New tool unveiled to target mobile phone users

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. – Channel Blade, a provider of online lead generation, lead management and sales education solutions in the marine, RV and powersports industries, has launched a new sales tool called ePro Mobile, it reported in a recent statement.

The tool aims to help marine dealers and OEMs capitalize on the 405 million mobile Internet users worldwide using their smart phones, such as the iPhone or Blackberry Storm, to shop online, according to the company.

“Today’s consumers expect to have the ability to research their next boat on their timeline,” the company said in the statement. “Gone are the days of simply providing an informative and compelling Web site; it’s now critical for marine dealers and OEMs to showcase inventory and optimize their businesses on smart mobile phones.”

“With a 68 percent increase in mobile search activity in 2008 compared to 2007, ePro Mobile is the must-have, sales-driving tool for savvy boat retailers and marketers,” commented Chuck Lewis, president and founder of Channel Blade. “In today’s market, no one can afford to miss out on the opportunity to effectively market their business through fast-growing marketing channels.”

In addition to helping prospective buyers research existing boat inventory, ePro Mobile provides dealership salespeople with an immediate research tool whenever and wherever the opportunity to show inventory arises. A salesperson using ePro Mobile can answer buyers’ questions immediately by looking up ongoing specials and comparing models, features and specifications at the touch of a button, the company explained.

“ePro Mobile proved invaluable at the Miami International Boat Show,” said Mark Sanderson, general manager at Boat Max Ltd. in Ontario, Canada. “It’s a minimal investment that will truly help us reach more buyers and increase sales. Our team was able to access inventory in minutes rather than say ‘I’ll have someone call you’. A prospect was so impressed that he immediately pulled up our Mobile site on his iPhone.”

Sea Ray has recognized the value of this new sales channel and will be integrating ePro Mobile into its corporate Web site and dealer locator, according to Channel Blade.

“Sea Ray must reach prospects through their preferred method of communication,” said Rob Noyes, vice president of marketing at Sea Ray. “It is unrealistic to believe consumers will simply come back later if we cannot deliver content on their timeline. If someone wants to research their next Sea Ray at the airport or at the dock, we are going to make sure it is easy and best-in-class.”

Nolans RV & Marine in Denver is also launching an new ePro Mobile site. “We are in a society that is increasingly relying on the Internet to research purchases,” said Gary Dyke, rental manager. “Shopping and researching on smart phones is the cutting-edge buying habit of today’s consumers and we know that ePro Mobile will be another channel for our dealership to raise brand awareness, showcase inventory and drive more sales.”

ePro Mobile is featured as an add-on to Channel Blade’s current Web site platform, eXcelerate Pro, and users inventory will directly populate the ePro Mobile Web site. Marine dealers and OEMs that use Footsteps, Channel Blade’s lead management tool, automatically receive ePro Mobile leads submitted by consumers while non-Footsteps clients will receive leads via an e-mail notification.

For more information on this emerging sales channel, read the March Boating Industry magazine article, “Boat shopping goes mobile,” which will be available shortly on Boating-Industry.com.

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