Online finance software specialist iVendi is offering car retailers its latest and most advanced car sales platform product free of charge in a bid to mitigate the impact of the COVID-19 coronavirus lockdown.
Despite last week’s Government announcement that the UK lockdown of all non-essential retail businesses will continue for at least another three weeks, many car retailers have started to contemplate their recovery strategy and iVendi is equipping its existing direct dealer customer base to be ready for a lifting of restrictions.
Its new online vehicle sales software, called TRANSACT, will automatically be made available for free from this week and can be “used to progress sales digitally as far as possible in current conditions”, it said.
A recent coronavirus impact survey conducted by AM found that more than half of UK car retailers are still not equipped to complete a “contactless” online car sales process.
Before the UK lockdown fully commenced on March 23, Peter Vardy Group managing director, Peter Vardy, was first to try and boost the sector’s capability in this area by offering a free three-month trial of his SilverBullet online car retail platform to any UK car retailer.
Speaking to AM at the time, Vardy said: “For a lot of businesses there’s a sense that, if they are not able to transact online in the coming weeks and months, life will be extremely difficult for them.”
James Tew, the chief executive of iVendi said this week that the development of his TRANSACT platform, which was originally due for launch later this year, had been accelerated because it was believed to be highly appropriate for dealers working in the current circumstances.
He said: “We’ve already been providing quite a lot of help to dealers on an individualised basis through our account management team, listening to what they are going through, giving assistance where possible and gauging their mood.
“In opting to make TRANSACT available to all our direct dealers free of charge, we didn’t want to be seen to be doing something just for the sake of it. We had to be sure that it would offer genuine help to those who will use it.
“What we are doing is presenting them with something that incorporates our very latest technology and thinking, and which we believe is the ideal solution to enable sales to be maximised and progressed as far as possible under current restrictions.
“We will continue to waive any charges until we feel the car retail sector is out of the woods, however long that turns out to be.”
iVendi claims that TRANSACT is the first product of its kind to enable deals to be created online in the same way as a face-to-face conversation.
It enables flexible negotiation over price and other key factors, the sale of value added products and the ability to present multiple finance offers with instant decisioning.
Tew said: “Our research shows that 69% of used car sales don’t happen at the advertised price.
“There is price negotiation, warranties are upgraded, paint protection is added and so on. TRANSACT takes account of this and provides the means for the conversations to occur digitally as well as in the showroom.
“So, while lockdown is underway, TRANSACT can be used to manage potential transactions from a lead through to the point at which the vehicle would’ve been delivered, which can occur later. It means dealers can build a bank of effectively complete orders ready for when restrictions start to be relaxed.”