August 2012, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive
Buy here pay here dealers seem to fall into two categories when it comes to technology. Either they embrace technology, or they avoid it. Recently, I was asked by several dealers to explain what QR codes are, and how they apply to the used car business. QR codes are a relatively new technology, so in order to provide an accurate response to their questions, I had to do my research on the topic.
QR is an acronym for quick response. According to the article, “QR Codes for Marketing: A Unique Way to Bridge Offline and Online Media,” by HumanServiceSolutions, QR codes are somewhat of an evolution of the original bar codes we are used to seeing on many products and packages. “However,” the article stated, “QR codes contain much more information than the older bar codes.” With the evolution of smartphones, an increasing number of consumers have access to communication, interaction and data with lightning speed. This new technology translates to keeping pace with the consumer, regardless of the type of business you operate. Businesses have the option to keep pace with this emerging technology or risk getting left behind.
The aforementioned article went on to state, “A QR code works by simply scanning the code with a mobile device equipped with a camera and a QR code reader application.” Mobile applications that read QR codes are free to download on most smartphone platforms. “Once the QR code is scanned using the camera in the device, it is translated into actionable information, such as a text message or a mobile Web page.”
QR codes can be used in a number of ways for marketing and promotion of a business, product or service. The article suggests that QR codes can be integrated into many types of printed materials including print advertisements, business cards, brochures, flyers, posters, postcards, mailers, and event display material.
In order to fully understand how this technology worked, I decided to install an application on my own Android smartphone. After installing the QR code application, I scanned a QR code I located in a magazine. My smartphone was immediately directed to a mobile Web page for the company I had scanned, just like my research had explained.
As an extension of my research, I also contacted a BHPH dealer who is utilizing QR codes on all of the temporary tags that he issues on vehicles. Anyone who scans the QR code on the temporary tag would be directed to his website. From there they could view his inventory and get details on his BHPH finance program. This dealer intends to evolve the use of QR codes and put them on his business cards, since much of his business is from repeat and referral customers. In addition, his dealer management software will soon be able to imprint the QR code on Federal Buyers Guide forms which are required to be displayed on every vehicle. People who visit his car lot after hours or on weekends when the dealership is closed will be able to scan the QR code on the Buyers Guide and receive specific information on each vehicle from his website.
In summary, whether you embrace technology or not, it’s clear that technology continues to evolve and provide better, faster and less expensive ways to promote your business, interact with your customers, and increase the efficiency of your operation. All of those features are critical to growing your BHPH business successfully and profitably. For dealers who don’t embrace technology, the risk of being left behind continues to grow as we see new technology continue to evolve.
Vol. 9, Issue 6