Car dealerships use Bluetooth to reach new customers.
September 7, 2007
Car dealers have a new way to promote their latest models while simultaneously distinguishing themselves in the ultra-competitive consumer market - the cell phone. That's right, that ubiquitous device that almost everyone owns, already serves many functions besides just talk. Now, through some clever use of Bluetooth technology, car dealers can automatically send videos, coupons, and business cards directly to the cell phones of customers as they walk into the showroom.
Dubbed "Bluetooth Marketing", the concept is simple. A special Bluetooth server is set up in the showroom, continuously scanning for the presence of Bluetooth enabled mobile devices. When a customer steps into the showroom with a Bluetooth enabled cell phone, the server can detect this and automatically send a prompt to the user, asking if they would like to receive a message from the dealership. This message could be a video brochure, a special offer coupon, an electronic business card, or other multimedia files. If the user agrees by pressing Yes on their phone, the file(s) is sent immediately. If the user declines, the server remembers this and won't ask the same user again in the future.
So, aside from the novelty factor, what's in it for the car dealer? Well, for one thing, it gives them a great opportunity to send customers their contact details, stored as a regular phone book entry in their cell phones. Dealers are well aware that it's common for customers to shop around with several different competitors before making a purchasing decision, so when they finally are ready, it's important that they can call their dealer at literally the touch of a button. What's more, customers can easily pass along this "e-card" via Bluetooth to their friends and family.
Along with contact details, a video of a hot new car model could also be sent, or maybe details of a special financing offer. With a little imagination, car dealers could really connect with their customers in a fun and unique way.
Consumers appreciate the special offers they can receive on their phones, and also the convenience of having contact details right on their phones instead of having to keep track of business cards. Plus, they can always choose to opt out of this type of marketing entirely, just by clicking No to the prompts.
And finally, probably the biggest advantage of Bluetooth Marketing over traditional forms of promotions is cost. Since all transmissions occur over Bluetooth channels, there are never any fees associated with sending or receiving files. Once the initial equipment is purchased, the campaigns are essentially free to run.
Bluetooth Marketing has already been used very successfully in Europe, and companies in the United States are just starting to realize the potential of this technology. Marketers envision a day when consumers look to their cell phones to do everything from making calls, listening to music, or taking pictures. Now, they can shop for a new car as well.
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