Staying nimble in the marketplace is vital to meeting modern consumer needs. Dealers, OEMs, and FinTechs should be able to select the best tools and solutions for their individual business models. Selecting an adaptable integration partner allows choice for your unique business strategies.
Trends in vehicle buyer expectations
Many consumers prefer a modern experience when shopping for their next vehicle. Dealerships have to be flexible to meet changing consumer expectations. Staying ahead of the curve can be much more manageable when you align with partners who offer the right mix of adaptable solutions.
The concept of "the traditional customer experience" is shifting to an updated, streamlined process synonymous with transparency, automation, and convenience. Many consumers are now comfortable shopping online for virtually anything, and buying a car is included in this preferred purchasing model.
A consumer might start viewing desired makes and models online. In contrast, others might be inspired to go further with the process remotely and submit a credit application from a dealership's website. Some might even look at how to structure a payment, research trade-in values, and shop for aftermarket products. For virtually any consumer today, the purchase process begins online, even if it's just research.
Flexibility is key to keeping up with modern consumer needs. Dealers, OEMs, FinTechs, and more should be able to "choose their own adventure" and pick the best tools and solutions for their individual and unique business models. For example, an adaptable integration partner like RouteOne enables choice among various business strategies.
Dealers Are Still in Control
Creating and promoting digital paperless processes doesn't mean consumers won't need the help of dealership personnel. A dealer is still very much required to guide the customer properly before, during, and after a sale.
The industry is full of dealers who use available solutions to create a streamlined purchase process with faster funding for a modern experience. A more immediate F&I process leads to higher CSI scores and repeat business in both service and sales.
The tools dealers can access today are designed to make shopping and funding easier for both sides of the table. For example, adding an online credit application to a dealership website that automatically populates an eContract with vital information can reduce errors and save time during the deal finalization process.
Using digital solutions can create a flexible purchase path suited to each consumer's individual preferences.
Essential Pieces of a Modern Purchase Experience
Enriching online and remote processes to handle more of the required pieces of a vehicle sale will cater to modern buyers and benefit dealer personnel.
Most stores already host a website showcasing their inventory. Dealerships should also consider adding functionality that captures leads and allows shoppers to customize their deals to get a sense of their monthly payments. Also, knocking out the credit application and approval process online can save the customer time in the showroom and the dealership time in their delivery process.
And remember, one area of focus for profitability that is sometimes overlooked is aftermarket sales. Excluding protection product sales from an online or remote process could be a mistake.
Using online and remote tools to educate the customer and drive home the value of these critical products directly correlates to higher PVRs and better ownership experiences with well-protected customers.
A remote menu solution like MaximTrak GO® is a perfect example of a tool that provides a personalized customer experience, all while dealers remain in control of the presentation.
Modernizing the Showroom
Many vehicle purchases today are a combination of in-store and online – a hybrid that most likely starts remotely at some point but is completed with your help online or in-store.
A modern purchase process can be set up with all the same controls as a traditional one. An involved dealer can work with their internal team and vendors to design a custom purchase experience suited to the unique way they do business in their market.
Every dealer does business a bit differently, so adopting a one-size fits all approach for online and remote deals doesn't make sense in the same way that it doesn't make sense in the showroom.
Just because a vehicle purchase happens in the showroom does not mean it's not a modern experience. The medium may change, but the fundamentals of determining the value of a vehicle, financing, and adding protection products to a valuable purchase do not. Hybrid deals are becoming more common, with customers shopping online and finishing the deal in the showroom, but they can still benefit from the process improvement that remote and online tools provide. Promoting transparency, automation, and convenience on the floor is just as important.
A More Automated Process is Here to Stay
Customers are rewarding dealerships that embrace and provide flexible and modern experiences with repeat business in sales and service and higher CSI scores. The trend is here to stay, thanks to customer sentiment. Plus, the number of dealers turning down remote deals is less every year. Expanding a digital dealership process can mean fewer errors, less CIT, and faster funding times. Select a provider with the tools you can use to navigate the ever-changing marketplace.
The sooner industry leaders and dealers embrace a different route, the faster the industry will enjoy the new ride.
RouteOne was formed in 2002 by Ally Financial, Ford Motor Credit Company, TD Auto Finance, and Toyota Financial Services to improve the F&I process for automobile dealers and their customers. Connecting thousands of dealers and finance sources in North America for vehicle financing, RouteOne's platform delivers a comprehensive suite of F&I solutions across multiple channels: in-store, online, mobile, and via third-party solutions. Their product line-up includes credit application, eContracting, menu, online/mobile retail services, and compliance. In addition, RouteOne enables dealer choice across a wide variety of best-in-class providers through open integrations with 200+ DSPs. More information is available at RouteOne.com.
About Alex Mandeville
Alexander Mandeville is the Director of the OEM Strategy and Strategic Accounts team, leading engagement with partners and OEMs utilizing RouteOne's services to build new and unique processes in the F&I space. Before taking on these responsibilities, Alex spent 13 years at RouteOne in roles of increasing responsibility, focusing on taking RouteOne's Credit Application, eContracting, and Menu solutions to the marketplace. With RouteOne's expanding toolset, Alex has focused on helping DSPs and OEMs create modern consumer experiences. When Alex isn't working with DSPs and OEMs on enhancing customer experiences or at the park with his wife and toddlers, he can be found in the woods or on the water, depending on the season, in Michigan's great outdoors.