How long does it take to buy a new computer online or in store? How about a new phone? Formalwear? Thousands of dollars’ worth of furniture?

All these items have a couple of things in common: first, many consumers carefully comb through a variety of options to find the electronic, garment or couch that best fits their needs and budget. Second, however, is that purchasing any of these items does not require a half-day time commitment.

In automotive retail, consumers put the same level of care and consideration into their purchase – maybe even more given vehicle cost. However, even with hours of research completed at home, customers have learned to expect – and dread – the fact that they’ll likely spend an entire afternoon at a dealership to finalize their purchase.

Buying a vehicle has posed the same problems for customers for at least a decade: the time commitment required and the fact that online prices don’t match those in-dealership. While these may seem like unrelated issues, the car purchasing process is slowed dramatically by dealerships’ inability to quickly get a variety of accurate pricing and payment options to customers.

Culture Shifts Butt Heads With Car Shopping

Today, twice as many people in market for a new vehicle start their buying journey online compared to those who start it in-dealership, even if this just means browsing for models that meet their needs and price points. They walk into a dealership already knowing what vehicles they’re interested in and estimates of how much their monthly payment will be.

On top of this, consumers are used to seeing final, accurate pricing both in-store and online before purchasing a product, whether it’s a state-of-the-art grill to show off at the next neighborhood get together or a pack of toothpicks to get the popcorn kernels out of your teeth after spending an evening at the movies.

Finally, it’s no longer common for consumers to save their pennies so they can purchase new vehicles in cash. Financing and leasing are the way to go for most car shoppers as vehicle prices remain at an all-time high. Dealerships see the most success when they focus on helping their customers find an affordable monthly payment.

Opportunities for Dealers

Customers are increasingly going to dealerships when they’re ready to purchase vehicles, not when they’re browsing. When it takes too long to close a deal or customers are kept waiting, dealers risk potential customers walking out of the dealership. Shorter transaction times also free up seasoned salespeople to work with more customers and get newer employees more experience.

Dealers who understand where their customers are coming from and can offer solutions that break dealership stereotypes set themselves up for ongoing success. Imagine the feedback stemming from an experience in which a customer has 30 combinations of payment and vehicle options to choose from and drives off the lot in a new car in under an hour. They’ll likely recommend the dealership to everyone they know with a combination of shock and awe.

Through our desking tool, mDesking, we make this goal attainable for dealers. Driven by massive amounts of data, mDesking can offer dozens of different payment options in seconds that account for a variety of down payments, finance and lease term lengths, agreements with lenders and more. The technology considers every factor that goes into a vehicle transaction, including incentive and rebate qualification and combinability rules, to ensure customers see everything available to them – and the best payment.

Showing customers a range of options can also open doors they may not have considered. For example, if a customer cannot afford to purchase a vehicle they thought was in their price range, having leasing options pulled up simultaneously offers them the options to drive their desired vehicle off the lot, saving them from disappointment and frustration of starting the process again.

Providing both loan and lease options can also offer benefits to dealerships. Customers who have never considered leasing may be more receptive to the idea if introducing leasing options doesn’t add to their overall time spent in the dealership. This is especially helpful, as winning customers over to the leasing side will bring them back to the dealership (for another great experience) when it’s time to turn the lease in, helping a dealership grow its portfolio.

At Market Scan, we understand that it’s essential to put the customer in a position where they “close the deal themselves” by ensuring they have all the information necessary to choose the best vehicle and deal for them.

Any transparency a dealership can offer builds customer trust and shatters the expectations traditionally associated with visiting a dealership. As customer expectations continue to evolve, dealerships that offer a complete, transparent and – most important – quick purchasing experience will see the most success.

Click here to learn more about Market Scan’s payment solutions and its mDesking solution.