Consumers are connected to the commercial world with their mobile devices because it’s convenient. New companies will connect with mobile devices to make money. In the next five years we will go from 1.9 billion mobile devices to over 6 billion. And these devices will have bigger screens, faster processors and more advanced features. Should these advances change your current website strategy?

Yes. (you’ll find 10 examples how dealers are future proofing below). Most dealerships are under the impression by upgrading to a mobile responsive website their mobile strategy is covered. A basic responsive website only ensures your website fits the screen size of the device, (without looking like a third-grader wrote the code). Your basic responsive website is fine if you are satisfied with your website being part consumer information discovery tool (think Wikipedia) and part visual discovery tool (think Pinterest).

The move to the mobile web is shifting the web from an information gathering tool to communication platform. The term is called peer-to-peer and Napster and Skype where the first two to figure it out. Right now WebRTC is an emerging technology that many dealers are unaware of. The technology creates a peer-to-peer connection with your website visitors and your dealership’s staff. It’s not a download or software but a set of protocols. (Think WebRTC is code like HTML)

The importance for automotive dealers.

Peer-to-Peer means once the connection is made the dealers has access to all the technology features of the device connecting. On a smartphone those include, SMS Text messaging, Instant Messaging, Voice via VoiP, Video Chat, Video Streaming, File Sharing, Document Sharing, Co-Browsing and any other app than can be developed, to display on the visitors screen. (Think smart-phone apps for your website.) Can dealerships find ways to generate revenue when connecting with consumers peer-to-peer? One thing I’ve learned about dealers is they may be slow to adopt technology (Craigslist), but if makes them money they get really creative.

The current argument from dealers is either consumers won’t download the software or its not a technology that will be widely used. The beauty of modern browsers like, Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer and Safari, is they now support peer-to-peer connections already. For example Google has their own division which spends over $200 million per year to support WebRTC development. Microsoft launched a new browser Edge to take advantage of the technology. IBM, Oracle and Cisco are developing products and platforms for the technology. It is not a question of “if” dealers will use this technology but “when”?

What your dealerships can do starting NOW!

Dealer should recognize their website can be more than an information giving and a lead capturing tool. Consumers use mobile for convenience and dealers can leverage peer-to-peer technology to enhance the online experience. Dealers can evaluate their current people and processes and ask, “Where can a peer-to-peer connection improve the experience and drive revenue?”

Examples of staff successfully using peer-to-peer technologies include: in the BDC and Internet Sales departments. HR hiring managers, reviewing resumes and video chatting with potential hires before a face-to-face visit. Finance Managers completing and error proofing documents without buyers in the office, but still face-to-face. Sales people streaming live walk around video to prospects. Parts helping online buyers select right part.

Examples of processes that can be improved with peer-to-peer technology include: online conversions, showroom appointment setting, online experience, inbound communications, email follow up, re-targeting campaigns, PPC campaigns and most importantly website lead generation.