Buying the Right Car Faster – Digital Buying Experience Shifts Expectations

How white-label auto online marketplaces help lenders, dealers and consumers with more precise information, pre-qualified customers and faster sales and loans

Car shopping used to mean showing up on a dealer’s lot and hoping to spot your car of choice, yet having very little information about pricing, options, and more importantly, the eligibility for fair financing and payment terms that fall within a budget.

When it comes to commerce, consumers are increasingly using the Internet to vet their options and ease their experience. Giant e-tailers like Amazon have been redefining the way that consumers purchase their everyday goods and services, and customers now would like to benefit from the same experience when shopping for a car, with less human interaction and a more customized experience, done mostly online.

Even as car inventories change to electric vehicles and many more innovative forms of SUVs, the auto industry has been slow to evolve. Most auto lenders rely on an indirect model for customer attainment by leveraging a strong dealer relationship that takes advantage of foot traffic on the lot, and helpful nods from the dealer finance team once the moment is met to purchase the vehicle.

Now there is a paradigm shift taking place, where consumers have the opportunity to not only research the makes and models that they want, but to also begin shopping their auto loans before they ever meet someone in person or discuss throwing in the extra floor mats.
Marketing cars online of course is not new. Incumbents of the auto industry have spent big dollars to create a digital footprint and help bring this seamless experience to consumers, while new entrants have emerged to create efficiencies through a number of online portals and exchanges.

The most profound shift to come is having the online exchange combine curated financing offers with dealer inventory into a one-stop shop for consumers. This helps the consumer to avoid the pressure of sales, and to conveniently self-select the most affordable, desirable available vehicles.

This disruption is creating the biggest opportunities particularly for lenders, as consumer financing was traditionally done only at the very end of the sales process.

Many lenders are now enabling consumers to prequalify at the early stages of the customer journey – either through their proprietary platforms or through a partnership with an established auto website.

Lenders today often want to compete with the largest financial institutions, who have much more advertising, lot relationships and resources. The white-label solution enables lenders to work more proactively through purely digital auto and finance marketplaces.

The benefits of a white-label digital auto marketplace for cars and loans are numerous:
– Increased transparency for consumers— they see more and know more
– Higher quality leads for dealers with lenders extending prequalified offers to consumers
– Stronger relationship between dealers and lenders
– Shortened process to close the deal; for the consumer, lender and dealers

From the consumer perspective, when lenders interface with them earlier in the process, they get more mindshare and ability to lock in a long-term relationship. Additionally, lenders get much higher quality leads as “hot to trot” consumers in the market for a specific vehicle do their research, engage with their financing options, and then can be conveniently routed to dealers with an offer in hand.

The biggest benefit of a white-label solution is flexibility. Many lenders and dealerships don’t have the resources to custom build websites that integrate all of the needs of the digital buying experience. This is where a white-label auto solution comes into play, which can enhance the digital experience as it allows automotive customers to interact with inventory and real offers from the lender.

Lenders can choose to limit themselves to dealers within their network of relationships and can specify the types of cars for which they will lend. They may opt to include used cars as a portion of the stock as used car financing of “off lease” models has proven to be big business in past years.

Customization, speed and a wealth of choice will always get the interest of consumers when weighing their shopping experiences.  Lenders and auto dealers fortunately have much more flexibility with the emergence of white-label auto shopping marketplaces where the consumer has better information and control, and lenders and dealers gain more visibility into the wants and needs of the prospect, and just as importantly, their qualifications to purchase.