After selling over 5 million units within the first week of its launch, the hype surrounding Apple’s new iPhone 5 has finally died down, leaving time to evaluate whether or not Apple’s latest smartphone (or any smartphone, for that matter) can benefit you and your dealership.

“I use my smartphone every day at the dealership,” said Emily Lorencz of Draper Auto. “It’s especially useful when I’m out on the lot working with customers.”

If you’re thinking about dropping your feature phone in exchange for a smartphone, consider these points before making your decision.

Availability

Being available to customers is a challenge. With an increase in mobile and tablet usage, shoppers expect an instant response when they reach out to your store. Having a smartphone allows you to respond to incoming phone calls, emails, texts and chat messages on the fly, and in an organized manner.

“We have a mobile website, so if a customer has a question, I’m able to pull up our inventory and give them what they’re looking for on the spot,” said Emily. “Our sales people do this all the time.”

Photos and Video

The iPhone 5 boasts one of the best smartphone cameras on the market, but nearly every smartphone out there allows you to take photos and video. This can be a great tool when communicating with prospects and following up on appointments.

“If you get a call from a customer wanting more pictures or pictures of something specific on a used vehicle, you can go out and snap a photo and text or email to the customer right from your phone without having to go back to your computer,” continued Emily.

Social Integration

Do you manage your dealership’s Facebook page or Twitter handle? If so, you should know that smartphones provide a great platform to share content and manage fan engagement on-the-go. Free apps like Hootsuite and Facebook Page Manager make it possible to post photos, video and status updates, connecting you with your community in real-time.

Dealer Apps

Though it’s smart to do the bulk of your inventory and customer management from a desktop computer, many vendors provide free smartphone apps to complement their web-based tools.

As Emily confirmed, “Our CRM has an app that we can log into remotely, so if a customer contacts us while we’re away from our desk, we can stop the clock and respond.”

If you’re in a jam and need to update the price or features of a vehicle right away, an app may potentially save the day. Cars.com-related apps like ContactAtOnce! and DealSaver also allow for access on-the-go.

Increased productivity, convenience and greater exposure to customers suggests that upgrading to a smartphone may have lasting benefits for you and your dealership. If you’re considering a smartphone and headed to Digital Dealer next week, stop to see Jack Simmons present “Mastering the Mobile Check-In” on Wednesday, October 24th. Also, be sure to check out the resources below.

 

Related Articles:

Nielsen Mobile Study video

Mobile Web and App Usage for Automotive Shoppers

New Cars Are Back: Are you? [Webinar]

See what your website looks like on mobile

Get mobile car shoppers to open your emails!