Yet that’s what so many car dealers are doing, says Webzation’s Richard Tavernor, by failing to fully consider their website structure and tools.
It’s all down to a lack of ‘ecommerce sense’.
‘Think about what car buyers do during the buying process,’ he says as we sit down for coffee with the laptops. ‘Taking it right back to basics, they will do all the preliminaries. Decide what they really want, work out how much they have to spend, maybe check a few dealers to see what they can get for their budget.
‘Then, if they need finance, they’ll go off to a comparison website, to get a quick loan quote. This will give them a monthly budget, upon which they base their buying process.’
Notice the big failing here? That’s right – even if they’re on your site in the first place, they’ll immediately leave you in search of finance! Enter a massive opportunity for increasing sales: keep those customers on your site, and let them do a financial search using YOUR tools.
Webzation offers this. It does this by giving car dealers the ability to integrate a finance quotation system on to their website. The web tech business has expertise in automotive, retail and financial worlds, so is well placed to offer ecommerce advice to car dealers.
‘We are passionate about the web and its various technologies,’ says Tavernor. ‘We believe things will ultimately go this way: the Top 200 car dealers may not quite be as passionate as us yet, but we reckon the reality of customers buying cars online will come much sooner than they think!
‘Most dealer sites are little more than electronic brochures. This does NOT account for what customers now want.’
You need to think how people actually now use the internet. That will be the guy who’s surfing on his laptop at 9pm in the evening while watching TV. Chances are, he’ll end up on your website if you’ve a strong enough web presence. But, as Tavernor has already pointed out, there’s an equally big chance they’ll then leave.
Enter Webzation, to stop them.
‘Probably nine in 10 customers will either assume you don’t do finance or that it will be uncompetitive.’ Turn their minds around, says Tavernor, by
demonstrating how much better than a direct lender you are. Allow them to customise the quote by terms, deposits, whether it’s HP or PCP, and so on.
‘This way, you are offering far more than a direct lender. So, if the customer likes the deal, likes the car, what’s stopping them going ahead and doing the entire deal?’
The firm’s products – quoteware, captureware, joinware and supportware – plug in to your existing website. They fully integrate with what you have, so all the customer sees is a useful extra addition to your site, rather than a clunky ‘add on’. This helps build trust.
It’s the firm’s high degree of technical expertise that allows this. This can pull quotes from a huge array of vehicle financiers, including some big names with technical demands not everyone can comply with. ‘We work with more lenders, and have built relationships with the most technically complicated firms,’ he explains.
Webzation also revels it is able to save the finance quotes and then send them direct to the lender. ‘Thus, even if it comes in at 10pm at night, it will be sitting in the lender’s attention box the next morning. They can pre-approve this and start the process before they have their first coffee.’ Speaking of which…
Over another latte, Tavernor continued with, intriguingly, the psychological factors that are at work there, too. ‘Post-credit crunch, some customers are expecting to be declined finance. They probably won’t be, but the suspicion is there,’ he says.
‘Therefore, let them go online and check for themselves! In the privacy of their own home, it’s much less embarrassing…’
Don’t leave it until it’s too late, is the essence of what Tavernor is saying. ‘Customers will often tell dealers not to worry about car finance, as they’ve already got it in place. That means no opportunity for finance from you! That’s why you should put it at the start of the process rather than the end. Get in there before the customer has done it…’
Mind you, if you’re being so speedy, you also need to get the transaction process rolling fast, too. ‘What dealers must be aware of is that if they adopt this approach, they need to then be able to react fast,’ he adds.
‘Those using the internet in such a way will automatically have a heightened expectation of response – therefore, you have to get the ball rolling, quickly.’ More psychology: you have the tools, but you will also have to modify how you work in order to best utilise them.
Change is a good thing, though. ‘The reality is, most customers don’t really like car dealers. They’ve been let down by them in the past, and are apprehensive when dealing with them. I know this – I’ve worked in the industry all my life. We thus need to work better with them, to overcome this barrier.’
To find out more contact Webzation on 0845 226 0503 or visit webzation.com.
by RICHARD AUCOCK