While the car shopping experience has evolved over the years, transitioning from an in-store experience to one that can be done mostly online — one thing has remained constant: when it comes to buying a car, the #1 consumer pain point continues to be the financing process. 1
Why is it so painful? Well if you ask car shoppers, they’ll mention things like “it takes too much time”, or “there’s too much pressure to buy extras”, or sometimes it’s just a general anxiety about having to make a major financial decision on the spot….in a small office…with a complete and total stranger.
Much of the car buying process has moved online the past decade, but customers still have to go through a different process to secure the financing needed to complete the purchase. And that disconnected experience is costing dealerships time, money, and reputation.
Car shoppers want to be empowered with price transparency so they can feel confident knowing they have a monthly payment they can afford, before they arrive at the store. Today, 74% of shoppers are expressing their desire to take it a step further by saying they want to actually complete financing online before visiting the dealership.
Despite this extraordinary consumer demand for a more convenient and online financing experience, the typical dealership F&I department still isn’t well represented on car dealer websites aside from having a basic credit application page that’s nothing more than a secure web form.
Not only is this a cumbersome experience for consumers that doesn’t yield an instant result, but it also requires a Finance Manager to manually input the submitted information into their systems, and then reestablish contact with their customer hours (or even days) later to talk through next steps. Not an ideal or smooth process for either party.
Not being able to meet this basic need for a modern consumer can cost your dealership unseen dollars as your website visitor’s bounce — not because you didn’t have the vehicle they wanted, but because you didn’t provide them with an option to get a pre-approved payment on that vehicle.
While this is a very real problem, thankfully it no longer has to be. Today I’m happy to let you know that our Instant Financing technology is now available within Online Shopper, our end-to-end retailing solution.
That’s right. Car shoppers can now get Instant Financing approvals directly from your website. No more manual data entry. No more waiting for your customers to respond and never-ending games of phone tag. With Instant Financing activated, you streamline the approval process and make it easy and transparent for shoppers to find the right car and the right financing option to match.
WHAT IS INSTANT FINANCING?
Since the very beginning, Dealer Inspire’s mission has been to build a connected platform that empowers website visitors to become walk-in customers — accelerating the car buying journey and maximizing dealer ROI.
Instant Financing within Online Shopper ushers in the next-gen retailing era that allows customers to get a pre-approved, locked-in payment from your lenders on the vehicle of their choice.
Unlocking this experience builds trust, speeds up the car buying process, and provides a more positive shopping experience.
IT’S YOUR IN-STORE F&I OFFICE, ONLINE
If you close your eyes and imagine what it would be like if all of the capabilities of your F&I office were available for consumers to engage with on your dealership’s website, then you should inherently understand just how powerful Online Shopper has become now that it includes the ability to provide Instant Financing Approvals.
We built this technology to use your lenders, your rates, and your markups to provide customers with accurately priced, ready-to-close deals.
It also integrates directly with your existing credit application system (RouteOne or DealerTrack), meaning you no longer have to spend time or energy manually entering credit information into your system to secure the sale. That makes it a huge upgrade over a standard form-based credit application, or other less sophisticated “digital retailing” tools.
But it’s not just the tech that has us excited — it’s the fact that it’s providing benefits to both shoppers and dealers alike. Dealers who joined our pilot program have generated more finance opportunities, more profit per vehicle, and a faster overall turn of their inventory.
And while that covers the “F”, what about the “I”? We have you covered there as well. In addition to providing Instant Financing Approvals, you can also import your extended warranty offerings, valuable protection products, and dealer installed vehicle accessories into Online Shopper, completely rounding out the F&I profit center within your digital platform.
INTEGRATED FOLLOW-UP COMES STANDARD
Although a self-serve, online car buying experience is impactful, I think we all understand that only a small percentage of shoppers will complete the entire purchase process online before interacting with your dealership to schedule a delivery.
That’s why we’ve built SMS and Email capabilities directly into the dealer interface for Online Shopper, complete with “magic links” that take shoppers instantly back to their digital garage to continue their car buying journey. This gives you the ability to collaborate with your customers online, virtually desk their deals, and keep each customer moving towards completing their purchase.
And if you’re working with a customer who already has their pre-approved payment, then you can focus your outbound follow-up on providing additional product recommendations that grow your margins, while also giving your customers time and space to consider each on its own merit, without the pressure to decide on the spot.
SELL BETTER, FASTER, EVERYWHERE
When you activate Instant Financing, you’re providing your customers with the services and tools they want and need. This makes the car buying process easier, faster, and more transparent for everyone.
I should also note that whether you use Online Shopper or not, Cars.com subscribers can upgrade their marketplace listings with the same Instant Financing experience as well to drive even more pre-approved, ready-to-close customers to your store.
Are you ready to unlock the next-gen retailing experience on the Dealer Inspire Connected Platform today? Drop us a line, and we’ll get you set up!Let’s Do This