CHESTERFIELD, Mo. – Protective Asset Protection, a leading provider of F&I programs, services and dealer owned warranty company programs, announced results of its latest industry survey which shows how COVID-19 impacted auto dealers and their efforts to quickly implement digital tools and resources available to consumers shopping for vehicles and F&I product options.
Creating a digital retailing environment with access to F&I product options is paramount to the success of any online retailing strategy.
Protective commissioned an online survey of nearly 400 automotive dealership executives and found that the COVID-19 pandemic forced many dealers to quickly implement digital retailing options, resulting in 68% of respondents saying they’re now offering F&I product selection and pricing online as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, which forced many dealers to quickly implement digital retailing options. Only 58% said they were making these F&I options available online before the pandemic. Another 68% said they’re now offering financing options/loan applications online, compared with 55% before the pandemic.
Digital tools now made available to customers online has certainly had a positive impact for many dealers. Roughly one in five dealers said their sales have increased as much as 10% since the pandemic went into effect, with dealers leveraging more digital tools. Looking forward, while 19% of dealers believe their digital retail sales will remain flat, nearly a third (29%) said they believe their digital sales will increase slightly.
With more digital retail resources now available, dealers say they will plan further updates and implementations in the coming months:
- Research/review F&I products/protection plans online (65%)
- Purchase F&I products online (55%)
- Select F&I products online (55%)
- Complete the F&I process (all paperwork) online (54%)
- Complete loan application online (47%)
(% of dealers)
Of those dealers saying they have implemented digital retailing tools online for F&I products, the majority say their customers purchased exterior appearance protection, and tire and wheel protection (63%). Another 59% say their customers are purchasing GAP and vehicle service contracts.
“Creating a digital retailing environment with access to F&I product options is paramount to the success of any online retailing strategy,” said Rick Kurtz, senior vice president distribution. “Customers today are accustomed to shopping online, and even leveraging online channels for researching financing options for a variety of other purchases. It’s important that dealers realize that better online availability will lead to a more educated and comfortable customer earlier in the shopping process, which ultimately improves the chance of a sale.”