Do You Need An App For Your Dealership?

We are most definitely in the age of smartphones and with that comes the global rise in use of mobile apps. It seems there is an app for just about everything these days and recent analytics reports show that in the U.S. alone, people spend upwards of 5 hours a day on their mobile devices. That’s a 69% increase over 2016.

Mobile app prototype

So it’s no wonder if you’re a business owner, that at some point or another you might be starting to wonder if your dealership needs one too. However, as with any business decision, it must be decided if having an app will benefit your business and customers in any way first. Building an app just because it’s in for businesses to have one is definitely not a reason to create one.

So before you jump on the app-making bandwagon, let’s take a look at some pros and cons of having an app for your business.

PROS

  • Increases Interaction Time With Customers: In all likelihood your customers have their smartphones with them 24/7 and that creates an amazing opportunity for your business to interact with them. A well-thought-out app will provide a way for your customers to ask questions, get quotes, and leave testimonials regarding your services and products all day, every day, from anywhere and allows your business to respond to them quickly and efficiently.
  • Ability To Market Directly To Target Audience: People generally only download apps from businesses that they know already. Therefore, when you market via your company’s app you can be sure that you are marketing directly to those who are most interested in what you have to offer. If you create ways for your app users to take immediate actions from within the app then you will most likely see business increase at a fairly steady pace.
  • More Value For Your Customers (Loyalty Program): When it comes to using apps, most customers state they would use them more regularly if doing so would give them a discount or offer them exclusive or bonus content. This is where your business needs to concentration on what you can give to your customers. Why should they use your app? What’s in it for them? Creating value-added content and offering discounts or bonuses exclusively for app users will give customers a feeling of belonging to a special club and encourage them to use the app regularly.
  • Increase Customer Engagement: Creating a handy way for your customers to contact your business from within the app to ask questions, order product or services, make comments or complaints is a great way to increase customer engagement with your brand.  Then make sure that you have a way to quickly respond to them or all that effort will be for nothing.
  • Increase Customer Loyalty: A huge part of running a company is getting repeat business from your customers. As a dealership you may think you’re limited to how many times a customer can buy from you but that is so far from the truth. An app can allow you to market related products and services to your past customers as well as new ones. Offering discounts for RV repairs and services, add-on products, as well as referral bonuses will create a deeper customer loyalty towards your dealership’s products and services.
  • Increase Social Media Engagement: 51% of the time users spend on mobile apps are spent in social media activities! Therefore, integrating social media into your business app is something that would benefit your business immensely. Giving your customers the ability to comment, like, share, and check-in via social media in your app increases the reach of your brand exponentially. It also catches your customers old and new where they spend the most time.
  • Put Your Products And Services At Your Customers’ Fingertips 24/7: Having a business app allows you to display all of your products and services to your customers 24/7 no matter where they are. Giving customers the option to browse your offerings whenever is convenient to them increases the possibility of them making a purchase from your business and sharing their interest with friends, family, and co-workers.

CONS

  • Can Have Considerable Costs To Build: Creating a mobile app require a lot of time and money. Part of the reason for this is because when developing a mobile app you have to create several versions to match the various mobile operating systems such as iOS for Apple products and Android for the majority of the other mobile devices out there. This need for at least two different systems may require that you have to hire two different app teams to handle each of the operating systems adding to the cost of development. Another factor involved is features and functionality. The more features and functionality required will increase the cost of building the app as well.
  • Effort To Make People Aware Of App: Once you have an app for your business you will need to make people aware of its existence. This will require additional marketing efforts because why spend all that money on an app if no one knows about it?
  • Need For Constant Updates: This is one aspect that people tend to forget about. Once an app is created that’s not the end of it. The app will need to have its content updated regularly to keep it current but that’s not all. The app will also need to have regular updates to patch security vulnerabilities as well as to ensure compliance with any new iOS and Android releases. So basically every time Apple or Android update their operating systems and patch security issues you need to do the same with your app otherwise it won’t work properly for your users.
  • Time And Effort Required For Tracking Customer Usage Data: Having an app would see a great way of keeping track of your customers in order to get insights into their behaviors. However, tracking analytics are more difficult in mobile apps then they are with websites. In most cases, developers need to integrate the means to track analytics into the app when it’s being created.

So as you can see creating an app for your business is not as easy as one would think it would be. However, if after much thought and consideration you feel that your business could benefit greatly from an app and the pros far out-weight the cons, then adding an app to your marketing endeavors could prove to be quite rewarding.

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