Ford dealers get iPad app to use with showroom customers
Quick inventory check on tablet can avoid long search of dealers' lots
Computerworld - Ford dealers now have an iPad app they can use to quickly check available inventory and offer product information to help out customers in their showrooms.
Also included in the Showcase app is video content on car features that sales personnel can show to customers on an iPad as they shop at a dealership.
Michelle Moody, cross vehicle marketing manager for Ford, said the company started considering the app in early 2011 to improve the car-buying experience.
The app builds on the Ford.com website, which allows for configuring and comparing vehicles. Sales personnel can use the iPad app to determine what features a customer wants and then immediately check inventory to find a vehicle in stock that most closely matches those needs, Ford said in a statement.
Videos on the app can explain a variety of features such as Sync and active parking assistance, along with other features such as a lane-keeping system that Ford said might not be easy to showcase during a test drive.
Since the app can be used to check inventory for a specific car and price, it can speed up a purchase compared to a more time-consuming search for a vehicle on a dealer's lot. If the customer needs more time, the sales person can email the customer information on specific vehicles in stock.
Razorfish worked with Ford to design the app over several months in 2011, and a pilot group of 14 Ford dealers tested it starting last November. Ford offered the app to dealers starting on Aug. 1; nearly 200 dealers have signed up to use it.
Ford didn't reveal how much it cost to build the app. A spokeswoman said the program is voluntary to dealers who pay for the iPads they use and a subscription fee for the app. "Many of them are very excited about the program," she said.
Moody said that kiosks in the showroom have been available for customers to check vehicle features for some time, "but many customers were not as comfortable using these on their own."
iPad apps have been popular with car dealers. Mercedes Benz launched an iPad app in 2010 to help dealers sell cars and some cars incorporate iOS and Android devices and their apps in the operation of vehicles.
Matt Hamblen covers mobile and wireless, smartphones and other handhelds, and wireless networking for Computerworld. Follow Matt on Twitter at @matthamblen or subscribe to Matt's RSS feed. His email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Read more about Mobile Apps in Computerworld's Mobile Apps Topic Center.
- Gartner Magic Quadrant for Mobile Application Development Platforms As unprecedented numbers of enterprises build mobile applications, the mobile application development platform market continues to grow and evolve rapidly.
- The Total Economic Impact of IBM's Worklight Platform Mobile is the fastest growing consumer technology in history. As enterprises build apps to engage these new users they are facing increased complexity...
- Improve Your Mobile Application Security with IBM Worklight IBM® Worklight helps organizations extend their business across multiple mobile devices. It provides an open, comprehensive and advanced mobile application platform to help...
- Unlock the Value of Enterprise Mobility Download this guide and learn how to manage the secure deployment of enterprise mobile apps and data, while still encouraging the levels of...
- It's Chaos Out There Worried about your mobile apps? You should be; it's chaos out there. Check out this humorous video and see if you can recognize...
- Cloud Knowledge Vault Learn how your organization can benefit from the scalability, flexibility, and performance that the cloud offers through the short videos and other resources... All Mobile Apps White Papers | Webcasts
Our new weekly Consumerization of IT newsletter covers a wide range of trends including BYOD, smartphones, tablets, MDM, cloud, social and what it all means for IT. Subscribe now and stay up to date!