What are customers using their smartphones for?

Think for a second how often you see cell phones in your daily life. At the mall, teens are using them to text each other; at the airport, business people are perusing their e-mail, and in your dealership, customers are price checking and researching purchases.

The first two scenarios aren’t a big deal for those of us in the industry, but the third is of special interest. Yes, your customers are using those devices to become more informed on their purchases, whether that means looking up reviews of products, texting friends to learn about their experiences on the vehicles or checking competitors’ websites to see if they offer lower prices.

We recently asked dealers if this is happening in their dealerships, and almost half of them said they had seen customers using smartphones to comparison shop in their own store. That can be frustrating. However if approached correctly, dealers can keep shoppers in their dealership and turn them into customers.

Some great news was found in a smartphone survey conducted by Compete, a media company. In a poll of 914 smartphone users, 47 percent who used a barcode scanner to price shop still bought the product from the retail store they searched at. (We’ll have more details on those results and further information on smartphones in an upcoming issue of Powersports Business.)

It can be tough to see someone in your dealership comparing prices to stores down the road or those online, however, once they’re in your store, there’s a good chance you’ll still land that new sale and that new customer.

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