Showing posts with label Online Advertising. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Online Advertising. Show all posts

Sunday, 14 October 2012

Is your Website Mobile Optimized yet?


Nowadays a staggering  9 out of 10 New Zealanders have access to the internet, with the  time we spend online doubling since 2005. And 59% of New Zealanders using the internet are over 35 – its a myth that it is just gen Y surfing the net!
 More and more people are searching the internet and shopping online, particularly on their smartphones.  In 2013, 50% of online traffic will come from mobile devices – smartphones like the iPhone, Android, Blackberry, Windows mobile, Palm Pre). The use of these devices is sky-rocketing with 60% of Kiwis are expected to have a smartphone by the end of this year. Soon enough, all mobile phones will be smartphones.  More people than ever will use their smartphones rather than computers for surfing the internet and shopping. The ‘second screen’ is commonplace in many Kiwi households – people are looking at their smartphones and iPads whilst watching telly, or eating tea.

It is essential to keep up with the technology that your customers are using. Look at a normal website on a smartphone  – the majority look woeful. Most of them look teeny tiny and really hard to navigate - you need to pinch the screen to enlarge everything, and the pages take ages to load! A recently survey showed that 40% of users have turned to a competitor’s site after a bad experience trying to search an un-optimized website on a smartphone.

If you have website, optimizing it for mobile use is imperative.  People who are shopping on their mobiles have different needs and expectations than those who are shopping online on their lap top or PC.  They need easier to read pages, and for pages to appear quickly. They are searching for specific items, the information accessed on their on mobile needs to be easily searched and accessed. They are looking for specific makes and models, information on the makes and models that dealership has for sale, as well as dealer contact details. If your dealership does not have a mobile website, you are missing out on potential leads and sales.
As well as when people are at work or out of their office or homes, dealer mobile website use increases at weekends, when people are out and about doing the rounds of yards on a weekend. These shoppers are far along the car buying process, they will have a make, model, year and budget in mind.  The easier it is to access information about your stock on a smartphone, the more likely you will get leads and walk-ins. People’s attention spans these days are short! If someone is searching for a specific vehicle on a website that isn't mobilized  it is harder to see and access and the consumer is likely to just give up and move on to another dealer’s website that is mobile and easily accessible.

Functionality that your Mobile Website needs

1.       Good search options
The more search criteria on mobile websites, the better, i.e. Body style, make & model, price, mileage, transmission cc-rating etc.

      
2.       Vehicle Features and Description
Easy access to your vehicle’s features and your description and information about the vehicle is vital.
  
3.       How to find you
Address details, contact details and a map are key for mobile websites, so your buyers can easily find you!
4.       Easy dealer contact
The ability to find your phone number or contact you by email is important. Another valuable feature is automatic dialing  when a person can click on the salesperson’s number and have the phone ring it automatically making your dealership easily accessible.
We began to build mobile websites for our clients last year, and we have found a huge increase in leads and enquiries coming directly from dealer’s mobile websites
Mobilising your website will make it easier for customers to search your stock, find your yard and make contact.  
   
If you have a dealer website – you should have that website made ‘mobile’. People also generally prefer mobile websites to Apps, as mobile websites are easier to find – if someone clicks on your website URL on a mobile phone and you are mobile optimized, the mobile site will load automatically. 

The good news is that it is not too difficult to optimize your website for mobile.  Many local businesses provide mobile website builds, so ensure you don’t get left behind.


Monday, 10 September 2012

Get your stock moving with Video


Selling cars isn’t easy, and the internet has made it challenging for dealers to distinguish themselves. From a buyer’s perspective, another dealership is just a click away. Dealers need a way to immediately capture the customer’s attention and differentiate themselves from their competition, online video is one of these ways.

No other marketing medium creates emotional attachment like video can. Whether you’re selling a house, car or a widget, video helps you merchandise at a whole new level.

In October, Trade Me Motors will be implementing a new video technology called AutoReel. This automatically creates a simple video presentation for participating dealers’ cars for sale on Trade Me Motors. AutoReel stitches together the photos of the vehicle, and adds an automated audio voice-over created from over 2,500 pre-recorded phrases. We think it is going to be a great way for dealers to stand out from the crowd.

The process is all automated, so the good news is that dealers don’t need to do any additional work to create the AutoReel presentations and have them bolted onto their Trade Me listings. Check out a Demo of this product here.

"Watching video content on computers has become just as common as watching video content on television among online consumers" 
Dazzz Wiltshire, Trade Me 

According to Nielsen’s global survey of multi-screen media usage, watching video content on computers has become just as common as watching video content on television among online consumers. More than 80 percent of Internet respondents in 56 countries reported watching video content at home on a computer (84%) or on TV (83%) at least once a month. By contrast, in 2010, more online consumers reported watching video content on TV (90%) than on a computer (86%) in a month-long period.

Back home in New Zealand, Nielsen also tells us that over 73% of Trade Me’s audience use YouTube, justifying that online video is just as popular here as well. As video consumption becomes part of everyday life, it should be no surprise that consumers prefer the use of video in product evaluation and selection, and that includes when shopping for a used car.

So why video, and what makes a product like AutoReel so special compared to a well-constructed static car listing?

Different - It sets you apart from other dealerships and means your listings will potentially appeal to a larger audience. Not all your visitors prefer to receive content using text alone, and AutoReel means they will now have the option to watch, listen and read at the same time.

Videos are "sticky" AutoReel is a way to make information more interesting. Video engages visitors’ senses more than text, and is likely to attract more vehicle viewings encouraging visitors to look longer at your listings. This helps build long-term relationships with your visitors which can lead to more sales.

The use of video online is exploding – and if a picture speaks 1000 words, then video must be worth a million.  Can you afford not to be involved?

Please contact us here for more. 

Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Playing by the Rules

Two of the increasingly hot topics discussed this year are around the listing order displayed within Trade Me Motors and the usage of keywords. I am personally a big fan of internet neutrality and all it means for internet service providers and consumer access, however even in the big wide web world there still is the requirement for a few rules. If you have some free time Google J C Penney and Samsonite,  look for articles around the manipulation of search results. What we see on the web is dictated by the search engine we use for a number of reasons. The web is huge and so full of content that without the search engines indexing algorithms and a basic knowledge from your PC about your search behaviour you would never get relevant results along with some much targeted advertising. 
Companies like Google draw a strong distinction between those practices and techniques that are set to deceive search results commonly called ‘black-hat’ services and ‘white-hat’ approaches that are offered by legitimate SEM consultants. Everybody wants a more prominent web presence, but this has to be achieved within a set of rules and boundaries. Without this, consumers of the web will lack any relevant return on their search results. In the J. C. Penney case organic search results, those that are not ranked and displayed due to advertising payment were manipulated by the termination of hundreds of web sites links to the J. C. Penney website along with the wide spread use of keywords. The end result was J. C. Penny ranking higher is search results for Samsonite than the Samsonite companies own web site. Google took direct action against J. C. Penney and dropped their average search results from appearing in the first 1 or 2 down to a ranking around 52. Now that must have hurt.
Marketplaces are also open to the same practices and are generally policed in the same way search engines patrol the web. The goal is to always keep the consumer happy and coming back time and time again. For a site like Trade Me Motors there are a number of reasons why consumers keep returning. There is a feeling of immediacy and urgency around the auctions, and the classified listings content should be new and fresh. This is even more important now with mobile devices penetration growing giving customers ubiquitous anytime anywhere access. With each returning visit you never want to disappoint.
  
Keywords are a very efficient way of improving the quality of your Trade Me listings and being found within the keyword searches. The thing to remember about Trade Me Motors is that the keyword search is used both for keywords, and models. For any word or words entered into this field, the complete content of the listings are searched for results. This is hugely powerful.  There are broadly four types of keywords that you should consider when writing comments for vehicles. First, what features does this vehicle have and second, what benefits are standouts like safety, fuel economy, manual and a great first car etc? Third, make sure you include any common miss-spellings or miss-formatting of the model. An common example is including CX7 within the text for a Mazda CX-7. Lastly, list any selling point you have available from your dealership, like free nationwide delivery. A good clue as to what keywords are being used within the search field is to start typing then and you will see the most popular search terms automatically display. This is the ‘white-hat’ approach to keyword usage, and is all fine. What is tightly controlled by Trade Me is the  ’black-hat’ , predatory approach with the use of competitor makes and models keywords to gain an advantage within the search results and attract more people to that listing using lists of various car models. There is nothing worse than trying to search for a make and model and having the returned list containing unwanted results due to the incorrect use of or predatory targeting of keywords. This does not keep consumers engaged viewing your stock.   
 
On Trade Me, the listing order or ‘sort order’ as it is sometimes called is based on a calculation that contains a number of variables. Two of which is the date listed and the number of views a listing has generated. Above these there are two paid positions available at the top of all searches, the first being the Super Feature with the large post card images and the second being the yellow boxed Feature Listings.  Going back to my previous point that customers keep returning due to the listings always appearing fresh and new, this sort order is very important. The age old question of refreshing stock on the site reduces this experience with the returning of old listing to the top of the sort order.  If all dealers engaged in this practice, thousands of listing per day would re-appear at the top of the sort order and the newer listings would be quickly lost. At this point, nobody wins. Customers are also like train-spotters and quickly become dissatisfied with dealers whose vehicles keep returning to their watch lists. They also notice vehicles that have been sitting on Trade Me for long periods of time, that suddenly appear with a fresh date at the top of their searches –this can cause suspicion, and mistrust of that dealer.
So even though the internet is the largest non-owned entity in the world and for most part it is unregulated, the nature of it means that it does impose some of its own self-regulation. For the same reasons these guidelines are also in place for trading market places to ensure the best possible experience for the users - unless you happen to be a German living in a Coatesville mansion. 

Sunday, 20 May 2012

The View From The Cheap Seats


When you live and breathe the internet and emerging trends each day it is easy to forget that from the outside it can seem ever-changing and confusing.  Sitting in the back row of the recent Autotalk Digital Dealer conference in Auckland and listening to the presenters and feedback from the floor, you can see why sometimes messages can appear to be a bit mixed.  However, when looking at the essence and trends presented, they were all very similar and relativity easy to understand.  Let me step through a couple as I saw them.


The internet and online selling is becoming more and more competitive and as a dealer you need to take two clear basic steps to ensure that you remain successful.
 

Step one is your overall web presence and for most of us this is centred on a company website.  As we all know a website alone means little without customers viewing its content.  To drive the public towards your website there are a number of options; two options which were discussed during the Digital Dealer were:

·         Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) - This allows any search engine like Google to view and understand the content of your website. The better search engines understand your website the more chance you have of being found by customers searching for content, or in most cases, vehicles or company details. Don’t be scared to ask your current website host about SEO and how they have optimised your site. The answer should not sound complicated.

·         Search Engine Marketing (SEM) – This is generally “paid-for” promotion of your website through the use of Google Adwords where your website is listed as an advertisement above or beside the organic/nonpaid search results. To not waste money on SEM you really need to seek expert advice or do a lot of research. The tools available are very good but can take a while to get your head around.
 

Step two is leveraging a market place like Trade Me to drive customers towards your website and ultimately in the door.  Just like the broader internet, Trade Me is highly competitive but there are a number of simple tools and features that can be used to guarantee a strong presence.  To achieve a similar result as SEM gives you on the web, products like Super Features guarantee top of search presence at a fixed priced with a large format.  As per any sales cycle, from this point you need to start closing the options down for the customer. This was presented by AutoPlay in that moving the customer back to your own more controlled website with the offer of additional information or video is advantageous.  By making this a simple link you remain far more in control of the customers experience.
 

Neither of the two steps above can be run in isolation and how you balance your spend across both is a tactical decision for your business and one it would be difficult for me to be seen as unbiased on.  In essence it comes down to calculating the best value for money and if you are an AutoBase customer ask your Account Manager for a full breakdown of your listings statistics to understand what traffic your spend is driving. Your website provider should also be able to similar information.






Wednesday, 2 May 2012

Choosing a Domain Name for your Website



1. What is a Domain Name?
A domain name acts as a unique address for your website E.g. www.acmecars.co.nz. No two domain names can be the same. Once you've registered your domain name it's yours for as long as you keep paying the yearly renewal fee (usually around $60 per year). Th­e only way it can be taken off you is if you've managed to register a trademark name like www.nike.com.

2. What's the best name to get?
For example, if you’re selling a BMW Compact, you could use words in your Comments box like ‘small, sporty, safe hatchback’. ­This will mean that if someone searches for a ‘safe hatchback’, your listing will have a chance of showing up even though they haven’t specifically requested a BMW.
Using your Business Name (e.g. www.BobsCars.co.nz)
For your average business it's usually best to stick with your business name. Especially if you're going to be advertising your website mainly through offline advertising like building or vehicle signage, business cards, print adverts. ­This will help reinforce your businesses brand and if your customer remembers your business name then they can easily find your website.
Using a Generic Industry Name (e.g. www.usedcars.co.nz)
Another common option is to choose a well known word that explains what the business does. While this can be short and simple, don't be fooled into thinking that people will remember it just because it's obvious, like www.builder.com. Generic names are often forgotten faster because the customer doesn't make a conscious effort to try to remember it.
One benefit of a generic name is that it may help you get placed higher in the search results. For example, the words 'used cars' are pretty much the most common words typed into search engines by people looking to buy a used car. If you have the name www.usedcars.co.nz, you've got a head start at being 1st in the search results.
Note: Th­ere are many more things you need to do to be found by people using Search Engines, but a good domain name definitely helps.

Avoid using Abbreviations
If your business name is too long, avoid using abbreviations. For example if your business is called 'Bob's Quality Plumbing Services', resist the temptation to use www.bqps.co.nz. Just because it's short, doesn't mean people will remember it. You'd be better off using something like www.BobsQualityPlumbing.co.nz, it's not too long, and it uses most of your name.
Avoid Hyphens and Underscores
If your business name (or the name you want) is already taken, avoid using hyphens. For example, if your business is 'Quality Plumbing' and www.qualityplumbing.co.nz is taken, don't get www.quality-plumbing.co.nz.  Nine times out of ten, people will forget to type the hyphen and you'll lose that customer to whoever owns the domain name www.qualityplumbing.co.nz.
One benefit of using a hyphen is if you're trying to do everything possible to get your website found in Search Engines. If you wanted to have the words 'Used Cars' in your domain name, the Search Engines will recognize them better with a hyphen, (E.g. www.used-cars.co.nz) and show your site higher up the list of results. If you're going to do this, always make sure you have the non-hyphenated version too.

3. What Dot?
Should you get .co.nz or .com. All domain names end in dot-something. Most countries have a specific ending, for example New Zealand is .co.nz, and Australia is .com.au. While the .com ending is essentially related to America, it's widely accepted as an international ending that can be used in any country. Basically, if your customers are local or national, go with .co.nz, because it shows that your business is also local (or at least operates locally). If your customers are global, then go with the .com ending as it has a bit more respect in the international marketplace.
Avoid the second-choice endings
For your average business it's always best to get the main domain ending for your country. For example, in New Zealand .co.nz is the main ending used. This is what people will naturally type in if they are trying to remember your domain name. Also available are endings like .net.nz, .org.nz and many others, but if you use these you will lose visitors to the business who owns the .co.nz version.

Wednesday, 28 March 2012

How to write a good listing


You may be the best salesperson on the yard and be able to talk about a vehicle until the cows come home – but many salespeople struggle when putting pen to paper. Here is a checklist to help you construct an effective online listing.

Use your VMS to list the basics:
1.       Stock number
2.       Rego
3.       Make
4.       Model
5.       Year
6.       Price
7.       Transmission
8.       Mileage

Features:

Most VMS systems give you tick boxes to list features, so do load these up. However, leaving your listing at this point and adding nothing more will create a listing with nothing on it except for a list of features - most of which are stock standard - which will not entice viewers to contact you. An example of a scant listing with little information is below.
A buyer usually has a mental checklist in mind when they are looking for a car. Make a list of the things about the car you would tell a buyer on the yard, e.g.:

·         Reiterate the transmission – Auto/Manual
·         Reiterate the Colour
·         Leather seats
·         Low kilometres model
·         Economical
·         Reliable
·         Clean interior

Also tell the viewers what they should or might like to know about the car, and why they should buy it:

·         Has this car been AA appraised AA odometer verified
·         Has this car been serviced?
·         Are the on road costs included?
·         Is this car on special or reduced?
·         Does this car come with any extras?
·         How does it drive?
·         How is the exterior – any scratches, marks?
·         How many owners has it had?
·         Do you accept Trade Ins?
·         Do you offer finance options?
·         Do you help with freight if out of town?

Take these key words and points to construct a written description about the car. The key words you put into your description, as they will get picked up in Trade Me search results.

Also:
·    Load at least 5 photographs, front, back and interior/close ups
·    Don’t use capitals – IT LOOKS LIKE YOU ARE SHOUTING, is hard to read and puts people off
·    Balance information about your yard with information about the car – don’t fall into the trap of cramming your description with text all about your yard only
·    Avoid  abbreviations or industry terms that viewers may not understand to describe the car

If you do need more help, please remember your Account Manager is here to help. Email us here.

Wednesday, 7 March 2012

I’m Going the Distance – Are You?

How far would you go for the perfect vehicle? How far would you go to get the exact features you want in a vehicle? How far would you go to ensure you were getting the best possible value for money?

It seems that now more than ever we are no longer happy to settle for the closest and most convenient option. Now buyers will not compromise on personal preference when it comes to considering purchasing a car such as a cosmetic preference like the colour, or for others it might be something they feel more strongly about like engine size or a licensing restriction like transmission for example. 

Like many others nowadays, personally I do not have a land line phone, just my mobile. When I was looking to buy a car recently, I was not about to call 50 separate numbers to ask each seller a simple question about the car. In my opinion, this information should have already been written in the listing. I view the internet as basically a digital salesman. I would be highly disappointed and would probably leave without further question if I was viewing a car and simply told it was “petrol” and nothing more after enquiring about its features, so why should online be any different.  If I click into a listing and there is not enough information, I simply click out and into the next listing.  I do this without hesitation and never spare a thought for that vehicle again, even though it could have been the car of my dreams without me even knowing.
My most recent vehicle purchase was in November last year. I purchased my car from Waipukarau, which was a 5 hour journey each way, because this vehicle matched my criteria exactly. The fact that it was in the Hawke’s Bay didn’t bother me at all - it simply meant another beautiful part of New Zealand for me to explore - bonus! By the time I got to the stage of contacting the seller I had already made up my mind, I had done a ton of searching and short listing on Trade Me Motors to find exactly what I wanted. The location of the vehicle was one of the last things I looked at as that was a mere technicality as far as I was concerned. I didn’t need to contact the seller at all before I was ready to buy because the listing displayed a lot of good photos of the car including the interior, exterior and engine bay. Furthermore the comments told me everything I wanted and needed to know about the car, right down to the tyre tread and service history, which for me personally is a really important piece of information when buying a used car. This got me thinking - how many other people will happily go the distance to get the best vehicle to suit their needs? Was I road trip obsessed or was this now just the norm in the New Zealand market?
I am happy to say that it is the latter and I am far from alone. With a wide selection of all the vehicles (new and used) for sale in New Zealand at the touch of a button, it is now easier than ever to pick and choose and get exactly what you want without having to compromise.  The Nielsen Automotive Search Report, 2009 found that a staggering 24% of people will travel 2 hours or more not only to purchase a vehicle but some just to test drive before committing to the purchase.  Just under half of buyers are prepared to travel 1-2 hours to inspect a vehicle for potential purchase
Nielsen Automotive Search Report, 2009
Of course for those customers who do not enjoy long distance driving so much or who simply do not have the time, it is important for dealers to offer transport options to prospective customers, making their car buying experience a piece of cake.
There is a growing trend in people turning to social media and forums to get feedback, advice and opinions from friends, family or even complete strangers when researching vehicles. People are doing this as a way of getting a second opinion about a dealership or vehicle, and to reassure themselves that they are making an informed purchasing decision. Being able to read first hand from many different people who have purchased a vehicle without seeing it and their overall experience from start to finish is great for taking away the worries you may have and build trust. They will research and weed out the cowboys, as consumers are always happy to speak up if they have had a negative experience, or been treated badly. The more secure a customer is about the credentials of a dealer and the vehicle advertised, the more likely they are to travel or go out of town to buy that vehicle.
Dealers are also seeing the positive aspects of social media. They are adding testimonial pages to their websites written personally by their happy customers, creating Twitter accounts to show they are real people and not just a faceless online business, and using Facebook to build communities and encourage repeat business. The comment “the vehicle was exactly as described” reassures you that you are dealing with a trustworthy seller who has nothing to hide.
For dealers, making the most of all of the options available to them online encourages customers to buy.  If customers can find the information they want at the tip of their fingers, they WILL go the distance! 

By Natalie Beckham
Account and Administration Manager 
AutoBase Ltd
natalie@autobase.co.nz

Tuesday, 31 January 2012

The internet – The gift that keeps on giving

The best present we all received at Christmas was the conservatively estimated 50,000 internet capable devices opened on the 25th.  In reality this number could be four times more as this count does not include iPad's, iTouch’s or similar devices from other manufacturers.  Within our extended family there were three iTouch's and an internet TV with all connected to Facebook and Trade Me within an hour.  Without one of us spending another cent on our business we all gained a small city of potential customers in one day.   


The truth is that many of these users may already have access to the internet; however this may be through a shared device rather than a personal device.  So does this really matter? From a business perspective it does as it increases the frequency and time online dramatically.  It is hard to say what has driven this evolution and with Apple being such a major player it could be argued that either Steve Jobs identified trends earlier, or that they were so big they set them. We have moved from one shared PC in a household to a number of internet capable personal devices over the last few years; if you add up the number of devices including smart phones in your house you might be surprised.  Both Microsoft and Apple with their cloud applications now allow ubiquitous access to the same content from many devices.

Before returning to the business benefits let me relay two personal experiences.  My son got an iTouch for Christmas but not because I thought he really needed it.  It was more a gift to me to get my phone back which always seemed flat, had the sound turned down so I could never hear it ring and was full of 4GB of games!  On top of this I was sick of being woken during the night with an alert from ‘iGun Pro’ that a new and more potent gun was available for downloading.  The second experience was the introduction of an iPad to the family; once these are setup to access all your internet applications you quickly understand that these are for personal use and not to be treated like a shared device. 

So, let’s come back to the business benefits for our industry.  Business has understood the value of educating potential purchasers at a young age and none have done this better than Vodafone in New Zealand.  Their early introduction of prepay mobile and text messaging gave them a foothold on the market that in time has followed through into business as these consumers have grown up.  Telecom has unsuccessfully tried to launch a number of youth brands over the years.  For us we now have the access required to our products and services within the pockets of most kids walking down the street; the challenge for all of us is to start the interaction that turns them into future customers. This is not as hard as you think, as we know that they all head to Trade Me and Facebook and how to be successful within both these applications is well documented. 

Not to cover old ground around measuring website performance, but it is something we need to fully understand as it is the web for catching our prospects.  Firstly we need to understand the changing behavior of internet users matched with our online offerings.  For me I am more interested in the frequency and the length of the sessions rather than any other measure. The reason for this is based on the fact that in our industry websites are essentially classified sites filled with content.  A healthy website keeps people engaged and returning time and time again.  With the access barrier dropping and the number of devices increasing, frequency must increase.  If you are not seeing this trend you could be wasting effort in attracting new customers.  Why Trade Me is winner for all of us is that the mix of auctions and classified listings keeps the content fresh and ever-changing which drives urgency for users to return in case they may miss something.

Another consideration is the old UB (Unique Browser) which is the number of individual internet browser sessions that have been generated against a website. The debate here is that one user can generate a number of UB’s and there is double counting.  For a classified website like your dealerships this is a moot point; if the same person is driven to keep returning to your website through a different browser or device at a higher frequency, who cares? This is customer engagement and the goal we are all driving towards!  Another thing not to get too worried about is device substitution where a user will swap a lesser device for a better one when it becomes accessible.  An example of this is swapping from surfing the web on your mobile when access to a PC becomes available.  Two changes have reduced this behavior; users would rather stick to a device where their personal data is located, and secondly, most customised services and applications are optimized to the device it is currently being hosted on.
Let’s hope the internet and consumer electronics companies keep on giving for our benefit.

Click HERE for a PDF copy of this article.

Monday, 23 January 2012

QR Tags - What are they all about?


Lately we have had a few enquiries from dealers about QR Tags (or Codes). Namely what are they and should you be using them? You have probably seen these black and white boxes in newspaper ads, on bus shelters and on billboards. QR stands for Quick Response, and anyone with a Smartphone can use QR tags. It is simply a bar code that is read by Smartphones with cameras. (See more about Smartphones here). QR codes were invented by Toyota in 1994 to track vehicles during the manufacturing process, designed to allow the 2 dimensional bar codes to be decoded at quickly. Now anyone with access to the internet can generate a QR code in about 5 seconds.

How do you create a QR tag?
You can easily generate a QR tag using one of many websites. The website will convert a standard URL into a QR code. Once converted, you can download the QR image file and then attach it to your e-mail signature, upload it as a Facebook profile photo, print it or post it elsewhere online. Some QR-conversion sites can also encode maps, text, phone numbers or RSS feeds. QR code-generating sites include Kaywa (below), Qurify and Delivr. I've typed the AutoBase web page into this QR code generator and ticked URL:
I can put this QR code to a brochure and once scanned, it will take the user's smartphone to our website, as below: 
 
How do you get the information from the QR tag?
To read a QR tag, you need to download a QR reader on your Smartphone. These are free to download. Here are a few that popped up when I checked the App Store on my phone.
When you see a QR tag, you can scan it using your phone. The QR code will send you to whatever has been coded, i.e. a website, text, a vcard (Outlook contact business card), a text message, a phone number or other data. Here is a listing I'm looking at on my work computer:
I then my scan the QR code in the bottom right corner using my iPhone, as below. 
Once your smartphone scans the QR tag it uses a wireless network to find the hyperlink destination. This doesn't have to be a website - it could be a create a text message or go straight to a phone number, ready to call. When scanned the code above,  my iPhone took me straight into the vehicle listing page, as below, where I can now save the page to my phone for future reference.
 
Why use QR tags?
QR tags are FAST -  instant gratification. Scanning a QR tag gives you information you need immediately, for example you may be on a PC at work, or your laptop. I have scanned QR codes i have seen as bus stops to get information on the event or product the bus stop sign is advertising.  You can scan a QR code on this listing and that listing web page will appear on your iPhone, ready to save and bookmark on your phone.

Where do I put my QR tags?
QR tags can be displayed on a website page, poster, business card, brochure, signage, Facebook, Twitter. In New York, stickers with QR tags are being distributed to bus stop which Smartphone users scan to get immediate bus timetable and traffic status updates.
You could put a QR tag on a vehicle for sale on your yard that takes viewers to that vehicle's website listing. The options are endless, but the most effective way for dealers to use QR tags would be to drive viewers to their online listings or company websites. See QR tags in action on listings and dealer pages on our website www.autobase.co.nz.


Check out this video for more information and advice on how to use QR codes within your dealership.

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