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Show me the money!

Automotive finance in the customer journey.
We all know Brits find it difficult to talk about money. So, when's the right time to talk finance in the automotive customer journey? According to a 2020 study by the Money and Pensions Service 29 million adults in the UK don’t feel comfortable with subject. But avoiding it all together isn’t good for anyone…

Last week We Are Acuity set off on a Retailer Safari, to see how finance was represented in showrooms. We visited seven; 3 German, one British and 3 Japanese.

Prior to the pandemic finance was well represented with Point Of Sale (POS) mixing product benefits & finance examples. Customers were encouraged to ‘Ask about finance’. Our research showed some things have changed over the last 2 years, others are much the same:

  • In 57% of Retailers visited we weren’t greeted or acknowledged in any way despite being in each showroom for more than 15 minutes. A real missed opportunity to engage.

  • Only 28% displayed a Finance example next to vehicles, with the majority displaying an ‘On the Road Price’. This means opportunities to demonstrate affordability are missed.

  • Volume brands had more showroom POS, but little on Finance. POS was often low quality, out of date, off-brand & dealer generated. Missed opportunities to build brand value & educate on Finance.

  • Premium brands had very little in the way of POS, and nothing on Finance. Brand environment was high quality. Missed opportunities to build brand value & educate on Finance.

Overall, it felt very much like finance has taken a step backwards within the showroom environment. That means awkward conversations are left as late as possible. Less than ideal.

As Patrick FullerSophus3 Head of Automotive Insight recently said to AM ONLINE: “Finance has been perceived as an end of process transactional step, but it should be more integrated & flexible throughout the customer journey.”

Leaving it so late could be for the following reasons:

  • A lack of confidence in selling finance by staff
  • A perception it’s easier to do a ‘deal’ over a conversation
  • Recent low supply vs high customer demand
  • A feeling that it’s easier for customers to do finance online

Many challenges can be addressed blending the best of physical & virtual. Mercedes-Benz AG have done that using QR codes to blend showroom stock with a mobile friendly virtual showroom including in-depth details on the actual product including finance. An exceptional example of what can be done.

Moving into a potentially more difficult trading period we feel there’s numerous reasons for integrating #finance more effectively into the customer journey. Savvy brands on the high street are embracing hybrid retail. So can automotive!

Mixing of the best of virtual #retail with the benefits of a physical environment brings the best for customers. It’s a path some brands are embracing already as part of the Agency model, but the opportunities are there for everyone.

If you work within automotive, be it a retailer or at brand level, we’d love to understand your view and talk to you about the future of auto finance. Why not schedule a FREE 30-minute assessment today here? It will be well worth your time.

Or alternatively read more about Local Marketing on our blog page "Local Thinking': https://www.weareacuity.com/local-thinking-our-blog

#automotiveindustry #marketing #advertising

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