones to search “stuff” in time of need, you have an opportunity to reach them. When they are ready to either buy or shop your dealership. According to Go Mobile, adding GPS (global positioning system) capability to mobile phones has transformed a once mundane voice-only phone into a targeted weapon focused on proximate surroundings.

According to Auto shopper Behavior Study by Google/Complete

Today’s auto shoppers, research and decide faster, search to navigate/compare, they expect dealer sites to be modified and helpful.

Mobile shoppers watch videos to discover and compare brands.

81% of mobile auto shoppers decide within 3 months.

Technology is important to luxury buyer’s safety, utility, fuel efficiency also gains interest.

Most new car purchasers are looking for “Offers” first, and “Build Your Car” is second, third “Locate a Dealer” followed by “Search Inventory”.

A greater number of shoppers searched inventory on third party sites, 42% of them searched “Inventory” first, then “Model Information”, and then “Trade” was in 3rd place, with “Reviews” being last.

Top research conducted on mobile phones was “Compare Features”, then 47% Compare Prices.

An astonishing 44% looked for and read car and truck Informational Blogs.

On Mobile phones the top 4 useful advertisements were online videos, then Sponsored/Paid Search Engine Listings, and amazingly newspaper ads.

All of this data should speak loudly to car dealers, in respect to auto shoppers. We must start following shoppers through this complex yet simple PATH TO PURCHASE, versus relying on traditional online destinations alone.

In summary of this data, car dealers need to examine digital presence; understand that navigation is the key to help auto shopper’s research through many mobile portals.

Launching your Inventory to Mobile Auto Shoppers

6 things to take to the next level!      


GPS Based marketing- Location Based Services are mobile marketing platforms that dealers can use to engage shoppers and develop promotions.

Dealer apps- A basic app including inventory can cost your dealership about $300 per rooftop; it is worth its weight in gold! You can also allow users to accept notifications, and send out weekly sales and alerts.

Mobile Friendly Websites- Easily enough, a developer can add codes to the home page of your website to adjust to tablet or cell sizes. This way your website will display content quickly and optimize even on a very small screen.

Mobile Ad Campaigns- Target customers who are looking to fill an immediate need; Oil changes, tire rotations, Special of the week, Manager’s special, Aged inventory on sale.

QR or 2D Codes- Incorporate QR codes on all webpages and in newspaper or magazine ads it is a symbol that has an embedded URL and when the smartphone user scans, it drives them to any of the below subjects, some of the areas to advertise are: browse a website, send a email, make a phone call, Google maps, Foursquare venue, latest tweet, follow us on Facebook, Wi-Fi network inside dealership, any text or message you want the customer to know.

You Tube Channel- According to Autoshopper Behavior Study Google/Complete, video ads drove initial interest; online videos ranked most useful in ad formats, as well as influenced brand choices. The last bombshell is… You Tube led 2 out of 3 shoppers to the car/truck that they ended up buying at the dealership, which prooves that You Tube is the leading driver that gets customers to notice your vehicles.


Mobile I-Phone “SIRI” Changes Search Space

The new I-Phone has an assistant by name of SIRI; she finds answers to question and queries from the user. If the mobile phone users ask “where is the closet dealership”…. She will deliver a specific answer with direction. She will only deliver one answer. The problem from a car dealer’s standpoint is she is not a search engine or a data base. She will only deliver qualified filtered results; SIRI is reported to utilize Wikipedia and yelp, as information providers. Each of these sources work differently, Wikipedia is similar to Encyclopedic Information, but can be modified by any user, Yelp is a national review community. Each dealer should make it a point to claim your information on each of these sources and keep watch on your progress concerning reviews and information regarding your dealership. Many believe that Apples Goal is to move completely away from Google, as rumors soar about a partnership with Bing to help power SIRI (make sure your dealership is listed with Bing).

In a study by the ARORA Report, the study reports that users of SIRI report no need to search Google; it provides evidence that that these users changed habits, and as a result, Google search may see a major decline as SIRI becomes widely available.



Smartphones are smart and they are getting smarter. The trends and statistics outlined in this article indicate that these mini-computers we call phones will be at the heart of any and all tasks, especially auto shopping. We can draw a definitive line in the sand for advertising purposes, including the manner in which we can reach potential customers.

For users in your community, convenience is King and their phones are becoming their fist “GOTO” resource for our everyday lives. Today’s users are looking for detailed vehicle information, coupled with interesting videos and compelling mobile ads to direct their search for a vehicle.

This is a once in a lifetime, generation changer, smartphones are getting smarter and consumer expectations will rise even further, therefor Automobile Industry needs to step up to the plate to offer the services that customer are expecting, especially in the area of car shopping. Consequently, all Dealerships advertising needs to be geared toward the Mobile Phone War!

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