3 Ways Auto Dealerships Can Use their Mobile Apps

Auto Dealership Marketing

Buying or leasing a vehicle isn’t a daily event in consumers’ lives, so why should they download an auto dealership’s mobile app? Downloading an app does bring that brand closer to the consumer’s daily life, yet the app needs to provide some useful or essential function to be downloaded and used. Let’s talk about this topic more by looking at 3 ways auto dealerships can use their mobile apps for marketing.

  • Referral Program
  • Resource for Auto Parts and Repair/Maintenance Service
  • Push Notifications of Relevant Media According to Preference


Mobile App Stats

Before we discuss these 3 ways, let’s examine some stats about mobile app usage. In an article on Dealer Marketing Magazine, called: “Mobile Apps vs. Mobile Web: Do You Have to Choose?”, we learn,

“Today’s consumers are spending more than 85% of their time on their smartphones using native apps, but the majority of their time – 84% – is spent using five apps…communication and social media apps account for the most usage, followed by games, music, and streaming video.”

The article concludes:

“The bottom line: The Web is for audience reach, and mobile apps are driving engagement from loyal customers.”

And, in an article from Digital Trends we learn:

“According to a new study from media analytics company comScore, smartphone apps now account for 50% of the time Americans spend online…”

Finally, we learn from Data Mentors:

“- 88% – The percentage of customers using the internet to shop for car”

In summation: nearly all consumers are shopping online for their cars during their auto buying journey, half of all their online time is spent on smartphone apps, and most of the this mobile app time is spent on social media or gaming apps. These stats show that using mobile apps for marketing is effective, if an auto dealership’s mobile app can stay relevant to loyal customers.


#1. Referral Program:

Mobile apps can facilitate a referral program for loyal customers, family, and friends. The referral program can offer a decent incentive, such as: cash, gift card, discount on parts/service, etc. The referral can be facilitated by the loyal customer imputing an email or phone number in the app from a prospective lead. If this lead ends up buying or leasing a vehicle, then the referrer will have money deposited in their PayPal, a check or gift sent to their mailing address, or get an email with an electronic gift card.

Mobile apps are useful for referral programs, because users can easily access them and they have offline functionality. The incentive of making money through referring people day-to-day will keep the mobile app relevant to consumers long-term. With enticing incentives and a quality mobile app, auto dealerships will have a great marketing tool to generate leads.


#2. Resource for Auto Parts and Repair/Maintenance Service:

Selling auto parts and accessories through a mobile app is a good way for auto dealerships to market their brand. Also, loyal customers can use the auto dealership’s app to track maintenance updates and be notified during repairs; business hours, costs, phone numbers, and other information can be accessed through the mobile app for the service department.

Basically, the holistic sales and services auto dealerships offer can be effectively marketed through a mobile app – items/services with more frequent sales will keep the app relevant for consumers long-term.


#3. Push Notifications for Relevant Media According to Preference:

Developing a mobile app that has value beyond the core functions of the auto dealership is a good way to stay relevant to consumers. There needs to be a reason for push notifications, which help remind consumers of the mobile app. These notifications can be based on the consumer’s chosen preferences, such as: favorite vehicles, auto topics, and local auto events (car shows, drag racing, dealership events).

Push notifications should be used sparingly to not annoy consumers, yet they offer a great way for auto dealerships to stay relevant to their loyal customers. Differing marketing strategies can be employed with what these notifications would contain, yet they should be based on customer preferences and offer real value. For instance, loyal customers can be notified of: extra incentives for the referral program, new blog article or video about their favorite car, an upcoming dealership event with free food, etc.



Even though individual consumers don’t buy or lease vehicles on a day-to-day basis, auto dealership can stay relevant to loyal customers with a custom mobile app. The 3 ways we’ve highlighted should work to entice consumers to download and keep the app on their smartphones long-term; staying relevant to loyal customers will also lead to more repeat sales. For these reasons and more auto dealerships should consider using a mobile app for marketing. eLEND Solutions understands how effective online marketing is in today’s digital economy.

If interested in learning more about streamlining sales and finance, please contact us today.

Author: Pete Maclnnis

Author Bio: Pete brings over 40 years of experience in automotive finance and technology as Founder and CEO of eLEND Solutions™. Founded in 2003 as DealerCentric, Pete is leading the company’s evolution to an automotive FinTech company that specializes in digital credit and finance solutions designed to create a more efficient vehicle purchase process for the retail automotive industry.

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