Can you remember the last time you walked into a fast food restaurant and they filled your drink order? It was a short few years ago when the restaurants started handing you a cup and you dispensed the ice and your drink of choice. The shift happened as consumers demanded a better, quicker experience. Now, order kiosks are being introduced to eliminate further wait time.
While established dealership vendors have built iPad and Docupad platforms to improve the overall customer experience in the transition to F&I, this segment of F&I technology is about to burst with robust competitive offers. Startups are now beginning to appear on the scene with full online financing capabilities. In addition, manufacturers are now investing in online financing technology.
In December of last year, AutoNation launched its first online financing offering, allowing customers to value a trade-in vehicle, determine payments and apply for credit.
In June, CarMax, Inc., the biggest U.S. used car dealer, announced the rollout of a new online financing initiative to help customers pre-qualify for financing before entering the dealership.
In October, Automotive News reported on a dealership in California that was using Express Storefront, an online-buying platform from Roadster that allows shoppers to select a vehicle, get approved for credit, sift through F&I options, and set up vehicle delivery.
Even Equifax is dipping their toe in the online financing product market. This past month, John Giamalvo, the vice president of dealer services at Equifax, spoke at the National Remarketing Conference, discussing his company’s soft-pull tab for dealership websites that allows customers to get a free credit report without affecting their credit. In his presentation, Giamalvo stated that he sees growing evidence that car shoppers are ready to do more of the financing process online.
Also in November, a partnership between Drive Motors, RouteOne and Dealertrack made headlines with a collaboration that resulted in an online checkout feature for dealership websites. The feature allows customers to structure their deal online before finalizing and taking delivery of the vehicle. This creates a 24/7 sales funnel, where customers submit their information at any time of day or night. The information automatically populates into the dealership’s Dealertrack and RouteOne platforms, saving an enormous amount of time in the store. Continue reading