Mercedes-Benz Financial tops $2.5M in mobile payments
Mercedes-Benz Financial has received approximately $2.5 million in payments from customers via their mobile devices since launching its iPhone application last October.
With more than 11,000 downloads and 3,000 lease or loan payments since the October launch, Mercedes-Benz Financial is providing an iPad version of the application. Mercedes-Benz Financial claims to be the first auto finance company to give its customers the option to manage their accounts anytime, anywhere via mobile devices.
“What we did is make the app we have already for the iPhone compatible with the iPad, modifying it so that it runs on the iPad,” said Michael Kanzleiter, senior manager of marketing for Mercedes-Benz Financial, Farmington Hills, MI. “Over the last one or two years we’ve added a lot of service functionality, and we decided to add a mobile component that lets our customers make a payment and check their account summary anytime and anywhere via their handset.
“We realized that customers really use the mobile channel to interact with us in a flexible and convenient way,” he said. “The strategy behind the launch of the iPad version is to extend that mobile accessibility even further.
“We’re the first automotive finance company having an app for the iPhone and iPad, as well as a mobile Web site that offers the same functionality that we have in the app.”
Last month, Mercedes-Benz Financial expanded its personalized account management features to all of its customers using smartphones with the launch of a mobile Web site (see story).
Mobile Web, iPhone, iPad
Of the $2.5 million it has received, $2 million has come via the iPhone over the past six months and $500,000 has come via the mobile Web site in the past six weeks.
Mercedes-Benz Financial account holders must first register online at http://www.Mercedes-BenzFinancial.com to access the account management features of the application.
Once customers have created a banking profile, they can transfer money directly from their bank account to Mercedes-Benz Financial to make a loan or lease payment.
“Our customers can go through the app or the mobile Web site to make a payment,” Mr. Kanzleiter said. “We use the same high security standards that we have on the PC Web site.”
In addition to making payments on either leases or retail loans, customers can also view their account summary and request payoff quotes.
All iPad, iPhone and iPod touch users, even those who are not Mercedes-Benz Financial customers, will be able to locate the nearest authorized dealer location, contact a customer service representative and see what is new from the company.
Strong mobile adoption
So far the mobile Web site at http://www.Mercedes-BenzFinancial.com/mobile has received more than 8,000 visitors and more than 1,000 payments have been received.
As for the daily numbers, Mercedes-Benz Financial sees around 50-70 iPhone application downloads per day, around 150-200 visitors to its mobile Web sites a day and processes 70-100 mobile payments per day.
“Three out of four Mercedes-Benz Financial customers have a smartphone of some kind—one is an iPhone, one is a BlackBerry and one is another type of smartphone,” Mr. Kanzleiter said. “We are happy this has been so well received within our customer base.
“The iPad device can really change how people use the Internet, and we would not have converted our app to the iPad if we didn’t expect adoption to take off,” he said.
Mercedes-Benz Financial has used its existing channels to get the word out about its iPhone application and the mobile Web site, and it will do the same for the iPad application.
“We’ve promoted them on our Web site, because we assume most of the people who use the app already have an account on the Web site,” Mr. Kanzleiter said. “We will mention our mobile platforms on billing statements we send out once a month to our customers, and we also try to go through direct mail, which also helps us reach out to our customers.
“We’ve used Star magazine, a Mercedes-Benz driver enthusiast magazine where we placed ads,” he said. “We don’t go through mass channels like radio and TV.
“It’s better for us to focus on channels where we can directly reach our customers, and we’ll add iPad to our overall communications strategy.”
Here is a Mercedes-Benz Financial on an iPad: