99.6% of consumers are dissatisfied with the current car-buying process. It’s long, complex, and painstaking, and they often feel like dealerships are taking advantage of them. Plus, there’s a lot of waiting involved. Today’s consumers hate waiting. We live in a world where instant-gratification is the norm – consumers can buy a product online and have it delivered in less than an hour. And yet, the average buyer spends over 3 hours at the dealership purchasing a car.
After an hour negotiating with your sales staff and 45 minutes getting their trade-in valued, it’s no wonder buyers are tired and on the defensive. But what’s next? The dreaded F&I process. Another hour as your F&I staff diligently describes all the available upgrades and service packages that the buyer may or may not want. Throughout the entire process, the buyer may at times feel pressured, frustrated, or confused.
Buyers want a stress-free, non-judgmental atmosphere to review the options at their own pace. But most F&I processes are far from ideal. When buyers feel confused, pressured, or defensive, they are less likely to purchase F&I upgrades.
Put Customers in the Driver’s Seat
Customers want to feel in control. They want the entire process to be faster, but they also want time to ask questions and don’t want to feel rushed. At first, this may seem contradictory. How can you make the process at the dealership faster while simultaneously giving buyers more time to review F&I options and paperwork?
Luckily, there’s an easy answer to this question. It comes from outside the automotive industry. In real estate, companies are making it possible to complete more of the home-buying process online, satisfying customers’ desire for an easier, more streamlined process.
Dealerships can learn from this example by offering online checkout. Customers already spend hours researching vehicles online. Online checkout allows buyers to walk through the final stage of buying process online, in the comfort of their own home, at their own pace.
In this comfortable, no-pressure environment, buyers feel more in control of the process, making them more likely to add F&I upgrades they would normally decline at the dealership. In fact, many of our dealerships find that online orders earn $500-$700 more F&I profit per vehicle, compared to their previous averages.
Online checkout saves hours at the dealership, for buyers and staff. CRM and financing software is pre-filled. Dealerships can run credit checks ahead of time. They can also see if the buyer may have missed an upgrade that may be right for them, and recommend the upgrade when the customer picks up their car.
The Bottom Line
Maximize F&I profits by offering online checkout and letting buyers upsell themselves. Deliver a streamlined modern car-buying experience, increasing customer satisfaction and loyalty. All in all, online checkout is better for the bottom line.