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That’s Not How It Works Anymore


At AutoFi, we’ve identified six phases of digital retail that improve dealership efficiencies. Milestones help dealers get from where they are to where they want to be. By leveraging our platform, dealers are growing market share, increasing profitability, and improving customer experience

It’s exciting to help dealers sell more cars and provide resources to drive lasting value with their customers. The automotive industry is changing – big time. The digital retailing process is changing too. It’s vital to help our dealers each step of the way as they navigate the six phases of digital retail. 



Autofi digital retail phases 1-6


It’s Go Time

While working at one of my favorite dealerships, Ricart Ford, on moving into the 5’th Phase of digital retail, In-store Active, something amazing happened. We were helping their salespeople use AutoFi to present numbers instead of the typical “pencil a deal” process. After training and role-playing that morning, it was time to do some deals live on their showroom. There was a crackle of anticipation at the desk. We hoped to work a deal with a real customer soon.  

The next salesperson up was, of course, a green pea going on his second week in Automotive. Having returned from the test drive, he stood at the desk, asking, “what am I supposed to do again?” I looked at the manager next to me and asked if I could present this one. “Knock yourself out,” he said.

I told the salesperson to take me to his customer. It was “go time.” The customer was twenty-four, working as a bartender at Applebee’s while putting herself through college, and had perfect credit. After greeting her warmly, I pulled up the vehicle on the salesperson’s desktop computer, turned the screen to her, and asked, “Is this the vehicle you’d like to own?” She immediately replied, “yep, that’s it!”


Seven-Minute Close




I handed her the keyboard and mouse to click on the “calculate my payment” button that begins the checkout process. She quickly built her deal by adding taxes, fees, and a trade-in vehicle, as well as the term and down payment. After comparing lease and finance options, she decided that she wanted to finance. Satisfied with the amount, she clicked apply, filled out her credit application, received a firm offer of credit, and self-selected two F&I protection options. She completed the entire process within about seven minutes. Immediately, she was greeted at our desk by the Business Manager, who informed her that he was going to start preparing the legal documents for review and signing. 

Then, she stopped us. “Before I sign anything, can I call my dad?” We told her she could call whomever she wanted. After she dialed, we could hear her dad third basing by barking orders through the phone to protect her from the “evil car salesmen.” He sounded like a wound-up adult from a cartoon until she cut him off with: 


“Dad, no, you don’t understand. That’s not how it works anymore.”


“It’s all done on the computer. No, I’m okay. The dealership has been incredibly helpful. I just wanted to make sure you thought I could afford a $438 per month car payment?”

That’s not how it works anymore. 


It’s Frictionless 


This customer bought a brand new vehicle, selected F&I Products, signed docs with an AFIP Certified professional, and took delivery, all in under 30 minutes post test-drive. Why was this so easy? She had a fantastic customer experience combined with a seamless, streamlined checkout process. This removed price sensitivity and perceived need for negotiation, all while delivering a win for both the buyer and Ricart Ford.

To learn how AutoFi is helping other auto dealers download our one-pager success story from Park’s Lincoln of Longwood, They achieved a 2400% increase in customer applications by unifying the online to in-store process.

We can help build your digital retail firepower, simply request an AutoFi product demo today.

Check out another blog from Joe St. John: Don’t Go Breaking Their Hearts. He delves into the decline in customer satisfaction when the digital retail process is treated as a lead source or limited to an “internet program.” Relegating digital retail to the “Internet” or “BDC” departments insulates the rest of the dealership from the process and is a recipe for disaster. Discover what you can do to prevent this from happening to your dealership.