The November 2018 issue of Canadian AutoJournal is now available online. You can flip through it here, but first, a few words from the Editor in chief of Canadian AutoJournal, Jack Kazmierski.
Transparency & Control
Since the focus of this issue of Canadian AutoJournal is the F&I office, you’ll find a number of articles discussing the future of F&I. One question that seems to come up, over and over again, is whether F&I should go digital… and if you ask me, I’d have to say yes.
First, I think putting F&I information online for the customer makes sense, especially with today’s tech-savvy buyers. I have trouble getting my kids to go to the mall to buy a pair of pants or a shirt. That’s something they prefer to do online, and have for many years now.
The idea of driving to the mall, walking around, looking through racks of clothing, dealing with the sales people, trying things on, and then deciding what to buy is almost foreign to the younger generation. They’d rather look for what they want online, order it, try it on when it’s delivered, and then send back what they don’t want.
So what make us think that consumers with this same mindset would prefer to sit in the business office, listening to someone explain extended warranties, when they do everything else online?
The second reason it make sense to put F&I online is transparency. Today’s consumers are used to researching their purchases online, and they want to know what they’re getting, and for how much, sooner rather than later.
So if we think we’ll tell them about the extended warranty when we have them in our office, and then we’ll spring a price on them at the last minute, maybe that’s not going to work anymore.
My 20-something son recently purchased his first new car, and the dealership that handled the transaction sent us all the F&I information via email long before we ended up sitting face-to-face in the dealership.
Having all the information in advance allowed my son to look at his options, calculate his costs, and figure out what makes sense to him based on how long he plans to keep the car, his budget, etc. It was a great experience— one far removed from what I went through when I bought my first car at his age.
If the idea of transparency scares you, that’s understandable. By putting your cards on the table you lose some of the control in the process. But the power of the Internet has taken that control out of your hands already, so why fight it?
Instead, now is the time to figure out how we can continue to succeed and prosper in this increasingly transparent world of ours.