Smart phones are valuable sales tool for smart dealers
Ryan Beene is a reporter for Automotive News.
It seems everyone has a smart phone these days, so smart dealers are experimenting with ways to make the devices a big part of their marketing strategies.
Several stores in the Ron Tonkin Family of Dealerships in Portland, Ore., are using QR codes in newspaper ads, brochures and vehicle window stickers as a way to drive traffic to mobile versions of the dealership Web sites.
The bar code images are encoded with data, such as links to Web sites. Consumers can download a QR -- for quick response -- application and scan the code with a smart-phone camera. The link gets loaded in the phone's Web browser.
It's a lot easier to scan the code and automatically load the site than fumbling around trying to type the address into a smart-phone keypad.
Tonkin's Nissan dealership prints QR codes in newspaper ads, and its Fiat store embeds them in in-store marketing materials. A Honda store uses codes in direct mail ads, and Tonkin's Mazda store includes them on vehicle stickers.
QR codes found in print ads run by Tonkin Wilsonville Nissan can load the mobile Web page that contains the dealership's advertised deals.
Scanning a window-sticker code at the Mazda store will load up the details about that specific vehicle onto the user's smart phone, says Danny Dragomir, Tonkin's digital marketing director. He says the group is experimenting with the technology because of the proliferation of smart phones.
"Everyone typically has their smart phones with them at all times," Dragomir said. "It's another way to get customers to interact with you and engage with you on their phones. The next time they look for a car, they know you have a mobile site, so they're more likely to come back and see what you have."
GMC is launching a smart phone application that allows consumers to research and shop for GMC vehicles on their mobile devices.
The mobile app, called the GMC Showroom, is available for download now in the Apple App Store and will be available for smart phones running the Android operating system by the end of July.
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