Strengthen Your Dealership's Digital Experience with Flexible Solutions | RouteOne

Strengthen Your Dealership's Digital Experience with Flexible Solutions

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As we all know, the world of retail is swiftly changing, and the vehicle F&I industry is not immune to the ongoing shift. Vast changes in technology have empowered more consumers than ever before to begin the vehicle buying and financing process themselves, on their own devices and timeline. 

Adapting to Changes

Some people still prefer traditional tools; others opt for modern systems, and many are skilled at a combination of both. However, even the conventional crowd is learning to adapt to new methods. The longer a technology is around, the more it becomes second nature and part of the mainstream.

For example, it used to be that digitally signing your name on a Point of Sale terminal was considered “high tech,” but now consumers are completely accustomed to the practice.  Retail has evolved.  We’ve gone from old carbon-copy credit card machines to swiping a magnetic strip, to the security of the chip and mobile payments with a digital wallet for contactless payment. Some shoppers prefer to pick up their next outfit in-store, some online or from their phone.  Many subscribe to services where you answer a few profile questions; then on a regular cadence, a stylist sends multiple options that best fit your style, for you to choose from the convenience of your own home. It can be a challenge to keep up with consumers expectations.  Businesses succeed when they strive to provide a variety of digital retail options, giving consumers access to the current and future services they desire as technology and skill sets change. 

Manage Consumer Expectations

To navigate the ebb and flow of the ever-changing landscape, you need connections that allow you to meet consumer expectations while customizing your parameters. Today, many buyers assume that the shopping experience will be relatively similar for all their purchases. While it’s true that the vehicle buying process differs somewhat from buying other retail products, the basic principles remain the same.  Consumers want to browse and research vehicles online. Many strive to conduct as much of the F&I process as possible on their time, and on their own devices. Build an experience that is flexible to current demands with an eye towards changes up the road. 
Consider a seamless F&I system, where “just looking” on your website could potentially lead to a purchase. When you supply the desired tools, you can reach your own sales goals while elevating customer satisfaction levels. So what’s the next best feature you should consider implementing into your strategy? Allow customers to enjoy the convenience of remote document delivery. This technology provides the buyer with the opportunity to review the entire contract package at their own pace, from any location. They can download, print, and retain customer copies in-line with your compliance obligations. They appreciate the time to leisurely go through each line of an eContract at their own pace, instead of feeling rushed and sometimes confused in an F&I in-store closing process. Not only can customers review the documents, but you can take it a step further and also provide them with the flexibility to electronically sign the financing contract package remotely. The contract package can include ancillary documents, such as aftermarket contracts, and will provide the transparency they desire and the ability to sign exactly what they see. With a quick consent to eSign, your customer can apply an electronic signature by typing it in with a traditional keyboard or by signing with their finger on a touchscreen device. 

Everybody Wins

Once signed by your customer,  the contract is immediately accessible in electronic form to you, the dealer.  Your dealership applies the necessary signature(s) to the contract package, and a link to the final, fully executed contract is emailed back to the buyer for their records. Now you just need to meet up to take delivery of the vehicle. How’s that for optimal consumer experience? But it’s not just the customer that saves time by reducing document generation time and the F&I in-store closing process. Electronic distribution of your eContract to your finance sources will complete the fully electronic process – delivering an error-free contract to the finance source, cutting your CIT’s, and saving you valuable cash flow.

Say Hello to Today

The future of vehicle retail is already here. The line between in-store and online is blurring these days, as end-to-end digital solutions are becoming standard.  Stay true to your unique strategies but use technology to ramp up your presence in the online retail world to attract customers that desire to choose their F&I process. You are still controlling the processes, but providing consumers the flexibility to pick their own path. It will make vehicle buying an enjoyable event they want to tell all their friends about and experience again. 
Originally appeared in the March 2018 issue of Dealer Marketing Magazine by Brad Rogers, the chief operating officer for RouteOne LLC, a joint venture between Ally Financial, Ford Motor Credit Company, TD Auto Finance, and Toyota Financial Services. Brad is responsible for managing all sales, customer strategy integrations, and support services for the company.