The rapidly evolving automotive retail landscape was recently highlighted in a comprehensive industry survey undertaken by Protective Asset Protection. Their aim was to grasp the current trends in online vehicle transactions and F&I product offerings from dealerships throughout the U.S.
This insightful study, conducted in August, garnered participation from over 300 dealership executives. It revealed that approximately a quarter (25%) of dealership customers undertook their entire vehicle shopping experience online this year.
The survey insights showcase an ongoing debate amongst dealers: How best to enable consumers to explore and finalize F&I product purchases online, alongside their vehicle research and decision-making?
An overwhelming 68.5% of dealers expressed their inclination or outright support for allowing customers to explore F&I options digitally. Taking it a step further, a resounding 89.2% were in favor of facilitating the online purchase of these F&I options. The underlying sentiment? An online platform could afford customers the time and resources to make informed decisions, thereby bolstering F&I sales.
Furthermore, a majority (58%) of the dealers were of the opinion that embedding online F&I product sales within the broader retail transaction could notably enhance their F&I sales figures.
Other interesting findings include:
- Nearly half (49%) believed that diversifying their F&I product lineup would amplify sales.
- Among those who have already incorporated online F&I sales in the past year, 67.2% reported a moderate sales uptick attributed to the digital avenue.
- In terms of aiding future F&I sales, 49% suggested products that could address vehicle affordability challenges for customers.
- As for top-selling products, dealers reported 61.4% sales for GAP coverage, 61% for prepaid maintenance, and 55.2% for limited and certified warranties.
Rick Kurtz, Senior VP and Chief Distribution Officer of Protective Asset Protection, reflected on the findings, “It’s only a matter of time before the majority of the F&I selection process transitions online. The reported increase in F&I sales from dealers integrating F&I into their online platforms is certainly indicative of this shift.”
At DecisioningIT, while our Widget (SAM) presently centers on credit prequalification, be it prime or subprime, this study underscores the growing significance of F&I in the online space. We believe we’ve mastered the most challenging aspects of online prequalification. As part of our future development plans, incorporating F&I product propositions to consumers stands as a logical next step.