What Do Customers Want From The Auto Purchase Process


Every skilled sales associate knows that to be successful, they need to know what the customer is thinking. What do they want?

To be left alone. No, not necessarily! Customers have questions, and they want concise answers. They just don’t want to be pestered, pressured, or pandered to. Especially when they’re considering a trade-in, or they haven’t yet obtained their financing.

To kick tires. This is still true, to a degree; it’s tough to replace the smell of a new car or the experience of a test drive. But today’s car buyers are favoring online research over the showroom experience. Most serious auto buyers have a pretty good idea what they want before they’re ready to sit down and make a deal.

To know what they can afford to buy. Bingo. And if your dealership F&I department is limited in its lending offerings, you could lose a customer who’s ready to purchase. If you let them leave to apply elsewhere, they might not come back.

What if your dealership really could know what your shoppers were thinking as they explored your website? What if, using that information, you could enhance your customer’s auto buying experience based on their desires while increasing your sales and F&I success? No, really, it can happen, with both sides coming out on top.

Your Customers Want An Online Dealership F&I Department

Your dealership’s website likely lists your current inventory, as well as vehicle options. Does it allow your visitors to shop for specific options and generate their out-the-door cost? Can your customers use your website to determine their monthly payment?

We pulled these quotes from the 2018 Cox Automotive Car Buyer Journey Brochure:

  • “The time to influence and convert (car shoppers) is online, where they spend the majority of their shopping time making decisions.”
  • “53% of car buyers look for monthly payment information while researching a vehicle.”
  • “A simple, pressure-free shopping experience, transparent pricing (reinforced by online and in-store pricing tools), and a set price or non-negotiable price model can help build customer satisfaction.”

The 2016 Cox Automotive study’s five online auto buyer activities are still relevant today.

  • Researching car prices (71%).
  • Finding actual car listings (68%).
  • Model comparison (64%).
  • Determining the trade in value of their current vehicle (63%).
  • Locating a dealership and dealer contact information (46%).

More and more buyers are turning to online shopping and price negotiation. Is your dealership ready?

Your website might have all the bells and whistles when it comes to searching for inventory availability, but if you’re looking to boost your F&I numbers, it’s time to look into an integrated online purchase and finance platform. It should be easy for your customers to use, it should offer actionable information they can apply to their purchasing decisions, and it should instill trust in your dealership’s brand so they will look forward to meeting you in person when they come to pick up their new vehicle.

Give Them The AutoFi Sales Solution

AutoFi is a mobile checkout and cost calculating platform that’s as easy for your customers to use as it is for you to manage. AutoFi empowers your site visitors to apply for loans from a wide network of lenders, crunch the numbers on their selected vehicles, and find out what their existing car is worth. On your side, AutoFi empowers you to have control over trade-in offers, F&I options, and price negotiations.

All using a lightning-fast, streamlined, and secure framework that operates as flawlessly on mobile devices as it does on computer screens.

Do you still want to know what your customer is thinking? AutoFi provides you with the context to understand their needs with a window into their search terms, buyer’s journey, and viewed models and options. AutoFi’s terms of service are transparent, and it draws on the same type of search data your own website already generates for your SEO performance reporting.

Salesmanship isn’t a lost art. It’s just going digital. See how our online e-commerce and F&I platform has helped our growing list of current dealerships meet car shoppers’ new expectations, and take a test drive today to find out how AutoFi can work for you.