by Peter Peterson
Incorporating Shop-by-Payment Technology Into Your Website
It shouldn’t come as a surprise that 80% of consumers finance their vehicle vs. buying with cash 1, so shouldn’t your website be able to recommend vehicles based on monthly payments in addition to purchase price? Shop-By-Payment technology built into your website allows consumers to do just that. With powerful engagement tools like payment calculators, soft credit pulls and payment buttons on inventory SRPs and VDPs linking to the technology, shoppers will be more engaged and quickly evolve from high-funnel intenders to low-funnel leads.
Buying vehicles online has become much more common, with the pandemic rapidly accelerating this trend. In 2019, less than 2% of vehicles were purchased digitally. In 2020, nearly 30% of U.S. new car sales were completed online. 2 Embracing this change and making it even more convenient is crucial to future success for automotive dealerships.
During my recent vehicle purchase just a couple years ago, I would’ve loved a Shop-By-Payment tool. As a Millennial, I did most of my research online, I knew what car I wanted, and I knew I’d be financing it. What I didn’t know was the logistics of the payment structure. During the actual shopping process, I physically went to four dealerships in one very long day with no need to test drive a vehicle. I waited for a few hours while they did their payment calculations. By the last one, I was so tired that I just said, “Here’s what I have for financing options from the other dealers. Please beat this so I can go home.” I realize some older-school dealerships still prefer to do business that way, but trust me when I say most customers—especially younger ones—simply do not. If the dealership up the road has a better online retailing presence and a streamlined self-serve payment-calculating process, web-savvy customers will choose them every time.
If I were going through the process again now in 2021 with a robust Shop-By-Payment tool, I likely would have explored more options and perhaps even purchased a different vehicle. Like most automotive consumers, actual MSRP meant little to me. In a study conducted by Affinitiv 3 most buyers reported that finding a vehicle at a specific monthly payment is more important than finding a vehicle in a specific price range. Perhaps I would have purchased a more expensive car, or the same vehicle at a higher trim level – if the payments made sense. Regardless of which vehicle I bought, I would have bought it from a dealer that had a solid Shop-by-Payment tool fully integrated with their website. And yet, according to the Affintiv study, only 9% of auto dealer websites at the time allowed customers to search by payment, with only 11% of the 9% (so effectively less than 1% overall) incorporating customers’ real credit into the payments.
Our industry is constantly advancing its automated tools and technology. CBC strongly recommends our dealership clients take full advantage of these shifts to make the consumer buying journey more efficient and robust. A Shop-By-Payment tool makes things significantly easier for vehicle-buyers, results in a higher volume of leads, identifies qualified buyers and is rapidly becoming a must-have component of a 21st century dealership.
If you’d like more information about how your dealership or group can easily and cost-effectively incorporate Shop-by-Payment technology into your website, contact us below, and let’s have a conversation.