Take a second and look around you. Where is your cell phone? I bet it’s within reach. You might even be reading this article on your phone right now. Mobile technology has put the world in your hands, and dealer software providers have taken notice.
One of the latest solutions to hit the market is Sidewayze, a patent pending mobile marketing and sales tool developed by the Longmont, Colo.-based company of the same name. Sidewayze made its official debut at Agent Summit in Las Vegas in March, where Todd Schulte, the company’s president and co-founder, says the new tool received a warm welcome.
“We’re very happy with our early successes,” Schulte says. “We have clients up and down the West Coast and we’re making great progress in the Midwest.”Walking the Lot
The customer-facing side of Sidewayze is a small window sticker with a Quick Response (a.k.a. "QR") Code box — turned on its side, in the shape of a diamond — that can be scanned to deliver dealer-supplied information about each vehicle. Each sticker also includes instructions for downloading the Sidewayze app to their iPhone, iPad or Android phone; once that process is completed, they can scan, review and compare as many vehicles as they like.
That data is housed on the Sidewayze website, and it can include a vehicle description, photos, vehicle history reports and even reviews. Dealers can print the crack-and-peel stickers themselves, and customers can scan them any time, even when the office is closed.
Better yet, customers have the luxury of reviewing all of the vehicles in detail from their computers at home by logging into their account on the Sidewayze website. They also have the option to post the vehicles to Facebook or Twitter and get feedback from their friends.
When a customer scans vehicles, they are also given several options to communicate with someone at the dealership. They can give their name, phone number or email address, or they can communicate anonymously. They also have the option to refuse contact from the dealer at all.
However they choose to communicate, Sidewayze will not share their information until given permission to do so. “We’re not sharing any personal identifiable information with anybody, unless the customer gives it,” Schulte says.Benefits for Dealers and Agents
For dealers, Sidewayze offers a new way to market and manage inventory — and new ways to access it. Dealers can sign in from their home or office computer to access their accounts, add or edit information and track which vehicles are drawing the most interest.
“They can see all the scanning that that went on, and they can see the date and time the car was scanned,” Schulte says.
All that technology comes at a cost, but it’s a low cost. “We learned the average dealership spends $654 from the time they acquire a vehicle to the time they sell,” Schulte says. The price structure he and his partners decided on is simple: Dealers pay $2 per car, per month, an amount that Schulte describes as “statistically, almost nothing.”
Sidewayze is offering agents half the revenue for dealers they sign and offering in-person and online training to help familiarize both parties with the application. “This benefits the agents because we are driving incremental profitability for the dealership through increased results, the agents can expand their product offerings into a new area, and the compensation is substantial. It's a win/win for everyone,” Schulte says.