Friday, December 8, 2017

Mobile Engagement Tips for the Recreational Vehicle Industry

Mobile is no longer a trend, but second nature for most people. From mobile shopping to gaming, providing exceptional mobile experiences is trickling into every industry. I’d venture to say that for most people, the recreational vehicle industry wouldn’t be the first industry to come to mind when thinking of companies doing mobile, but think about it: when you’re out on your boat in the middle of a lake or in the middle of the woods with your ATV, what’s pretty much the only thing you’ve taken with you? Your phone! It’s the perfect opportunity for recreational vehicle companies to meet their owners wherever they are–whether it’s deep in the woods or driving down Route 66. Let’s take a look at a few companies in this industry that are using mobile to enhance their customers’ experiences, and touch on where these mobile experiences excel (and where new mobile trends like Progressive Web Apps could enable an even better mobile experience).

The OneControl App
Sure, you’ve heard of a smart home. But what about a smart RV? The OneControl app by Lippert Components (LCI) is driving RV owners into the future of mobile, allowing them to control functions like the auto-leveling system, slide-out rooms, lights, door locks, and much more with just a tap on their smartphones. The app also includes how-to videos and a digital owner’s manual, which is a huge convenience factor for the on-the-go adventurer who doesn’t likely have their laptop with them, or time to wade through printed documentation.   

The power behind this app is the ease and accessibility. For the many functions an RV has, it’s a one-stop shop to manage and monitor it all. This app is a great example of increasing an end-user’s convenience on the channel they love the most.

Polaris Ride Command App
By Polaris Industries, the Polaris Ride Command app bundles the trail world into a convenient mobile app. This app puts tons of functionality in the pockets of off-road and snowmobile enthusiasts: over 300,000 miles of trails, live location updates (to easily facilitate group rides), and the ability to register your vehicle to keep up-to-date on maintenance. It’s everything you could need on the trails and off, all in the palm of your hand.

Not only does the Ride Command app provide helpful information to the driver regarding trails and vehicle maintenance, it turns the activity that owners already love (getting out there with their vehicle) into a more social experience. Many consumers now have the expectation of connecting and easily sharing real-time information with others in their network, and this app’s social features knock it out of the park in meeting those expectations.

Garmin ActiveCaptain
Garmin’s ActiveCaptain app helps facilitate a connected boating experience. From your smartphone, you can access cartography, purchase new maps and charts, and connect with other boaters within the ActiveCaptain community. In addition, the app allows you to receive notifications to your chartplotter screen to keep you connected without the distraction of your phone.

This app provides boaters with a unique way to stay connected to both helpful information and connect with other boaters while out on the water. The Garmin ActiveCaptain app is a perfect example of how a consumer’s ability to connect via their smartphones will continue to trickle into industries not normally thought of as being social.

While these apps provide great examples of how the recreational vehicle industry is doing mobile now, they could do so much more! Here are some ways these experiences could improved overall customer experience, increase customer loyalty and brand awareness:

  1. Offline Capability: Despite most people’s expectations, cellular connectivity isn’t a guaranteed on the open road. Offline functionality isn’t the norm for mobile apps in the recreational vehicle industries. Progressive Web Apps allow for mobile experiences to be cached, meaning your boater on the open waters or your hiker on the trail is going to have no problem accessing the mobile experience.
  2. Contextual activation: Ditch the download with cloud-based mobile apps! Instead of requiring customers to download an app, provide moment-specific activation methods (think: NFC, QR code, and text) to give customer a quicker, more frictionless way to the experience they want. You can display these activation methods on a label attached to the vehicle itself, ensuring your user is never far from the information or resources they need.
  3. Personalization: Imagine a mobile experience so personalized an avid boater could chart a course to their favorite fishing spot with just one tap, or an experience activated by an RV owner in the exact moment of need with information specific to the serial number of that RV. Customers expect a convenient, highly-personalized mobile experience, and if you can deliver on that, you’re guaranteed a lifelong customer that will buy your vehicles time and time again.