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This past week, I made the risky move of upgrading to the newly released Windows 8 operating system; Microsoft’s bold attempt at upgrading their OS which has kept the same fundamental functionality for more than a decade. While slightly hesitant to upgrade before a service pack was available, I ultimately chose to take advantage of Microsoft’s limited time $39.99 upgrade offer. Talk about utilizing the "urgency" close right?
As I’ve played around with the new OS for the past few days, I’ve made some observations that may turn out to be a prediction of a new technological frontier for dealers who are looking to kick things into high gear... or I may just be out to lunch. Whatever your opinion may be, just go with me on this for a minute.
The most noticeable of all the new features for Windows 8, is the shiny new start screen which really acts as a dashboard to your most visited apps. Though some critics complain that Windows 8 is optimized for tablets, I haven’t had any problems finding my way around with a mouse.
Microsoft has redesigned the UI for many of their apps and have included some new apps, all of which come with a very streamlined and integrated experience. Among my favorites are the new music player app which comes loaded with the ability to stream full length music and a new “smart dj” tool that automatically creates a playlist based on an artist genre of your choosing.
Thanks for listening to me ‘nerd out’ for a second. Let me get to how car dealers could actually use Windows 8 to leverage new business and reach larger groups of car shoppers in their own home.
What got me me thinking was the newly added “Store” app which allows users to browse from a variety of both paid and free applications. Simply select the category of app you wish to download and you have the ability to select from hundreds if not thousands of apps to have installed on your PC. If you know your way around the app store or play market, this will be quite easy for you.
Imagine what would happen if you created a Windows 8 app that was compatible on both desktop PCs and Windows tablets? There has been a lot of talk around whether or not Dealers should develop iPhone and Android apps vs. keeping with dealership mobile websites, but think about the doors you could unlock by tapping into an even larger traffic source!
Let’s talk numbers. By 2008 (according to Forrester), there were 1,000,000,000 (Billion) PCs in use with a forecast of 2 billion in use by the end of 2015. It took 27 years to reach the 1 billion mark and will only take 7 years (from 2008) to reach 2 billion. If that’s not simply incredible to you consider that the average number of PCs needing to be sold year after year since 2008 is 142,857,142 in order to reach the forecasted target by 2015.
Now, have you purchased a new PC lately? Don’t they come pre-loaded with a Windows operating system? According to Amazon, every new PC sold between June 2, 2012 and January 31, 2013 will receive a special upgrade offer of only $14.99, thus placing Windows 8 well within the reach of hundreds of millions of people.
Consider how many of the 142,857,142 PC buyers this year are also in the market to purchase a vehicle or are at least conducting some level of vehicle research. I’ll tell you what - that new Microsoft ‘Store App’ is pretty fun to navigate and somehow sucks you in just like Apple’s famed App store and Android’s Play Market, so imagine what competitive advantage you’d have by placing your dealership and your brand in front of the masses.
I envision a personalized shopping experience filled with user reviews, dealership videos, blogs and news. Since the app is installed on the personal computer, (and I’m just thinking out loud here), imagine if there was a way to have your app send notifications to your potential customer's calendar, email, social networks and more. I think this is just the tip of the iceberg and if done strategically, dealers could tap into a massive market of vehicle shoppers.
To take it one step further, though Windows 7 and 8 tablets don’t contribute much to tablet sales as of current, Windows 8 tablets are forecast to help tablet sales increase by 4% according to Gartner. Apple still remains king of the mobile arena with roughly 60% market share, however,with an estimated 117,000,000 tablet shipments in 2012 alone, 4% works out to 4,680,000 (4.68 million) Windows 8 Tablet shipments and that is more than enough users to inject your dealership with some serious prospects.
In closing, let me say that there are many, many avenues to help drum up new business. I had the pleasure of attending Lon Safko’s keynote at AutoCon in which he enlightened us on the various social media marketing opportunities from Facebook to Second Life. I swear - by the end of his presentation there were multiple silent explosions in people’s heads, followed by smoke trailing out of their ears.
The point is that there are sooooo many ways to prospect for new business and technology, whether revamped or emerging provides you with more ways to reach out to potential buyers than ever before. Windows 8 is just another example of something you could use to leverage new business for your dealership.
What do you think? Kindly leave your comments below. Happy developing.