Sparta Commercial Services cut its teeth in the thriving powersports market, which is made up of vehicles like ATVs (all-terrain vehicles), motorcycles, PWCs (personal water craft), snowmobiles and UTVs (utility task vehicles), and the company brings this rich history of consumer and municipal financing experience with them into their current array of exploits. The UTV market has been showing solid performance in recent years, with a new sales record set in 2013 of over 353k units, representing 9% year-over-year growth according to Minneapolis-based global power equipment research firm Power Products Marketing. ATV sales also continued to grow last year, with roughly 0.5% growth in Q1 followed by sustained performance for the rest of the year, according to the latest Motorcycle Industry Council Flash Report. Performance in this relatively niche, but continually growing vehicle markets, makes the case clear that companies who serve these growth markets, like SRCO, will continue to find abundant opportunities for expansion.
SRCO maintains a growing Municipal Lease-Purchase Program that assists state jurisdictional agencies like law enforcement acquire the vehicles they need, from motorcycles and trucks, to specialty tactical vehicles, helping agencies maintain capacity while coping with budgetary restrictions by allowing them to pay the cost over time rather than via upfront lump sums. The company reported adding their 13th jurisdiction in North Carolina to this lease-purchase program late last year, as Wilson’s Mills joined Charlotte, Greenville, Raleigh, and nine other jurisdictions who enjoy taking advantage of SRCO’s economical equipment financing program.
The company also maintains a growing family of online tools and products via their Specialty Reports subsidiary, ranging from their vehicle history report platforms focused on motorcycles, recreational vehicles and automobiles/light trucks (Cyclechex, RVchex and CarVin respectively), to custom mobile apps for the dealership market. The company’s mobile apps division is perhaps one of the most compelling aspects to their overall operation, given their concerted efforts to provide dealers with highly-customized customer engagement apps, as well as the rapid proliferation of smartphones in recent years, and the current boom in the mobile app space.
With over 1.3 billion smartphones shipped worldwide in 2014 and the market petty clearly divided between Google (53.2% as of January) and Apple (41.3%) when it comes to the OS device OEM market share, there is a boom going on in the customized mobile app space. With the broader custom-built software market having grown at a CAGR of 33% since 2011 according to Forrester Research, up to $136 billion this year, the health of the overall custom software market is abundantly clear. Custom mobile apps alone account for some $14 billion of this market and consumers are increasingly turning to their cell phone service as their core data pipeline as well. A new report out by Pew Research Center this month indicates that 7% of Americans own a smartphone but have neither a traditional broadband service plan or home alternatives for using the web other than their cell. Add to this the fact that 64% of all U.S. adults now own a smartphone of some kind and you have a pretty clear picture of why more and more dealerships, especially small and growing ones, are turning to companies like SRCO to develop custom mobile apps that will improve customer engagement and overall traction with their target markets.
Whether it is bringing in new consumers and alerting them to deals or specials, keeping sales personnel in touch with customers, or sending out promotions and coupons to existing clientele, custom mobile apps have become an essential tool for the dealership industry. Mobile advertisement server Medialets’ data from 2014 says it all really, 58.2% of mobile ad impressions are from apps. As apps continue to dominate mobile traffic, with the vast majority of users spending all their time in these purpose-built environments, as opposed to the mobile web, the importance for dealerships and other retail locations to have a customized, branded mobile app will only increase further.
SRCO’s Specialty Mobile Apps provide dealers with a branded mobile storefront that can make the difference between increased sales and their competition getting that same traffic. These custom-built mobile apps also provide unique features like integrated vehicle history reports, thanks to SRCO’s considerable capabilities in this area. Moreover, the company’s custom dealer apps provide other winning features like tight social media integration, easily searchable/browseable photos and videos of the dealer’s vehicle inventory, and cutting-edge QR code generating and scanning capabilities, which are built in natively to SRCO’s revolutionary app engine.
Sparta Commercial Services also offers a more lightweight customized mobile app solution called iMobileApp, which allows even tiny dealers to play in the big leagues and execute a customized mobile app storefront at a fraction of the cost that would be required to successfully pull off a comparable presence via traditional and/or web-based marketing. In fact, iMobileApp has been one of SRCO’s fastest growing offerings, with numerous businesses piling on to use the platform, including outfits like schools, grocery stores, racetracks and other retailers, in addition to the platform’s core market consisting of vehicle dealerships.
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