More automotive consumers want online purchase options—but they’re still waiting for a comprehensive solution.
These days, when consumers are looking to update their ride, a trip to the dealer lot or the showroom floor don’t seem to be as attractive as it used to be. Tired of the traditional car buying process, consumers are looking to the internet to avoid the hassle of sales pressure and paperwork.
Despite the desire for digital, there still isn’t an end-to-end vehicle purchase solution available. Some dealers are offering the opportunity to begin the vehicle and F&I purchase process online, but most qualify as marketing tools rather than a true retail structure. Certain aspects of the process still require human interaction, and some documents still need a signature in ink.
Identifying that consumers are already researching their next ride online, a few startups are aiming for disruption. But it’s the big dealer groups attempting to move selling and financing online that are the most notable. While, again, the solution is not end-to-end, customers can all but finalize the transaction online before heading to the dealership for a test drive and to sign on the dotted line
Influence on F&I
Of course, these changes are extending to the F&I side of the process as well where the threat is coming not from digital retail, but rather alternative financing options. When a customer shows up on the lot with outside financing, the dealer misses out on that revenue. That’s why it’s imperative that dealers accept and act on this trend to meet consumer needs at every turn
Vehicle consumers have long said the least enjoyable part of getting a new car is the transaction itself. Why not give them the opportunity to complete the process—start to finish—online, and mitigate the possibility of losing F&I revenue?
As our population ages, Millennials are projected to become the largest segment of the adult population—and they’ll carry a huge amount of buying power and influence. Internet savvy and always craving convenience, this demo greatly prefers a search, research and purchase alternative to traditional retail. Dealers who make the move toward technology can score new buyers and, potentially, lifelong loyalists.