Fleet News

Dealer apps fail to meet the smartphone market needs

Dealers are failing to offer apps that cater for nearly 80% of the smartphone market, according to new research.

Analysis of over 100 dealers by automotive software developer, DCML, shows that only 26.6% of their apps were available on Android, despite the fact that the Google Operating System is now responsible for 60% of all UK smartphone sales.

The research discovered that just 30.61% of dealers have invested in smartphone apps on Android, Apple or Microsoft Windows to provide the public with visibility of new and used vehicle stock.

In the first quarter of 2013, 13.4bn apps were downloaded globally.  Analysts forecast smartphone sales will account for 46% of all mobile sales in the UK by the end of the year.

“Against this backdrop, dealers investing in Apple only versions of their apps are simply failing to see the bigger picture and losing out on sales engagement opportunities with customers,” explained Nick Flaherty, chief technical officer of DCML.

Android’s OS now accounts for approximately 60% of all smartphone and tablet sales, with Apple taking 20% and Microsoft’s Mobile Windows delivering a further 20% of the market.

Flaherty asserts that, with a mix of dealer proprietory and manufacturer-created apps, dealer adoption of apps as a marketing and sales mechanic is still in its infancy.

He said: “At the moment, apps are still just seen as the bastion of the sales process.

“But, for engagement and streamlining business efficiencies, aftersales-focused apps provide a real opportunity for servicing, MoT, vehicle health check promotions and more.”

As an example, Rybrook BMW’s app not only provides up-to-date visibility of all current used stock, it provides for push notifications of special events and promotions directly to the end user’s smartphone.

Running in parallel with current trends, tablet sales are expected to top 208m units in 2013 globally.

“Consumer expectation is beyond dealer application at present. By 2017, three of every four online sales will be derived from tablet and smartphone technology,” said Flaherty. 

“Dealers need to start scoping out how they can embrace this to benefit their sales and customer retention functions.”

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