DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — DMEautomotive (DMEa) released results of a new study it conducted on how auto service customers interacting with QR codes and mobile apps. Based on its findings, dealers need to take advantage of mobile marketing opportunities, minus service provider apps.

Forty-four percent of respondents said they use mobile apps, but only 10 percent indicated that the use dealer or service-provider apps. What could change that are coupons offered through the customer’s mobile apps or through QR codes, as well as offering consumers the ability to schedule service appointments online through their mobile device.

“Given the massive adoption of smartphones, it’s no wonder that mobile apps and QR codes are very hot topics in automotive marketing,” said Doug Van Sach, vice president of strategy and analytics at DMEautomotive. “But our survey reveals that businesses that adopt cutting-edge technologies and then feed people irrelevant sales messages, or generic product/business info, are wasting the customer’s time and money. People demand real, tangible value, like coupons and discounts, and functionality that will make their lives easier.”

According to the study, less than a fifth of service customers have scanned a QR code. Notably, the top two “places” consumers are being directed to via QR codes are product info and links to a webpage. These are typically static, “not much in it for me” destinations, which can run the risk of quickly losing a customer’s attention.


 Where QR Codes Sent Service Customers in the Last Year

 Obtain additional product information


 Open a webpage link 


 Receive coupons or discount


 Enter a sweepstakes or promotion


 Obtain contact information for a person or business


 Make a purchase


 Connect to a social media site


 Access a survey


 Subscribe to receive emails or e-newsletters


 Make an appointment



Auto service customers also reported on what they most desire from dealership/service provider QR codes, with coupons and discounts leading the way.

Service Customers’ “Most Wanted” from QR Codes





Current store promotions



Ability to schedule online appointments

The study also found that more than twice as many service customers (44 percent) use mobile apps than scan QR codes (18 percent). And that app usage number jumps to 74 percent for the tech-obsessed 18-to-34 demographic. Furthermore, service customers using apps use them intensely, with two in three customers turning to them at least once daily. This is good news for service businesses because compared to QR Codes — which are, by nature, scan and go — mobile apps enable them to forge daily, always-there customer connections.

Despite the fact that nearly half of all service customers are now app users (a figure that will grow explosively), only 10 percent of survey respondents reported that they currently have a dealer/service provider app. And these 1-in-10 service customers that now use a dealer/service center app reported on how they most interact with it.

For service-app-using customers, the functions that they interact with the most  are coupons, dealer incentives, service reminders, etc. The least used functions include general car model/maintenance/financing info, or connecting to provider’s website.