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Showroom innovation needs to match online rate of change

Sep 16, 2016

The online motor finance technology specialist points out that, in many cases, the technology available to choose and finance a car is far superior on a retailer’s web site than on its premises.

James Tew, CEO, said: “To an extent, dealers have a mindset where they understand the need to innovate online but see the showroom as something that doesn’t really need to change.

“The result is a disjointed sales process where, for example, a customer might be able to look in detail at finance products online but not have access to the same kind of facility when they set foot in the showroom.

“One of the key understandings to have developed over the last year, we believe, is that there are very few purely online or purely analogue customers – almost everyone jumps between the two channels and, when they do, they don’t expect to be penalised for doing so.

“A customer who has started to run through a dealer’s motor finance options on their smartphone on the train to work won’t understand why they have to make an appointment to see your finance specialist if they pop into the dealership to close the deal as they are walking past.”

The most obvious answer, James said, was to turn many online dealer services inwards, making them available on a self-serve basis in the showroom.

“We believe that this kind of self-serve will become one of the major dealer trends of the next year.

“Customers generally come to the dealership to look at the cars they would like to buy in the metal or to close the deal. They do not necessarily want to go through a traditional salesperson-centred showroom process.

“Certainly, we have made self-serve micro-comparators sites available in a number of dealerships and they are proving successful. Customers who are used to buying insurance online are more than happy to buy their motor finance in the same way.

“This, we believe, is the kind of innovation that is needed for the showroom environment to match the online world in terms of the customer experience, with the divide between the two becoming as seamless as possible.”

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