Dealers are increasingly using digital tools to reduce the amount of “desk time” that is required to take a customer through the details of a deal, according to online motor retail specialist iVendi.
James Tew, iVendi chief executive, said he is seeing more customers prefer to complete elements of a car buying deal online rather than being stuck sat at a desk in a dealership.
Tew said: “Anyone who has bought a car knows that, once you have chosen the vehicle you want, a lengthy session sitting with the sales person is likely to follow, taking you through everything from basics such as your personal details, through to the part exchange, finance and value-added products.
“It’s a way of doing business that customers find long-winded and time-consuming and, from a dealer point of view, ties up a member of staff for hours, sometimes. It is simply not very efficient and, often, not very effective – by the time you are halfway through, the customer is frequently bored and just wants to leave.”
Tew said online processes allow the car buying journey to be simplified, with the customer given the option to complete elements online instead.
Tew said that this approach, if correctly applied, was likely to lead to increased penetration of motor finance and value-added products.
He said: “No-one much likes buying finance on a face-to-face basis. Giving the customer the option of using online tools such as finance calculators and pre-qualifiers, means that these products can be browsed online in the customer’s own time.
“This can be done before they reach the showroom or, in some cases, dealers hand a tablet to the car buyer and let them do it in the showroom, which is an approach that can be surprisingly effective. In these situations, finance sales often increase.”
Tew said penetration of warranties and service plans can also increase, although the online tools for delivering these are not yet as advanced as finance. It’s an area iVendi is working on to improve.