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A couple month’s ago, I posted a blog that got the DrivingSales community talking about how financing and the entire, old-school, 4 square process could be moved online. The argument being – this is what consumers want so what’s stopping us from giving it to them?
Since then, we've had a deeper conversation with dealers about whether or not they are ready for a connected car-selling process. And the answer was a resounding “Yes!”
Eighty percent of dealers we talked to agreed that connecting the online and in-store experience will help them sell more cars fasters. This is good news for everyone – especially consumers, 99% of who start their purchasing journey expecting it to be hassle, according to a recent DrivingSales.com study.
Thanks in large part to the transparency offered by online shopping, consumer expectations have made the traditional 4 square process obsolete. Instead, car shoppers are seeking out a pleasurable experience – and are even willing to pay more for it: a recent AutoTrader study found that customer satisfaction trumps pricing: 54% of consumers would rather buy from a dealership that offers their preferred shopping experience over one that offers the lowest price.
Another upside of connecting online and in-store processes is that transparency finally becomes a two-way street – because, by bringing financing (prequalification not just pre-screening) online, dealers will have key information before the customer walks in the door. Right now, it’s the online consumer that has a leg up on the dealer in terms of pricing and competitive information.
The vast majority of dealers (95%) we spoke to agreed that the industry should strive to create an, easy, streamlined buying experience by starting both sales and financing online. They believe it will help sell more cars faster and lead to greater customer satisfaction -- and nearly 70% of dealerships say this is a goal for their dealership.
Now that online financing (actual credit approvals with real payment terms) is becoming a reality, let’s give consumers a car buying process they can love – making the in-store experience much shorter and much sweeter.