ALBANY, N.Y. — Only 20% of auto dealerships use mobile tablets in their sales and service departments, according to an informal survey conducted by Auto/Mate Dealership Systems. Usage is even lower in F&I, with only 7% of F&I departments polled employ a tablet-driven process.

Auto/Mate conducted the survey from November 2014 to April 2015, with more than 100 employees responding to questions about mobile usage in the dealership.

“I think we're seeing the classic bell curve in terms of dealers adopting a new technology," said Mike Esposito, president and CEO of Auto/Mate Dealership Systems. "It's only been in the last year or two that we've seen many vendors make their solutions available on mobile tablets, and 20 percent of dealerships are early adopters.”

Esposito believes the percentage of tablet users should rise in the next few years as mobile device usage in the dealership becomes mainstream. He also cited several obstacles to widespread adoption of tablets in the dealership.

Cost played a big factor in discouraging tablet use at dealerships. It isn’t the price of hardware or software however, but the cost of expanding Wi-Fi infrastructure throughout the dealership. This is necessary to allow efficient tablet usage anywhere on the facilities.

Change was also a big obstacle as tablet usage requires a change in process at several levels of dealer operations. The changes can affect how dealers greet customers in the service lane, to multi-point inspections, to interactions with customers on the lot.

Lastly, return on investment was cited as an obstacle since it is not always clear how tablet usage can benefit a dealer’s bottom line. Dealers will be less inclined to invest in mobile tablet usage until a return is clearly defined.

With costs coming down and the growing awareness of the benefits of mobile tablet usage, Esposito predicts a huge spike in dealership adoption rates over the next few years.

"The sooner dealers create and embrace new processes for mobile tablets, the sooner they will benefit,” said Esposito.

A summary of the key takeaways from the mobile usage in the dealership survey results includes:


Mobile tablets appear to be used most often in the sales process:

  • 21% use them to search for dealership inventory
  • 20% use them to scan VINs
  • 15.5% use them to demonstrate features for customers
  • 80% of dealerships don't use mobile tablets in the sales process, but 15% would like to try


The second place mobile tablets are most often used in the dealership is in the fixed ops department:

  • 12% use them to take photos of vehicles to safeguard against false claims
  • 8.5% use them to enter VIN and vehicle information
  • 8.5% use them to perform multi-point vehicle inspections
  • 78% don't use mobile tablets in the fixed ops process, but 20% would like to try


The third ranked usage of mobile tablets in the dealership is in the F&I department:

  • 7% use them for signing and e-delivery of documents
  • 6% use them to present pricing and payment options
  • 5% use them for menu presentation
  • 93% don't use mobile tablets in the F&I process but 15% would like to try


Mobile tablets are used the least by executives and managers to review financial information:

  • 6% use them to track KPI's
  • 5% use them to view Daily DOCs
  • 5% use them to drill down into dashboard and metrics
  • Nearly 95% don't use mobile tablets to review financial information, but 11% would like to try


What do you believe are the greatest benefits to using mobile tablets in the dealership? Responses are ranked in order:

  • Improves dealership efficiency/workflow/consistency in process - 29%
  • Speeds up processes - 25%
  • Makes dealership personnel jobs easier - 19%
  • Increases customer satisfaction - 14%
  • Reduces paperwork - 7%
  • Increases revenue - 6%


What mobile tablet platform does your dealership use? Responses are ranked in order:

  • Apple iOS - 37%
  • Windows - 9%
  • Android - 7%
  • Blackberry - 1%
  • Don't Know - 13%

Originally posted on F&I and Showroom