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AutoNation goes mobile

Automotive retail giant AutoNation Inc. has launched a mobile Web site to increase its reach and drive additional sales.

AutoNation tapped mobile technology provider Velocitude to establish a mobile Web presence to make it easy for consumers to view and navigate its content from a smartphone. The company aims to enable unlimited access to its automotive inventory at anytime from anywhere.

?AutoNation became an early adapter by making their Web site more useable to empower consumers to access what they want, when they want, from anywhere in the world,? said Adam House, founder/CEO of Velocitude, Fort Lauderdale, FL.

?The thought strategy behind this is to give consumers more opportunity to access the information they need to make the right buying decision, that is, putting business in the hands of consumers,? he said.

?The mobile device creates a two-way communication channel where consumers can not only respond to offers, but also request specific types of information about areas of interest.?

AutoNation claims to be America's largest automotive retailer, with more than 70,000 vehicles available for sale at

Velocitude helps clients reach the mobile-Web-surfing customer by creating customized mobile Web sites.

The target demographic of AutoNation?s mobile site is anyone in the market for a new or used car.

?Mobile is the best vehicle to reach consumers because they are more likely to forget their wallet than their cell phone,? Mr. House said. ?Whether waiting in an airport, riding in a car, or sitting on the beach, people are using the Web from their mobile phone.

?This gives consumers the opportunity to search new and used cars, value their current vehicle and even schedule service from their mobile phone,? he said.

According to comScore, the number of people using their mobile device to access news and information on the Internet almost doubled from January 2008 to January of this year.

Of the 63.2 million people who accessed news and information on their mobile devices in January of this year, 22.4 million did so daily.

Although more and more customers are using mobile devices to surf the Web, some are frustrated because many sites? formatting, content and functionality were created for desktop and laptop viewing, according to Velocitude.

Most Web sites were not designed with the mobile user in mind, and Velocitude?s goal is to change that.

?Every day over 25 million consumers are spending a significant amount of their time reading news, sending emails, and making purchases from their mobile device,? Mr. House said.

?When using mobile devices such as an iPhone, BlackBerry, Palm or Android, today?s consumer wants a similar experience to that obtained on their computer,? he said.

AutoNation claims that Velocitude?s mobile platform was quickly and seamlessly integrated with the company?s main Web site.

Rather than try to port all of the wired Web site?s functionality, Velocitude helped AutoNation identify the key functions its customers need from a mobile device.

Velocitude continues to offer analysis and enhancements to help AutoNation improve its relationship with its mobile customers.

The company researched all corporate Web sites on the Fortune 500 List from a mobile device and found that approximately 10 percent had mobile sites.

AutoNation represents one in only 49 of the Fortune 500 companies with a mobile Web site.

With a mobile device in the hands of 87 percent of the U.S. population, according to CTIA, Velocitude is convinced that it won?t take long for the rest to follow suit.  

There will be a keyword on each vehicle that consumers can text in to a short code and receive full details and specifications about that vehicle via SMS or email.

AutoNation can also create an SMS call-to-action in their television, print and out-of-home ads driving consumers to the mobile device.

?This creates another channel that AutoNation can use for all of its marketing efforts and gives AutoNation real-time access to the consumer,? Mr. House said.