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Online finance tools 'can extend car buyers' time on dealer websites'

3 Shaun Harris, Codeweavers

By Tony Willard

A finance software provider has urged dealers to use simple website devices such as calculators to encourage car buyers to develop personal packages that persuade them to extend their visits.

In a test, Codeweavers studied more than 20,000 website visits. It found people who became actively involved stayed five times longer than on a benchmark site with just a static reference to finance.

Shaun Harris, sales director at Codeweavers, said: “The results of finance personalisation via an online calculator are impressive. It creates a deeper, trust-based relationship and there is anecdotal dealer feedback that it leads to self-qualified sales. This is all in line with FCA principles of creating a better customer finance experience, based on using statistics.”

Harris said dealers needed to find ways of attracting and retaining potential customers now that more than 90% of people find their next new or used car online.

“They should ask themselves how they can gain a larger share of an audience that increasingly buys across traditional geographical boundaries. Success is about creating engaging website content.”

Codeweavers has developed software that enables customers to vary their deposit, terms or mileage. “Customers who see the affordability of a PCP agreement will commonly go on and look in far more detail at a dealer’s stock, assessing 4.5 times more cars than the static site benchmark,” said Harris.

Website finance checks 'can increase leads up to 60%'

According to another technology provider, integrating online car finance checks into dealer websites drives online leads up to 60% higher. Further data from iVendi shows that up to 77% of potential customers who carry out checks prove to be creditworthy, while up to 56% of leads are converted into sales.

James Tew, director at iVendi, said: “We believe online credit checking is becoming essential to meet the needs of the increasing number of customers who want, as far as possible, to complete more of the car-buying process online.”

Car Finance Checker, launched by iVendi last year, is a device for dealer websites that, by taking a few details from potential customers, enables them to check credit eligibility.

Emac, a service plan provider, has introduced Customer Direct, a development of its online product launched 10 years ago. Angela Barrow, Emac chief executive, said: “With our customer portal, dealers can engage with consumers who manage their lifestyles online. We believe it can help dealers connect with customers, and feedback from those testing the system has been encouraging.”

Customer Direct works alongside Emac’s new Evolve operating platform, which allows dealers to set their own prices and promotion campaigns. Emac handles phone calls, emails and customer support for them. “This means that in the showroom or online, dealers can decide whether or not to offer discounts,” said Barrow.

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