Webinar Discussing the Importance of Digital Retailing by Rusty West

Automotive retailing in a time of disruption has been turned upside down. COVID-19 has challenged dealers to give digital retailing highest priority. In order for dealers to win the customers’ business, it is now a fundamental necessity to master digital retailing – for a dealer to be able to stay in business.

This webinar will demonstrate how Market Scan’s Digital Retailing solutions can help dealers improve their customer’s car buying experience immediately, including minimizing the time a consumer needs to spend in a dealership – if at all. Consumers want a “clicks-to-bricks” car buying experience, which is consistent online and in-the-store. We will share how to eliminate the current disconnect between quotes shoppers receive online versus what is quoted to them in the showroom.

We will discuss how, when friction points are reduced during the car buying experience, dealers and consumers win. Speed, clarity and transparency during every step in the process – from shopping to trade in, price negotiation to financing – add to the value a retailer brings to the car buying experience, especially when the consumers spend less time in the dealership than what they have experienced before.

Coronavirus Causes Disruption and Accelerates Need for Automotive Digital Retailing Proficiency

For decades, little has changed in the way dealerships sell cars to consumers. Conversely, advances in technology have dramatically changed the way consumers by everything else.  eBay, Amazon and a plethora of other on-line portals enable us to purchase just about anything we desire from the comfort of our home.  Consumers have become sophisticated and accustomed to the ease by which technology enables providers of services to deliver experiences with instant gratification.  Most consumers want a car buying experience that is consistent online and in-store.  Unfortunately, that rarely happens.

Overnight, the coronavirus has accelerated the need for automotive retailers to become proficient in digital retailing.  It is no longer relevant or sufficient to have an ad-hoc online presence.  In order for dealers to thrive in today’s environment, they must provide a consistent, transparent and easy method for their customers to buy their products.

In this though-provoking, Digital Dealer hosted webinar, Market Scan Co-founder and President Rusty West discusses how dealerships can embrace existing technology to improve and individualize the consumer’s car buying experience, both online and in-dealership.

 

White Paper: The Five Facts of the Digital Transformation and What They Mean for You

White Paper: The Five Facts of the Digital Transformation and What They Mean for You

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A convergence of new technologies, new entrants, and more innovation on the way are speeding up the digital transformation occurring within retail automotive. Every link in the chain, from dealers and manufacturers to lenders and solutions developers, is trying to adapt successfully.

In this thought-provoking paper, Rusty West, President and Co-Founder of Market Scan Information Systems, Inc., lays out the five facts of the digital transformation and what they mean for you.

  • Big Data without science is just noise
  • Those widgets won’t carry the day (and they may make things worse)
  • Stepping back is the first step forward
  • The Journey must be made with partners who “get it.”
  • The Consumer will drive change

Learn how to successfully navigate this important transformation.

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© 2019 All rights reserved.
Market Scan Information Systems, Inc.

 

Embracing Online Selling Offers Advantages Far Beyond the Obvious

Embraching Online Selling Offers Advantages Far Beyond the Obvious

Feb 3, 2020 | Dealer Ops & LeadershipTrending Industry News

By Jack R. Nerad, Writer, Author, Radio Host, North American Car of the Year Juror

Car buyers are more sophisticated than ever before, and with that added sophistication has come higher expectations. Many car buyers want a complete end-to-end online buying experience. Millennials, who have recently vaulted to the top of the car acquisition “generations,” have difficulty understanding why they can’t buy a car the way they buy everything else — with a few clicks of a mouse or a couple of taps on a smartphone. And they aren’t the only buying group asking that question.

Many traditional car buyers who plan to visit a showroom, kick some tires, engage with a salesperson and complete the transaction there would like to get a head start on the process by doing much of the dreaded “paperwork” online at home before visiting the dealership. And pretty much nobody — even the oldest Baby Boomer who fancies himself a great negotiator — wants to spend hours in the store getting the deal done, especially when they know it doesn’t have to be that way.

Making things simple for the consumer has always been a magic formula for retailers from the days of the 5 and 10-cent store and the self-service “supermarket” to Amazon and eBay.

Now, finally, that realization is hitting car retailers, and they are making the turn toward online retailing, some jumping all in, some hedging between a fully online buying experience while retaining some traditional processes.

This environment of change has been a difficult one for most dealers to work through. And in many instances, the “if-it-ain’t-broke-don’t-fix-it” philosophy has prevailed. But one place where the most hidebound, old-school dealership cannot avoid crossing over into the online retailing world is the use of third-party lead-providers, classifieds, and aggregators. If that dealership uses any of those services, that dealer is not only online, but the odds are the dealership’s ads contain price quotes. So, whether it wants to be or not, that dealership is in the online retailing business.

Of course, there are thousands of stores that have an online presence — their own website, subscriptions, and affiliations with third-party sites, and an internal process for online-generated sales. They might think of themselves as progressive, and in many ways, they are, but they haven’t embraced all the aspects of online sales that will change their in-store business for the better. They are represented online in numerous places, and often their inventory is listed online with accompanying prices and terms.

While that has its advantages, it can also provide problems. Why? The prices and terms are inaccurate or don’t represent a deal the dealer wants to consummate.

“Most of the time, the payments that are quoted online through digital retailing companies aren’t remotely similar to the payments that are presented to the consumer when they enter the dealership,” said Rusty West, co-founder of Camarillo-Calif.-based Market Scan, a leading automotive data and retailing solutions’ provider. “If you talk to any dealership today, and ask them which is their biggest source of heartburn in their online digital retailing efforts, they’ll tell you: “a customer comes in, and the payments aren’t right.”

The reason that it is so important is, in true online retailing, consumers expect to see price and associated terms upfront, right now. And they depend on the fact the price and terms presented to them are accurate and, equally important, that they can complete a deal with the dealership using precisely those terms. You immediately can grasp in light of those expectations how critical it is to deliver real “contract-ready” price and terms (initial payment, monthly payments, number of payments, etc.) In the absence of that degree of specificity, it is impossible to complete a transaction online.

While not every car buyer is a price buyer, study after study has indicated the consumers will pay a higher price for what they see as a better level of service (like saving time, for instance) — in an online selling environment, getting the price right is paramount. Set the price/terms too low, and you’ll get a lot of consumer interest, but if you can’t meet your business goals at those prices, you’ll have to do a lot of in-store negotiation to make sales, and it is likely the customers will be disgruntled, resulting in a hit to CSI, negative word of mouth, and perhaps bad online reviews. Set the price/terms too high and many consumers who might otherwise consider your store will shop elsewhere.

5 Best Practices for Selling to Online Buyers

1) Transparency and consistency
Online buyers demand to see real pricing and terms.

Terms must be spelled out clearly, giving the consumer choices representing deals that the dealership will consummate “as is.” In other words, pricing presented online can – and must – be identical to pricing presented in the store.

2) Visuals
Online buyers want to see what they are buying; provide online shoppers with dozens of photos of each vehicle.

3) Stop/Start Functionality Online
Online shoppers want the ability to “save their work” by archiving their research and their form-filling.

4) Single Point of Contact
Online consumers want to interact with decision-makers who can help them all the way to de-livery.

5) Make It Quick and Complete
Enabling a quick, easy buying process is the number one desire of most car buyers.

If you work with multiple lenders and are located in a state and locality with complicated tax and fee rules, how do you arrive at the right price/terms for every stick of inventory on your lot? The answer is – you need technology.

“We were founded under the premise that there is only one scientifically perfect solution for any automotive transaction, and any solution that’s less than perfect negatively impacts four different sectors of the market: the consumer, the dealer, the lender, and the manufacturer,” West said. “From a dealership standpoint, any solution that’s less than perfect invariably results in lost revenues or overlooked opportunities. So, for us to calculate the scientifically perfect solution for every transaction, we have to consider five classes of data. That’s the manufacturer, the lender, the municipality, the dealership, and the consumer. And the consumer is a wild card. Every consumer has their own budget, credit profile, and appetite for a particular vehicle.”

In putting all this together, it is critical to build into the price/terms everything the dealership wants to achieve for the transaction, including a gross profit and fee structure that achieves the profitability the dealer needs from that sale. A Market Scan tool automates this process into a set-it-and-forget-it cornerstone of the process, though exceptions — a potential high-profit over-MSRP opportunity — are easy to make. Of course, the price/deal for each individual consumer must match perfectly with their credit score, credit history, and other circumstances that could affect the deal.

“The goal is to make sure that every contract or every payment quoted to a consumer is not just 100% accurate based on the information that’s out there, but it’s also compliant with the lending institution, the manufacturer, everything,” West said. “It’s a contract. It’s a payment that could be contracted and get funded, so we could get this contract done.”

Once you have a solid price and set of associated deals that are competitive in the marketplace, meet the store’s business goals, are lender-compliant, and square up with the tax/fee environment in which the dealer is located, you have a gateway to a whole new way of doing business. Not only can vehicle sales be completed end-to-end online, but also the in-dealership sales process can be altered for the benefit of consumer, dealer and dealership personnel.

Take the same process, for example. By enabling each salesperson to access the very same data available to the online shopper, the salesperson can adopt a much more professional, consultative approach with each client. Based on various iterations of the same “deal,” different upfront payments, monthly payments, and term lengths, the salesperson can help the customer determine which is best for her or his needs, knowing that each of the choices is an equally good deal for the store.

Another opportunity is for the salesperson to present other purchase and lease opportunities that match the buyer’s desires in an upfront payment, monthly payment, and term length. West calls that the “question that historically has gone unanswered in the automotive space, and that is – ‘what can I drive’?”

By keying in those parameters and the customer’s credit score and associated data, the system can identify every vehicle in inventory that meets all the criteria with associated, transaction-ready deals. If the store is part of a larger dealer group, the system can additionally identify other qualifying vehicles in that inventory.

Rather than having to leave the customer multiple times during the typical sales process, salespeople can be equipped with all the information they need to take the sales process from the greeting at the front door through the delivery in far less time than ever before, with far less friction and distrust and all the while with the knowledge that the dealership’s business goals are being met.

At the same time, an online buyer can start the process at home on their couch on a Friday night at 11 and walk into the store the next day able to pick up the process where they were with the help of a salesperson, who can essentially “join the deal in progress.” Rather than doing a traditional F&I process, introducing a new person to the transaction after the customer has developed a level of rapport with the salesperson, the “add-ons” process can be facilitated by the salesperson.

One thing many seem resigned to in this brave new world of online auto retailing is an erosion of gross profit. Putting the price upfront seems to some like the beginning of a race to the bottom. So, we asked West how he felt technology would affect grosses.

“I think they probably can improve,” he told us. “I think there are a million studies that show that a consumer will pay a premium for a streamlined, super pleasant buying experience. They’ll pay a few extra bucks if they don’t have to go through the four-hour sausage-making process that everybody hates. And the dealers that are doing a good job recognize that.”

As to the future, better sales, marketing, and analysis techniques are introduced every day. Those who have adopted an online buying model, changed their organizations to accommodate that and adopted tools to facilitate it are prospering. Their through-put is better and their customer satisfaction in better.

As West said, “There are those dealers who say, ‘Look, we don’t quote payments online. Shoppers need to call us, or they need to come in and we’ll show them payments at the dealership.’ I think those dealers’ longevity in the marketplace, at least in the digital retailing marketplace, will be short-lived. We believe the winners will be those dealers who adopt a ‘Let’s be transparent and ask a fair price – that’s neither abusive nor a giveaway – and offer a superior buying experience.’”

West continued, “Throughout history, particularly in retail, those retailers who offered selection, transparency, fair pricing, and ease of doing business always gained market share – at the expense of those retailers who failed to adapt to what customers wanted. Today’s car buyers want a complete, end-to-end buying experience that is informative, accurate, consistent, transparent, and easy.”

About the Author: Jack Nerad, an award-winning writer, published author, editor, and spokesperson. Jack caters to the automotive consumer through digital and print media. He has contributed to Forbes.com, autobytel.com, caranddriver.com, and car.com, and was executive editorial director of Kelly Blue Book.

Meet with us at NADA 2019

Meet with us at NADA 2019

2019 NADA Show Logo

Market Scan Launches New Products, mProve Diagnostics, mPortal, and mDrive at NADA

New Management Software will ensure a cohesive and consistent Customer Journey Online through In-Store while simultaneously improving Automotive Retailers’ Profitability

  • mPortal allows dealers to control the entire online and in-store payment quoting process and eliminates disconnect between online customer quotes and what is quoted in the dealership. Every payment quoted is Penny-Certain and consistent.
  • mDrive instantly answers every consumer’s question: “What can I drive?” mDrive instantly provides the consumer and a dealership sales team a complete list of the dealership’s qualifying inventory. Every payment is Penny-Certain and considers the consumer’s individual buying criteria and credit profile, all rebates, all of each lender’s rules and policies, correct taxation – and all of the dealer’s margins, fees, and mark-ups. The result is a successful transaction and a happy consumer.
  • mProve analyzes every element of each of the dealer’s sales transactions and compares against best available practice or program. The analysis will show the dealer precisely where he has missed profit opportunities and is leaving “money on the table” – and how to improve performance and become more competitive.

CAMARILLO, Calif. (January 22, 2019) – Market Scan, the industry leader in automotive financing/leasing software and data services, today introduced three new products, mProve Diagnostics, mDrive and mPortal, which will debut at the National Automotive Dealers Association Show in San Francisco.

“We launched Market Scan 30 years ago with the ambition to offer software programs and services that are based on the premise that there is only one scientifically-perfect solution for any conceivable automotive transaction, and any solution that is less than perfect is simply unacceptable. We have not wavered from that position,” said Market Scan Co-Founder and President Rusty West. “It is with this backdrop that we are excited to introduce new, game-changing products for the industry. These products complement our existing portfolio of products as well as provide new and very powerful tools for dealers to improve their profitability and give dealers the ability to offer customers an improved and consistent online and in-showroom shopping experience.”

mProve Diagnostics maximizes dealer profits

Dealers have often been unable to substantiate if their sales transactions maximized the store’s profit potential. Statistically, in most dealerships, 80% of all transactions are spot on with only marginal room for improvement. However, 20% of the sales transactions are likely processed using the wrong lender program, the wrong rebate stack, the wrong structure, or a combination of these. In those 20% of transactions, the dealer may sustain tens of thousands of dollars of missed gross profit every month. In a recent study performed by Market Scan, these losses, when spread across the entire dealership sales volume, amounted to more than $500 per car retailed.

mProve was developed in partnership with StoneEagle, the Richardson, Texas-based supplier of F&I technology for the retail automotive industry. mProve performs a thorough review of every sales transaction and the analysis will show exactly how each deal should have been constructed to improve the gross profit. mProve is designed to maximize each sales transaction and potentially add hundreds of thousands of dollars in profit each year.

“StoneEagle is a leading supplier of F&I technology and automotive sales performance solutions. When you pair StoneEagle’s SEcureMetrics Advanced F&I Analytics with our database of lender programs and OEM incentives, the output is simply astonishing,” said West. “mProve can help add hundreds of thousands of dollars to a dealer’s bottom line – without selling more cars! (Plus, make the dealership more competitive.) The math is shocking; if a dealer sells 200 cars per month, he may be leaving $100,000 per month on the table – and more than $1,000,000 annually! The power of mProve is nothing short of mind-blowing, and we know we have a hit on our hands. We can’t wait to showcase this product at NADA.”

mDrive gives the customer the real and best choices when shopping for a new car – meeting both the Consumer’s and the Dealer’s terms.

mDrive is the only technology that takes everything into consideration to provide a consumer with a list of vehicles that meet his or her criteria and preferences, based upon Consumer’s Credit Score, Consumer’s Budget, Consumer’s Driving Habits, Dealership’s Terms and Conditions for Each Scenario, Dealership’s Lender Relationships and Manufacturer’s Rebates and Incentives.

mDrive enables a dealer’s sales professionals to instantly create a list of all the dealer’s vehicles in inventory that meet those criteria, ranked by each vehicle’s “PVI” – Payment Value Index (most “bang for the buck”). Providing this information early in the sales process will save dealers and consumers valuable time, a big factor in improving the customer experience.

“mDrive accurately answers the consumer’s age-old question – “What Can I Drive?”, West said. “What sets mDrive apart – from any other tool or method in the market – is that mDrive instantly provides the consumer and the dealer’s sales team an EXACT list of the dealer’s qualifying inventory – based on science. When a consumer’s credit score, budget, number of months and acceptable payment range are entered, mDrive will instantly show a list of every vehicle in the dealer’s inventory that fits the criteria!

Better yet, each of these vehicles meet all of the dealer’s lender published terms for approval – and all of the dealer’s terms and conditions for transacting! mDrive helps save a lot of time in identifying which is the best car for the customer.”

mPortal presents exact payment quotes and ensures consistent pricing quotes across all customer touchpoints

Market Scan’s new mPortal gives dealers full control over all payment quotes provided to customers, eliminating the negative customer experience when online payment quotes are inaccurate or incomplete and not the same quotes they receive when they meet with a sales executive.

This problem exists because the online shopping sites that quote payments on the dealership’s behalf are not respecting the terms and conditions under which dealers are willing to do business.

With more and more consumer-facing companies coming online every month, it is critical that a dealer manages all outward payment quotes correctly to ensure consistency from platform to platform, as well as in the dealership.

Market Scan’s mPortal fixes this problem by providing the dealership with a single repository where all of the dealer’s selling rules can be housed and managed. The dealer’s list of lenders, quoting rules, fees, rate mark-ups, bank fee mark-ups, internal packs, and calculation settings all reside in a single location. All the dealer has to do is insist that the dealership’s rules are honored for any payment quoted on any car in inventory.

“Every day we hear horror stories about consumers who are frustrated by their shopping experiences, both online and at the dealership,” added West. “What starts out as a very pleasant, low-stress process rapidly turns adversarial when the payments offered online are not remotely similar to what the dealer presents the customer in the dealership. Every dealership has its unique inventory, lender affiliations and quoting rules – fees, mark-ups, packs, lot-age rules and, of course, profit margins. To calculate an accurate payment, all of these factors must be factored in correctly – in the dealership or via an online technology partner. mPortal is very powerful and gives the dealer the ability to take full control and give the customer a consistent buying experience.”

About Market Scan Nationally recognized as the company that wrote the book on automobile desking, Market Scan has been the industry leader in automotive financing/leasing software and data, since it was founded in 1988. Market Scan tracks every parameter, policy and factor that can influence an automotive transaction and has built the industry’s largest database of lender programs and OEM rebates & incentives. Each month, Market Scan quotes more than one billion Penny-Certain lease and finance payments through its software products and systems, marketed under the names of mDesking, mQuote, mGauge, mScanAPI, mPortal, mDrive and mProve. Market Scan’s technologies facilitate easier, more complete, competitive and transparent offerings that help consumers, dealers, lenders, and OEMs complete automobile transactions in an efficient, frictionless environment. For more information, call 800-658-7226 or go to www.marketscan.com.

For additional information, articles or interviews please contact:
Market Scan at info@marketscan.com

Market Scan was founded in 1988 by Father-Son team Russell and Rusty West with a single vision: build a world-class desking platform to fit every customer’s financing and leasing needs like a driving glove while returning the highest profit margin possible to the dealership.

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© 2019 All rights reserved.
Market Scan Information Systems, Inc.