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Tablets are a car salesman’s best friend

By Evan Wade / November 6, 2013

The iPad was (and still is) a game changer, but it’s not just consumers reaping the benefits. Many businesses are relying on the iPad and tablets like it to enhance and streamline the sales process. Ducati armed their salesforce with an iPad-based sales enablement tool that has successfully turned window shoppers into satisfied customers. As Ducati’s sales continue to rise, their four-wheeled brethren are starting to embrace the idea of smart devices in their showrooms.

How’d they do it?

Ducati’s iPad app takes the basic idea behind Ford’s Mustang Customizer and gives it some serious teeth. On the customer side, the app allows users to configure their future motorcycle purchase according to available options, letting potential buyers build the bike of their dreams while keeping the retail location’s current inventory in mind.

On the sales side, it does even more. Retailers can check inventory across Ducati dealerships nationwide, communicate with customers and sales reps, and keep up-to-date on the latest training and product info. It’s a big change for a company that, by its own admission, struggled with issues like inventory management and internal communication in the past.

Cars are catching on

Motorcycles are nimbler than cars on the road and in the marketplace. The size, fragmentation and diversity of the auto industry makes it much harder to implement new sales techniques across the board, and some dealerships are tired of waiting.

Sonic Automotive, a North Carolina-based car lot—featured alongside Ducati in Apple’s iPad in Business profile—uses iPads to simplify and streamline the sales experience. Using a series of custom, internal apps, their salespeople can check inventory, create service quotes and even input customer information to find a car that fits their lifestyle and budget.

Luxury loves technology

One area of the automotive industry that’s always been open to innovation is the luxury category. From in-dash infotainment systems to keyless ignitions, car manufacturers have always pushed the envelope with their marquee models. Audi introduced a mobile sales tool worthy of their flagship sedan, the A8. “With the level of technology in an Audi, a traditional walk around or test drive could not fully demonstrate the extent of the vehicle’s attributes,” explained Scott Keogh, CMO of Audi America.

The Audi A8 Experience enhances the showroom tour by offering potential car buyers a virtual test drive, feature tutorials and stunning 3D visuals from every angle of the vehicle. Customers can also customize and price their own A8, access real-time news and reviews and interact with additional on-site features, all from a tablet.

Factory or custom?

Though all-in-one options like iClient are available to enterprising auto salespeople, it’s easy to see the advantages of a custom, in-house application. By creating their own apps, car retailers can have software fine-tuned for their unique needs, giving them the exact sales enablement tools they want while shelving unnecessary features they don’t.

With sales of all sorts taking a strong slant towards consultative methods, custom tablet software is the perfect high-tech solution for corporate and independent car dealers. As more success stories like Ducati, Sonic Automotive and Audi start making their way down the information superhighway, expect to see tablets popping up in car lots faster than hybrids.