EQUIP AND EMPOWER CONSUMERS

As appeared in the October 2016 issue of AutoJournal 

Tools of the F&I trade can accelerate sales.

As more dealers provide F&I sections on their website, some are also expanding into F&I tools.

“Many want features like payment estimators, credit applications and more details on the benefits of their finance or insurance,” says Elisa Krummen, Marketing and Communications Coordinator at EVOLIO.

In many cases, when the consumer is on the car spec page looking at a vehicle, they’ll get a call to action to apply for financing or calculate payment.

“When we develop websites for our dealer customers, we want them to be trusted advisors,” says Krummen. “We show the car shopper throughout the whole car buying process that F&I is available, from extended warranties, credit on interest if you get add-ons – it’s very important through the online process.”

Having tools like a credit application or payment calculator helps the shopper through their process.

“They can see how much they’d pay for the car and whether they’re eligible for credit,” says Krummen. “When they come to your dealership for a test drive, they’ve already taken that big step with financing. It’s easier for the sales representative to conclude a sale.”

Easily accessible

There are different templates – one may have a menu tab for financing, with an entire landing page dedicated
to the topic. Or there can be sub-menus for financing for the shopper to access express credit applications.

“Within the website, we’ll put the express credit application within a spec page of a new or pre-owned vehicle so they can link to it,” explains Krummer. “Or there might be a separate financing page with preferred rates or personalized terms, or a technical sheet with links to F&I.”’

A payment estimator is linked to from all the car pages, with a redirect to the car financing page.

“Those tools are in a number of sections, so that they’re easily accessible,” says Krummer.

According to Christine Rybas, Executive Vice President of Marketing for LGM Financial Services, consumers are more likely to purchase a product or service if they can learn about it on their own time.

“About 63 percent of all consumers were likely to purchase some type of F&I product if they could learn about it
on their own time,” she says.

For example, if they are purchasing a special tire and rim, a rollover readout could explain how road and hazard protection can cover damage from potholes or punctures.

“A more complex product like loan protection or GAP can be told in a story or a video,” says Rybas.

Sales portal

Some dealer websites allow shoppers to set up a sales portal or account.

“They can log into their account and save vehicles that they’re interested in,” says Patrick Horne, Director, Product Planning, Naked Lime. “Once they’ve selected vehicles of interest, they can appraise their own vehicles and gather information about the dealer’s F&I process. That may evolve into an entry point of the whole buying process.”