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Mobile Web Browser vs. Mobile Applications

As the attached graph from the Adobe Mobile Experience Survey shows consumers strongly prefer mobile web browsers to applications. 

81% prefer web browser for researching specific product and price information

71% prefer web browser for comparing product and price by different retailers

The complete report is available here:

I think the take away is that dealers need to focus on having the best mobile websites possible (HTML5) and not get sidetracked into developing and supporting applications.  Even if you somehow convince a consumer to download your app so that you can market to them, the fall off rate on app usage is dismal:
20% usage the first day of download
5% usage by day 25
1% usage by day 90

Views: 240

Tags: applications, browser, marketing, mobile, notifications


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Comment by Julia Spivak on July 7, 2011 at 8:53pm

This is a great thread, I'm just curious to know how far is Canada behind USA and Europe on using this Mobile technology. Are there any Canadian dealers using mobile apps?Please share your experience. 

In my opinion, there is room for both, dealers spend tens of thousands of dollars a month on marketing, If you can use the app to  put your brand in your customer's pocket, and have control over the push messages and reminders, then the marketing budget is well spent. 

Comment by Jeff Wallen on July 1, 2011 at 12:22pm

Why do people compare mobile websites vs. mobile apps.  My guess is that your only inventory/lead focused and missing the big picture.  Here is a cut/paste of something I wrote on another forum:   (I have also linked another good read below)


My opinion to the initial question of “Mobile Websites vs. Mobile Apps. Which one for the dealer?” would be “it depends”. If your dealership mobile app is only focused on inventory and scheduling service, the need lessens for a mobile app. You will feel results from the app but it would be minimal compared to your mobile website.

On the flipside, I would say not to compare the two. A solid mobile strategy should incorporate both. Apps are not going to replace a website or mobile website; the goals of each are different. Websites are shopping tools for their main purpose. An effective app has to go much deeper to bring value and hold that “stickiness” factor to create the main goal, a connection between the dealer and the customer. 

If you focused strictly on inventory for your app, usage from a customer would be every couple of years; odds are you’re getting deleted from the customer’s Smartphone. Now throw in the ability to schedule service. At this point, the customer might use the app every couple of months or so. I still believe you’re facing an uphill battle. It wouldn’t be as bad as the strictly inventory strategy, but not nearly what it could be. I’m using worst case theories here, I haven’t even mentioned push notifications. What if the app represented more than just your dealership to the customer? What if your app represented auto in general to the customer?

Vehicle information, service history, parking meter attendant, local gas finder and many other different tools to help your customers. These features aren’t geared towards your dealership, but give you the benefit of branding and staying connected. Apps in our industry are in their infancy stages and the industry as a whole is progressing rapidly in auto. Things in development are navigation, owner’s manuals, DMS integration, etc. Imagine DMS integration coupled with push notifications. The things in development are being worked on now and will launch this year inside our industry. Imagine what types of advances are coming in the next couple of years. 

Again, mobile apps are in their infancy stages and are evolving, just as the way people research and shop. I did read the article about HTML 5; again it has to do with your intentions. One fact that is trending is people spend more time on apps then mobile websites. Mostly on games and social networking, but apps are proving to be apart of our world. I believe Apple and Google have a fond opinion of apps, so I don’t think they’re going anywhere soon. Saab is releasing a model this year that will have a touch screen that is operating on the Android OS. I possibly see that as a great place for an app and wonder if other OEM's will be doing this

I do work in the automotive app industry and wanted to give another point of view for people just starting to learn about apps. I’m not claiming that apps will revolutionize your dealership to historic proportions right out of the box, just that they at least deserve a glimpse in your mobile strategy, plenty of great companies to choose from. I’ve read some of the same comments from the same people in different places, at the least I wanted to give them a different POV.

Long story short, mobile apps + mobile websites = better answer

Comment by Curtis Brown on July 1, 2011 at 11:16am
Steve D. I agree... When in Doubt do both.  My initial response was based on research and understanding consumer trends and habits- Not to mention the sheer number of devices that are in use in the U.S.  Whichever mode you chose you cannot lose, but it stands to be said that mobile apps are in their infancy stage and as Android handsets are avail to a larger income demographic via Boost Mobile, Virgin Mobile and Cricket wireless your exposure via the mobile channel grows exponentially.  If you keep your mobile campaign value based and consumer focused it will be a success.  Today's consumer wants to be engaged instantly and directly, that will not change anytime soon.
Comment by Steve Duff on July 1, 2011 at 10:09am
We've recently implemented an app which has a nice feature that we hope will boost service loyalty; service history on up to 10 vehicles going back three years. But of course we also have mobile websites which are better for the in market crowd. If in doubt, get both. It shows the public that you are cutting edge and are always within their reach.
Comment by Stan Bradbury on July 1, 2011 at 8:45am

New browsers from Chrome and IE are presenting an "App-like" appearance with visual hyperlink of most visited websites.  At the end of the day that is all Apps will be - visual bookmarks that lead to an HTML5 experience.

James makes a critical point - your App content is not searchable.  Why would anyone in marketing hide their content from search engines?

Comment by Bernard McGranaghan on July 1, 2011 at 8:33am

Apps exploded and kicked off the mobile experience at a time when there was very little support for 'mobile browsing'. In effect they created the market for mobile browsing.

The increasingly sophisticated Mobile Websites available today will see Apps fall off in relevance for consumer shopping... after all if your website and mobile website supplies all the business functionality you need then why create an App?

The demise of the App stands to reason as there is a strong analogy with desktop PC. Every App is a computer program, would I really want to download 500 Computer programs onto my desktop in order to access 500 businesses online... No, I would simply browse to the 500 business websites. The idea of the App as a consumer shopping channel is a dinosaur.

Comment by Mark Proctor on July 1, 2011 at 7:47am
All Apps are not equal. Do the research to see the difference.

Tap to Contact, E-Commerce, Merchant Services, E-Wallet, Merchant Services, Cross-Promote w/other
Businesses, Toolbox, Departments, Inventory, Geo-Analytics, Geo Targeted Push Notifications,
Special Offers/Coupons, Driver License info//Insurance info//Credit Card, Info: for service/parts purchases
Parking Locations//Roadside Assistance//Flashlight
Comment by James Kovacs on June 30, 2011 at 9:20pm
I totally understand that "most well known businesses" have Apps. I think it is a great business strategy for Nationally recognized businesses. I just don't believe that consumers will download a Dealers App unless prompted. And even then, I think it would be mostly unused. Again, my question is "why do I need an App if I have a great mobile site?"
Comment by Dmitriy Goroshin on June 30, 2011 at 9:09pm
James,why most well known businesses(simple visit Apps stores and select category "business"to see it) already have Mobile apps in place?They also have regular websites and mobile sites too. It must be some reason for it. What do you think?
Comment by Dmitriy Goroshin on June 30, 2011 at 9:04pm
Bruce,we created one platform for all OS's and our dealers can utilize our CMs admin panel to make updates on links and content w/o resubmitting of new versions for upload. They have full control on all OS from one location including push notification with text,images and audio files.

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