ATLANTA — A new automotive survey from Equifax finds that dealers understand digital retail solutions, but may struggle in providing such solutions to customers.
The online survey polled 135 dealers around the U.S. to get a better understanding of current trends in retail transactions, credit applications, vehicle financing, and fraud. They were also asked about their prospects of offering online digital retailing options to customers.
Time at the dealership continues to remain a problem for consumers looking to complete a transaction, particularly when it comes to the F&I process, analysts said.
Forty-five percent of dealers said it still takes between 90 minutes and two hours, while 31% said it takes up to 2½ hours to complete a deal. While 84% of dealers said they offer appointment setting online, only 27% said they can facilitate the entire deal online. Conversely, 87% of dealers admit that customers would prefer to complete a deal online.
Additionally, the great majority (89%) of dealers continue to grapple with unidentifiable information in credit applications, saying they handle one to two credit applications each day that fall into this category. Dealers also remain largely focused on collecting information stated on the credit application, such as income (89%) and employment (84%).
Less than half (42%) of dealers say they are also currently collecting alternate forms of data such as property ownership or property payment histories — additional data that can be critically helpful in identifying the appropriate financing for an individual.
“There remains a distinctive gap in what dealers are currently offering and what car shoppers want when it comes to the realities of digital retailing,” said Jenn Reid, vice president, Strategy and Marketing leader, automotive. “Clearly, there is a lot of room for improvement in speeding up the transaction process and offering a complete online transaction solution. It is also clear that dealers continue to need reliable solutions that help speed up the process with credit qualifications and fraud prevention, which continue to impact CSI scores and online reviews, and put dealers margins at risk each month.”
Fraud continues to be a challenge as well. The survey revealed that 76% of dealers are forced to handle between one to three fraudulent transactions each month. Another 19% estimated they handle between three and five transactions each month.
“Fraud comes in many forms within an automotive transaction and remains a significant concern for many dealers, illustrating the deep need for advanced digital technologies that today offer instant verification of identity, residence, and other forms of alternative data. These sophisticated technologies can reduce the threat of fraud while also improving the overall customer experience for shoppers.”