Dealer Insights - January/February 2013 - Dealer Digest

Auto shoppers are quickly moving to their smartphones and tablets as useful tools for selecting new vehicles. So, you need to make sure that your dealership website “reads well” on smaller screens — or your store may be left in the digital dust.

Approximately 20% of new-vehicle buyers use smartphones or tablets close to the time of their purchase, according to the 2012 New Autoshopper Study by J.D. Power and Associates, and some industry watchers believe that figure is higher. Google’s automotive market section, for example, recently estimated that 26% of new-car shoppers now use mobile devices to make queries to dealerships. Google forecasts that number to rise to 47% in 2013.

Test your website with mobile devices in mind. Can smartphone shoppers navigate your site easily to look at the images and descriptions of your new and used car inventory? Can they easily access directions to your dealership, hours of operation, service information, details on your auto parts selection, specials — and anything else you want them to see?

To aid mobile users, Google recommends a “responsive” Web design. This includes a configuration that serves all devices on the same set of URLs, with each URL serving the same HTML to all devices and cascading style sheets (CSS) changing how the page appears on each device.

It might take some time and effort to make your website mobile-friendly. But the alternative is a frustrated small-device user who will leave your site to go elsewhere.

Keep an eye on your books 

A Maine woman is currently serving an 18-month prison sentence for stealing thousands of dollars from a dealership where she worked as an office clerk for several years.

The crime was discovered when the dealership noticed discrepancies between the amounts of money being deposited in the company’s bank accounts and the sums entered in the dealership’s ledgers. An internal audit uncovered that the woman had embezzled at least $202,000 over the previous two years.

Unfortunately, such a crime isn’t unique. Fraud and embezzlement cases are reported at auto dealerships across the country regularly. If you have any suspicions about activity at your store, your CPA can perform a fraud investigation if he or she is a Certified Fraud Examiner. And, to help prevent wrongdoing from happening in the first place, he or she can help you identify areas within your dealership where current internal controls and systems are inadequate to detect fraudulent activity.


Dealer Insights - January/February 2013 Issue 


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