A Tin Hat Opinion

Digital Retailing

Written by Alex Snyder

Written on December 31, 2018

The pursuit of giving the customer a way to purchase an automobile online is valiant. It makes sense. It just doesn’t work.

To date all these digital retailing products have ignored human psychology: people need affirmation when making large purchases. The most important affirmation comes from the car dealer.

Without the car dealer (the seller) there isn’t a vehicle being retailed unless it is to a customer who is fairly experienced in car buying. Sure, there are always exceptions to rules, but why isn’t 80% of car purchasing going through a digital retailing channel. Shoot! Why aren’t 80% of people buying new cars sending an Internet lead in?

People buy cars from people.

We’re not saying there isn’t a place for digital retailing; we’re saying digital retailing is flawed when it does not bring the dealer into the process early. Too many digital retailing systems are linear without multiple exit points. They become even more problematic when these systems aren’t tools of the dealership’s showroom team.

If the sales managers and sales people aren’t using it, it ain’t going to be used.

When digital retailing is not populating the credit application, or actually handling some of the paper work then those steps will be repeated when the customer is in the showroom. That instantly defeats the whole point of the customer traveling down the digital retailing path on the dealer’s website and will stop them from ever using it again.

Things get even worse when the payments quoted online are different in the store. That includes situations where a captive lender is the sole lender used online, but a different lender needs to be used in the store for some advance or loan to value situation. The customer will feel like the online experience was a bait and switch if the change isn’t well-explained by the sales person… and how many sales people do you know who can explain that?

Digital retailing has ambitiously been sold to dealers, but it is not ready. There are going to be a few more technological hurdles to overcome before it can be achieved in its purist iteration.

FRINKINtech does not sell digital retailing solutions. We connect the dealer and customer on the numbers. We use multiple lenders to avoid the bait and switch perceptions a customer may have when a different lender needs to be used. It is our belief the dealer should control the payment presentation. We also believe the dealer and customer NEED to work together. It is our mission to reduce the frictions in the dealer’s process and we are starting with the payment presentation.

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