85% of dealers want customer in and out before 2-hour mark

FOOTHILL RANCH, Calif. - 

Businesses today, large and small, are facing what seems to be the most impatient generation of humans ever when it comes to commodity acquisition. They know what they want and they want it now. And that impetus also extends to their vehicle purchase transaction — which they want to be quick and painless.

This is not “new” news, so to speak — companies like AutoNation and General Motors, among many, are trying a variety of new processes to make it simpler and easier for customers. They understand that if it’s easier for the customer, it’s easier for the dealership. Quicker sales equal quicker profit possibilities.

That sense was reiterated by dealers surveyed by eLEND Solutions, who released the results of a study today that it conducted online among U.S. dealerships in November.

Their findings show that those surveyed, despite wanting things to move quicker, are still saying that the sales process is taking, on average, three hours or more to complete.

Here’s a breakdown of eLEND’s survey:

  • 85 percent of dealers think it would be ideal to bring the car-buying process down to two hours or less (up from 59 percent in 2014).
  • Since eLEND’s similar survey in 2014, dealers, overall, are not showing much of a change in the speed of the sales process. In 2015, 42 percent said the average sale, from start to finish, lasts 3 to 5 hours. Forty percent said the same in 2014.

One key issue that many dealers — 86 percent — fleshed out in the survey is their issues with vendor integration. This majority of dealers agreed that they experience a significant obstacle in the lack of integration and data exchange between their vendors’ systems, hampering the connection between their online tools and their in-store processes.

This 86 percent agreed that improved cooperation and data sharing could eliminate online to in-store information disconnects and bottlenecks.

“The survey confirms that the sales process can’t evolve — or speed up — unless vendors start connecting the online and offline dots, yet the lack of systems integration means that dealers are unable to embrace new processes,” said Pete MacInnis, chief executive officer of eLEND Solutions. “The way to shorten the customer sales journey — and sell more cars in the process — is to create seamless, real-time integrations between the dealer website, CRM, Desking/Finance and DMS platforms.”

Unfortunately, many of the dealers surveyed are not very optimistic in the idea that this may actually be addressed. 54 percent of the dealers said that it is only somewhat likely and 19 percent said it was unlikely that this type of cross-platform integration may actually come to fruition.

Here are a few more highlights from the survey, listed below by eLEND Solutions:

  • Of those that think open integration is unlikely, competition and protecting the status quo were cited as the top reasons.
  • 86 percent of dealers strongly agreed or agreed that vendor cooperation and coordination could facilitate a greatly reduced start-to-finish transaction time.
  • Nearly 60 percent of dealers agree that specialized best of breed solutions are the way to go because of their higher product quality and service levels (70 percent).

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