As exhibitors at the Specialty Equipment Market Association Show demonstrated, the automotive aftermarket industry is eagerly embracing emerging mobile technology.
Companies introducing automotive industry mobile technology range from big name automakers to specialty aftermarket manufacturers.
Customers are consuming more content than ever through their mobile phones, driving forward-thinking companies to conceptualize new options for reaching buyers on the devices they use most.
Advantages of Auto Aftermarket Mobile Technology
Mobile technology is often associated with younger customers who are already highly technologically adept.
Today, that perception is increasingly inaccurate.
Mobile applications used by a wide swathe of drivers are valued as much for their practicality as for their “cool” factor, if not more. According to USA Today, Chrysler has elected to make auto manuals available on smartphones.
This choice exemplifies the simplicity and ease of use that will characterize successful automotive industry apps.
Additionally, mobile technology makes impulse buying easier. Some recently released applications permit consumers to enter their vehicle’s make, model, and year of manufacture to browse and order appropriate aftermarket parts.
With these apps, when a customer exits his vehicle frustrated with an inferior part, he can simply use his smartphone as he walks to his destination to select a new one compatible with his vehicle.
Numerous other potential benefits exist and are already being explored by automotive manufacturers and auto aftermarket companies. Indubitably, there are still more advantages to discover.
The Future of Mobile Technology and the Auto Aftermarket Industry
Marketing experts consistently predict that mobile technology will continue to become more and more important to customers. As of November 2009, 223,000,000 mobile phone users over the age of 13 resided in the United States, with more than 41,000,000 of those users owning smartphones.
Emerging technologies in the mobile sector will influence automotive aftermarket applications as an ever increasing number of companies release their own apps. Mini Cooper ads using augmented reality attracted international news coverage . Soon, the same mobile technology may enable customers to visualize aesthetic updates to their vehicles simply by selecting a part and then pointing an activated smartphone camera toward the vehicle.
Potential Mobile Technology Drawbacks
Before you leap into mobile technology, consider this question: What is the most efficient value proposition you can make to customers with your limited resources?
Some companies would be better served by making improvements to their products or their existing customer service structure, as opposed to funding the development of a mobile application. If you are uncertain as to your customers’ needs and preferences, take time to survey them.
Do not pour resources into mobile development solely because it is being adopted by your competitors. If you cannot spare the talent and funding to create a mobile application that deserves a space in your customers’ main “deck” of frequently used applications, consider other mobile marketing options, such as sponsorship of free applications or opt-in text message updates for your customers.
Are you using mobile technology in your business? Have you seen success?