AutoTrader.com enters mobile commerce space
The new mobile platform will provide access to AutoTrader.com’s “Find a Car” and “Find a Dealer” shopping features, as well as the “My AutoTrader” function, letting users store, retrieve and reference past vehicle searches.
“When they are on the road, people want a mobile experience that allows them to quickly access the consideration set—they’re not spending a lot of time with reviews and articles,” said Mark Scott, spokesman for Autotrader.com, Atlanta. “With our proprietary My AutoTrader functionality available via our mobile experience, shoppers can quickly compare what they’re seeing on a dealer’s lot with other cars they looked at and saved in their ‘My AutoTrader’ area earlier from their main computer.
Offering the proprietary “My AutoTrader” function will allow car shoppers to build a list of cars they want to look at from their home or work computers during the week and quickly access those searches while out looking at and test driving vehicles during the weekend.
AutoTrader.com said that it studied the behavior and needs of its site visitors accessing AutoTrader.com via mobile devices and reviewed the mobile shopping environment before launching this mobile site.
This expansion builds on AutoTrader.com’s iPhone-optimized site, launched in 2008, and its AutoTrader Latino mobile offering, launched in 2009.
Launch and learn
Key learnings that went into expanding AutoTrader.com’s mobile-device shopping offering included a surge in visitors to AutoTrader.com via mobile devices other than the iPhone.
Like other companies, AutoTrader.com has had hits from mobile devices for some time.
Only recently had those hits started to grow to a point that indicated real and growing interest in mobile on-line auto shopping among a large consumer audience.
Currently, AutoTrader.com is generating about half-a-million unique monthly visitors via mobile devices, representing two percent to three percent of the site’s 15 million unique monthly visitors.
Also, a review of site traffic patterns coming to AutoTrader.com from mobile devices and other industry research indicates that mobile users were most interested in finding vehicles for sale and locating a dealer, versus some of the more in-depth auto reviews, research and compare functionality, auto show coverage and other auto-related content the wired version of AutoTrader.com offers.
Traffic from mobile devices to AutoTrader.com was by far the strongest on weekends.
Coupled with consumer research, this indicated auto shoppers were using mobile devices to locate vehicles and dealerships while out shopping and to quickly check and compare prices of similar cars at other area dealerships while actually on a dealer lot.
The traffic patterns to AutoTrader.com coming from mobile devices were a key factor in the decision to include access to the company’s proprietary “My AutoTrader” functionality on the mobile platform.
The “Find a Dealer” feature lets users locate a dealership via the mobile site and provide users with maps to the dealerships as well as address, phone and email contact information.
Email leads to dealers generated from the mobile site will be marked as such when they are delivered to a dealership so a dealer representative can quickly call or email back and engage a customer while they are very likely out searching for vehicles and likely in the area.
The actual address for AutoTrader.com’s mobile shopping experience is http://m.autotrader.com, although shoppers accessing AutoTrader.com from a mobile device will automatically be redirected to the mobile platform.
The platform also recognizes the mobile device accessing it and optimizes for each device.
If shoppers are visiting the mobile site from a smartphone and wish to access AutoTrader.com’s other features, they will have the option to select “View Full Version of Site” from the home screen and be redirected to AutoTrader.com’s full site experience.
“By giving access to the ‘find a car’ and ‘find a dealer’ functionality, the two other functions we found people wanted in a mobile experience, we allow for more quick comparisons or locating another nearby dealer for people using this information to optimize their day out car shopping,” Mr. Scott said.
If someone does want to have the full site experience, they have that option when the page comes up on their phone.
AutoTrader.com is running house ads on its main wired site promoting the mobile site as a way to raise awareness.
Mobile devices currently account for about 500,000 of our 15.5 million to 16 million unique monthly visitors, so those people who search for AutoTrader using their handset will be automatically get the new experience.
Currently, iPad users will get the full AutoTrader.com experience.
“Our impressions right now are that people are using iPads more like laptops and less like mobile phones or smartphones, and with the larger screen, our full-site experience made more sense,” Mr. Scott said.
“As the iPad continues to roll out and people use them more, that may change, but for now iPad users get the full AutoTrader.com site,” he said.