Mobile technology changes customer behaviour

There was an increase in the number of people using mobile phones and tablets to look at car dealers and related financial products in 2014.

GForces, an internet software and service provider for the automotive industry, found that an average of 47% of visits to its clients’ websites in 2014 came from mobile phones. GForces expects that in 2015 mobile phones will be responsible for the majority of website visits.

The company said it had been observing the growth in mobile web use among consumers for a number of years, even before 2014.

Motor Finance was told that the rise in UK smartphone ownership, currently around 75% of phone users, had inevitably affected the motor industry. As a result car dealers’ websites are increasingly employing a responsive design, where they will auto format to fit a desktop and a mobile screen.

“As mobile phones get bigger, people use them for browsing and as a result consumer’s journey to buy a car has changed. Consumers often switch between computers and mobile technology during the process.”GForces group strategy director Tim Smith said.

Smith said there is a greater demand from car dealers to make their website platforms responsive to mobile technology, as it can help conversion rates.

“Those car dealers that have sites accessible from mobiles have put themselves in a good position to capitalise,” he said.

Consumers have not only been using their phones to browse car dealer websites, but also to find car finance deals.

iVendi, an online vehicle solutions company, saw mobile technology users dominating the traffic of its platform CarfinanceChecker, which allows consumers to compare financial product and performs online credit checks.

During the post-Christmas period up to 15 January 2014, 50% of visits to CarfinanceChecker were from a desktop, 27% from mobile phone and 23% from tablet. In comparison, the first few weeks of 2015 have seen 18% of visits originate from a tablet device, 40% from mobile phones, with the remaining 42% coming from desktops.

James Tew, CEO of iVendi, talked to Motor Finance about the benefits of mobile technology to the consumer and how it changed their behaviour.

“Consumers have information at hand more quickly and this is an advantage as they feel more comfortable that they made the right decision. They can easily compare offers and if they are not satisfied they can search for another deal in the proximity. It shortens negotiations,” he said.

Tew believes mobile technology use in the sector will continue to increase as phones get bigger and tablets smaller. He said that this may potentially affect consumer behaviour even more.

The increased use of this technology and reduction of desktop use has influenced the company’s decision to spend more time and resources on consumer based mobile checking, testing and designing solutions compared to previous years.