What Options are Available for Car Dealer Software for Apple Computers?
Usage of Apple computers (or Macs) for business purposes has skyrocketed after Steve Jobs worked his magic to right the Apple Computer ship and focus on incredible and incredibly low cost software and great hardware. PCs using Windows still outsell Macs 19 to 1. But, if you combine all of Windows sales vs all of Apple’s OS X + iOS sales the number is only 1.18 times Windows to Mac.
We are all going mobile and fast! Chances are you or someone in your family has an Apple device and most likely it is an iPod, iPhone or iPad.
But where does that leave you Mr. Car Dealer?
The industry has been dominated by boxed or downloaded Windows software to run your dealership, more so than in other industries. Why is that? Many of the software tools used by auto dealers were started by companies in the 80s and 90s when it made perfect sense to build software for the industry standard. Apple Computers was more of an education and design computer versus a strict business utility.
Benefits of web based car dealer software
With a big shift towards mobile, web based software is where you want to be. Let me count the ways:
– There is nothing to download or install. Everyone has the latest version and updates.
– Web based software works on any device; Apple OS X, Windows 8, iOS, Android. As long as the device you are working on has an internet connection and browser you are all set. Which leads to a great benefit.
– Mobility. How great is it to check in on your dealership while at the auction, vacation or on the go!?
– Security. With no single point of failure your data is VASTLY more secure in the cloud than on a single computer or server that can be physically stolen, tampered with, have a hard drive crash, catch a virus, have water damage, have fire damage. All bad things that can bring your business to a standstill.
– Backed up. With storage in the cloud and generally multiple copies (called redundancy) on servers all over the country your data is safe and secure. Some people use physical backup drives but A) you need to make sure to be vigilant and schedule constant backup B) suffers from the same problems mentioned above with physical storage.
– Ease of use. There are more constraints on programming web based apps, because of this many of the extra drop down menus and on-screen usability are simplified to make tasks easy. Your bank account online is an example of a web based app. Input through clicking buttons, typing numbers and saving. Easy right??
– Desktop software can’t make changes fast enough. How fast can they update for a new Windows operating system? They are spending all of their resources on that instead of making the software better for you. Eventually they’ll run in to problems as the rest of the world moves to mobile data.
– Better price. Coding or programming is generally much more cost effective for web based applications as many of the platforms and routines have already been built out. Programmers leverage the world wide open source movement and everyone wins. These lower costs are passed on to the dealer.
– Lower dealer costs. You won’t need to continually upgrade your computers and to get more horsepower to run apps. They’ll run equally well on older Macs as they do on an iPad. Your employees can use a device that they are comfortable with. If they love an iPad, they can use an iPad and not have to be trained on how to use a new device.
New dealers vs established dealers
What is the best route to go if you are a new dealer? Easy, most definitely, without a doubt go with web based software that will work on any device that you already own. You’ll be far ahead of your competitor down the road who isn’t ready to adapt to the increasing change in the dealership space.
Established dealers have more concerns as you have been using one or many products for years. The biggest concern is data migration with a focus on bringing in your current inventory and photos. Luckily, many web based applications have done a good job of creating import tools.
Data can be imported:
– Setting up a one-time or continuous feed
– Web scraping tools to grab your data from other sources
– Export from your old software via CSV, JSON or XML and importing in to the web based app
– Custom import tools (MotorLot has custom import tools for Frazer, Carsforsale and AutoTrader
Here is an example of MotorLot’s import section:
After your data is imported and manually checked by you, you can safely cancel your old software provider and remove the desktop software. Most web based software providers now provide a 15 day to 30 day free trial which makes it easy to see how you’ll like the product if you have some initial hesitation.
There is no reason not to switch or at least considering switching your current car dealer software provider to use a web based app that will work with your Apple computer or product. With SAAS based products nearing a decade in the market, many of the products are as mature as incumbents that have been around for 20 years plus. With the speed of programming and updates web based products will continue to lead the charge in innovation and value.