What shoppers’ large-screen smartphones have to do with sales

Large-screen mobile devices, or phablets, are changing the way users find and consume information when vehicle shopping.

That’s significant because it could affect the amount of shopper traffic coming to your dealership.

The more satisfied a shopper is with the usefulness of an automotive manufacturer’s website or third-party research-and-shopping site, the more likely he/she is to visit a dealership associated with the site, according to the 2015 Automotive Mobile Site Study by J.D. Power.

Ram’s mobile website ranks among the best.

“Among vehicle shoppers who indicate they are delighted with their experience on a manufacturer brand website … 66 percent indicate they are more likely to test drive a vehicle after visiting the site, compared with only 16 percent of those who are disappointed,” said a J.D. Power summary.

The study shows that some automotive manufacturers and third-party automotive websites are better positioned than others to take advantage of the shift toward larger mobile devices.

Based on the study involving more than 12,000 shoppers, the top 10 manufacturer brand websites are Acura, Infiniti, FIAT, Nissan, Ram, Cadillac, Dodge, Ford, Jeep and GMC, all of which finished with at least 794 points on a 1,000-point scale. Others finishing above the manufacturer mobile site average of 783 points were Porsche, MINI, Hyundai, Jaguar, Chevrolet, Mercedes-Benz, BMW and Chrysler.

The top third-party sites in the J.D. Power study are TrueCar, CarGurus, Yahoo! Autos, U.S. News Best Cars and Edmunds.com, all of which finished above the site average of 734 on the 1,000-point scale.

The study did not address dealership websites directly, but the same lessons would seem to apply.

“Automotive manufacturer and third-party website designers should be mindful of growing phablet usage and take advantage of the larger screen by displaying more content and adding detail to maximize shopper satisfaction and drive more traffic to dealer showrooms,” said Arianne Walker of J.D. Power.

“The time spent on mobile devices for automotive shopping is increasing, and this trend of buying and using phablets is expected to continue,” according to Walker.

Popular phablets – large smartphones with screens 5.5 inches and greater – include the iPhone 6 Plus, Samsung Galaxy Note 4, Google Nexus 6 and Microsoft Lumia 640 XL.

J.D. Power’s study was based on results of 12,416 evaluations of automotive mobile websites by vehicle shoppers who intend to purchase or lease a vehicle within the next two years.

Details of the Automotive Mobile Site Study results are available online at jdpower.com.

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