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Credit First: Missing Link in Dealership Digital Sales

Craig Sims, Vice President of Equifax Automotive Services, once said, “In the ideal world of the future, customers will be able to shop for and find the right vehicle for them, with the right payment, well before they walk into the dealership, and that is a big challenge.” 

More and more customers are going directly to their bank or credit union for financing on their car instead of the dealer because they’re getting a better deal that way. Often, dealerships will have a vehicle price listed online that hardly ever reflects the actual price that a customer signs. This can cause customers to walk out of your dealership doors without a purchase, especially when they feel they’ve been misled by information online. But what if there was a way to increase digital dealership sales that benefited both the customer and the dealer? 

The missing link here is to establish a credit-first strategy on dealership websites that would accurately reflect what the customer would pay, based on their affordability criteria. This would include their monthly budget, down payment amount, credit criteria, and trade-in equity. It’s unique to each customer and gives them a personal experience with the dealership instead of feeling like a dealership wants their money. 

“This credit-first strategy,” said Sims, “helps dealers deliver a more personalized shopping experience.” 

By establishing a credit-first website, it makes the ideal world of the future that Sims spoke about a little more realistic. They can view what cars are available based on their budget and feel excited about the car buying process. It also creates “browser curiosity,” even for the consumers who aren’t actively looking for a new car. The ability to have the dealership work with a customer on the financing with a unique credit-first strategy is a quick way to entice and collect information about even those who are “just looking.” 

It’s a convenience that is long overdue, especially since we are now more than ever in need of real digital solutions. According to Marcus Sheridan, over 70% of customers decide if they want to purchase with a business online before they ever initiate any form of communication. Considering the auto industry has plenty of data and systems out there for dealers, OEMs, and lenders, it’s time that something is created to improve the process for the customer. 

So if you want to be ahead of your competition and increase your digital sales, establish an online credit-first strategy for your customers.

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