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To App or not to App?..... That is the question my fellow ADM`ers


I want to throw this out there for the ADM Group to mull over......please share your answers here.

The subject is Apps....... Does a Car Dealership really need an App? We have had two different App companies in the past four years & from my personal experience, the results of having an App are very few and far between.

I have promoted our Apps everywhere imaginable and then some.......... I even try using a "hook" to give you a reason to download our Apps........ hence our "App Only" Offers" -

I`ve posted everything from Sales/Service/Parts "App Only Offers".............. still crickets. 

Personally this is the way I see it............. I love shopping on Amazon & eBay....... & guess what? I have those Apps on my phone, because of my frequent visits to those sites. I believe the keyword is just that...... "Frequent"  -

Now think about a few things......

How often do you actually bring your vehicle in for service? Every month? Nah.... 

Every three months? Nah........


How often do you buy Parts at the dealership?


How often do you buy a vehicle at a dealership? 

Again....... how often do you really "Frequent" a dealership??? 

We have had a little success with the App......... very, very little. Not enough success to justify having one in my opinion. 

I`m not implying that our customers have not downloaded our APPs....... Some have. 

However the results........... simply put... suck.

I believe if you have a nice Responsive website and because it`s so mobile-friendly, you really don`t need an App as a dealer.

I know I know........ one of you vendors out there will probably throw this out, "It`s about customer-retention Ken"........ There are much more effective ways to harness customer retention other than an App.

It`s just a cool 10g`s a year(for two stores) that I could shift elsewhere in my overall digital-marketing-mix.

So what are your experiences & thoughts on Apps at dealerships gang??

Would appreciate a lot of input from everyone.


Ken Beam

Digital Marketing Director

Douglas Auto Group



Views: 414


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Comment by Brian Bennington on May 4, 2015 at 6:53pm

Most refreshing, Ken, that you've decided to move in the direction you knew was right all along.  It's also nice to be able to read old friends like "Big Tom LaPoint"!  Hey Big Tom, I'd be mighty impressed if those "specials" you're regularly scarfing up are guitars to replace those you smash up in your act.  If that's true, seeing your performance will be #1 on my to-do list the next time I'm in Dunedin.  And, don't forget you and I getting together for cocktails in the hereafter!  

Comment by Big Tom LaPointe on May 4, 2015 at 4:16pm

My unscientific thought (and without reading other comments), is unless you are a dealer group with something valuable to offer at least weekly, who in their right mind is going to install AND KEEP it? I don't even put in the app for my music gear supplier and i buy their specials at least a couple of times a month. IMHO

Comment by Ken Beam on May 4, 2015 at 10:55am

I think we all know the final answer to this question......... Thanks for the comments.


Comment by Albert Carrasco on May 4, 2015 at 10:26am

Yes, Please do not try to publish an app if your content sucks. BTW, you could publish your own app at if you think you're at the mercy of the vendor.

Comment by David Blassingame on May 4, 2015 at 8:28am

I have too many apps, already.  I wouldn't download a car dealer app.  Its a one time use deal.  Drop the app.  Get a mobile site.  Folks can shop your inventory without having to download another app.   (IMHO, forget the vendor that told you an app was a good idea)

Comment by Brian Bennington on May 3, 2015 at 6:31pm

Hey Ken, "Use the force."  Right now you sound like it's telling you to dump the apps.  And, are you also saying you're offering customers a discount (money out of the dealer's pocket) if they will use it?  Drew was right three years ago and he's right now.  Dump 'em, and stay away from vendors that suggest programs whose performance they can't substantiate in spades!   

Comment by Drew Ament on May 3, 2015 at 7:46am

!00% agree -- I posted this 3 years ago and STILL  believe it is valid


Dealers (and most retail outlets - Amazon, WalMart, Target, BestBuy) are still having a hard time getting consumers to install and KEEP INSTALLED an Android or IOS app - as most people will just go to the retail website (and expect it to be mobile friendly). Even brands with high loyalty and brand awareness have this problem.

I looked multiple venders dealers apps on Android/Play Store (because they show downloads) that they have published. Almost all the dealership apps have less than 100 downloads.. a few have 100-500. Do we really want to pay $1000/mnth (est cost of most apps) to only engage 500 people...and that is assuming they all still have the app installed!

As another example... at the most recent GM Digital Summit I asked how many people had downloaded the MyChevrolet app ... they refused to comment.

So I did some checking... the Android version has between 100-500k downloads (pretty sad for how many Chevrolet cars/trucks are sold), IOS does not share DL info. It also looks like they gave up on the CHEVROLET branded version... as the IOS version now just links to the OnStar app.

For Toyota -- it looks the same. Only 100-500k downloads on Android, IOS is non-reporting. Also pretty sad for how many Toyota's are sold nationwide.

Most stats and surveys show people mainly use apps and programs on their mobile for games and entertainment. Think about it... would you rather want to install and download an app to read news, or just visit -- install an application from, or just visit

Websites are (and should) becoming more mobile friendly. Visiting a site on your mobile should be just as seamless as a desktop. We need to push our website vendors to be better at handling mobile traffic (which we are)....rather than pushing the customer towards an app install - of which we will have no control over due to publishing requirements of the Android and IOS platform - the vender in that case holds ALL the cards.

Just a few thoughts.

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