On Wednesday, Nov. 20, ASA hosted its monthly Webinar Wednesday featuring Jason Soto of MobileSoft Technology who discussed “The New Smartphone Consumer.”
Acknowledging that there were over 257 million smartphone users in the U.S. as of 2018, Soto pointed out that this technology has changed our lives forever and focused on how business owners can capitalize on this movement. Leona Dalavai Scott, marketing and communications consultant for ASA, welcomed attendees and introduced the webinar’s guest speaker.
Soto began his presentation by praising attendees for taking the time to learn more, identifying the desire to learn as a quality of leadership and a factor that contributes to success. He then noted, “The smartphone has changed our lives, and it’s changed the way we do business as well.”
MobileSoft boasts over 300,000 live active applications on 144 million devices, and the average smartphone consumers uses an average of 30 to 40 apps per day. “Baby boomers are using apps more and more, and 86% of users are getting their content from mobile apps installed on their phone instead of browsers,” Soto pointed out. “Today’s consumers want easy steps, and they like apps because they can collect information, schedule an appointment and more in one place. Customers can even include photos and an engine noise recording directly from the app when they schedule an appointment.”
In addition to the benefit of allowing scheduling, mobile apps allow businesses to share coupons, send messages and more. “Consumers want exclusivity, such as in-app only coupons and loyalty rewards, and location-based messaging can be a huge draw for businesses; consumer interaction rates are 96% when seeing an in-app notification,” Soto said. “Apps provide new revenue funnels and operational efficiency.”
Push notifications generate an average of three to 12 new appointments, and offering in-app loyalty cards provides customers with a reason to download the app onto their phone. “Shop owners already have their own marketing methods, but apps allow those methods to be customized,” Soto pointed out. “Your logo comes across their phone and commands their attention, and that translates into revenue.”
“Apps also provide a way for clients to connect to all of a shop’s social media channels, and it’s important to promote the shop’s app on all profiles to convert followers and fans into customers with your app on their phone,” Soto continued. “Mobile apps can be set up to accept payments, to partner with a towing company and much more. Customized apps allow shop owners the freedom to decide what works best for their business.”
Soto sees mobile apps as the next step in the digital marketing progression that began with the need for a website in 2004 and progressed to the requirement for businesses to engage on social media. “Both of those mediums changed how we do business,” Soto stated. “Today’s progression is mobile apps. You have the ability to put your shop icon on your customers’ phones, and you’re just one touch away.”
The entire process, including designing, programming, publishing and launching the app, takes 21 business days. MobileSoft charges a $299 setup fee, and a monthly fee of $149, but ASA members receive $100 off the setup fee and a 10% discount on the monthly subscription as well as a free print kit, valued at $150.
One of the largest reasons that apps fail to produce the desired response, according to Soto, is that many business owners forget to tell anyone that they developed an app. “MobileSoft delivers a complete kit that includes graphics for your website and social media so everyone knows you have an app. Once you start sending messages from your mobile app, that’s when you’ll see a return on your investment. I hope that you, as a business owner, will understand the value of mobile apps and the way the industry is going.”
As Soto’s presentation came to a close, he shared feedback from clients regarding their mobile apps. Dwayne Meyers, COO of Dynamic Automotive Corporation, said “The mobile app was a game changer. Simply put, our clients were more engaged in our shop, and it drove revenue.”
Bryan Kauffeld, owner of Ulmer’s Auto Care Center, shared, “It’s time to get an app! Our customers stare at their phones while in the lobby waiting for their car. Now, they are staring at our app! Our app is allowing us to do what is best for our customer and the company we have grown to love.”
During the question-and-answer session, Soto discussed the difference between a standard and custom build, though all of MobileSoft’s apps are custom built to market the individual business. Custom builds allow a variety of options, including integration with some shop management software providers. He encouraged interested shop owners to download MobileSoft Autoworks from their phone’s app store for a sample mobile app that allows them to explore the features offered.
Soto concluded, “Mobile apps are part of the digital evolution. They can help to establish a shop’s brand and drive business to the shop, but they help with retention as well. The client retention game has changed over the years. Once a client has your shop’s app on their phone, you can talk to them and keep them engaged.”
MobileSoft’s dedicated landing page for ASA members can be found at mobilesoft.com/ASA.
Scott encouraged attendees to download ASA To Go from their app store and reminded attendees to tune in for ASA’s new podcast, hosted by Vice President of Industry Relations, Tony Molla.
ASA’s next Webinar Wednesday is scheduled for Dec. 18 and will feature Washington D.C. Representative Robert L. Redding Jr. who will discuss “What’s Happening With Data Access Policy and What’s in Store for 2020?” To register for ASA’s monthly webinars, visit asashop.org/webinars.