Why dabbling in digital isn’t enough

Vehicle finance companies need to take a strategic approach to digital and adopt a joined-up digital finance platform to get them back on track. Story by Kevin Phillips.

Why dabbling in digital isn't enough

Today’s vehicle finance industry is only dabbling in digital. A cohesive digital finance platform is now a strategic imperative, and a joined up digital customer journey is vital for outpacing new players in the market.

Once upon a time, the dealer in his showroom was king. Customers wanting a new car would be found there, casting their hands and eyes over the shiny vehicle of their dreams. But times have changed. A recent survey found that, “many people simply don’t want to use a dealership to buy their next car”. A study from BuyaCar revealed that women in particular are going online to research and calculate the best choices at their own pace, and “avoid the stresses of pushy sales staff and face-to-face negotiating”.

Cox Automotive chief operating officer, Mark O’Neil, recently told a New York Automotive Forum that the industry is, “about a year away from completing automotive transactions entirely online”.

Vehicle finance industry is behind the curve

At a time when manufacturers are embracing digital and looking to exploit the opportunities of internet connectivity, the vehicle finance industry is behind the curve. Meanwhile, Apple, Google, PayPal and other technology companies are dreaming of connected pay-as-you-ride finance models that threaten to eat into the traditional vehicle finance market share.

Without strong digital engagement with their customers, existing providers may find it impossible to stay in the game. A new wave of fintech startups have set out to address individual parts of the complex business of vehicle finance without producing an end-to-end digital solution.

Some vehicle finance companies have attempted to ‘go digital’ tactically by adopting and integrating a range of these individual solutions. Unsurprisingly, many are discovering that the resulting collection of diverse point solutions is often highly complex, difficult to manage and expensive to maintain. Yet, it doesn’t have to be this way. Properly executed, an end-to-end financial services platform can improve transparency, increase operational efficiency and promote consistency in the underwriting process.

Vehicle finance providers should look to leapfrog their first-generation digital thinking and move straight to using vehicle finance software that offers ‘joined-up thinking’ across the entire customer life cycle.

Delivering what customers expect

Creating a next-generation digital finance platform requires strong vision and an experienced partner. A strategic solution will need to deliver on day one, but it must also be able to grow and adapt in line with changing technologies and evolving customer expectations. Your system should be able to incorporate new fintech innovations as they emerge in a way that keeps the whole solution integrated and easy to manage.

Partnering with an experienced digital finance software provider is the quickest and lowest risk path to delivering the seamless digital experience that customers expect, and your business strategy needs.

A lifelong journey

Many think a digital car-buying experience is just about choosing a car, applying for finance and then turning up at the showroom to finish the paperwork, but it’s so much more than that. It should be an end-to-end journey that keeps the customer engaged throughout. It should adapt to their lifestyle changes, then offer a smooth transition when it’s time for them to get their next car and their next finance package.

So, it’s time to stop dabbling in digital and start giving your customers a joined-up experience that puts you out in front.

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