[podcast]http://dealeradvantage.cars.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/10/How_Can_I_Create_an_Effective_Mobile_Presence_for_My_Store.mp3[/podcast]

Today’s on-the-go car buyers want on-the-go access to information about the vehicles they’re considering. A website optimized for today’s portable internet devices allows you to reach them with your listings and positions you to win their business.

Let’s look at three tips to help you connect with in-market buyers:

1. Be ready for the small screen. Create a pleasant shopping experience for your prospects by including only the most essential information. Rather than offering everything from your store’s traditional website, focus on the basics: your full inventory and your telephone and email contact information. Shopping tools such as payment calculators and directions to your dealership also are useful.

Remember to look beyond the Apple iPhone. While it captures a lot of attention, approximately 85 percent of U.S. mobile subscribers don’t own one and may not enjoy the same functionality. At Cars.com, for example, our mobile site automatically configures itself to operate correctly on more than 200 handsets.

2. Keep the clicks to a minimum. Connect car buyers to your inventory as quickly as possible. Tools that refine their search results based on make/model combinations, mileage, model year and price allow customers to begin looking at actual vehicles within a few moments.

3. Ensure your inventory is current – and complete. Help car buyers make a purchase from your store by featuring all the vehicles you carry. As they weigh their options and move toward a decision, shoppers often shift from new, used and certified to find the right fit. Your mobile site should feature all your options. Only by providing an accurate, comprehensive selection do you minimize the chance of the deal going to a competitor. Freshness of inventory matters more than ever in a mobile setting. As shoppers often use these sites while shopping, they want to know a car they see will still be at your store when they visit.

The growing popularity of portable internet devices creates a new channel that complements your offline campaigns and allows you to reach in-market shoppers. Whether you work with an outside vendor or develop your own platform, these tips should help guide your efforts and deliver the results you want.