The COVID-19 pandemic has changed and is changing a lot. Not only are dealers struggling to find solid footing amid a nation that's torn between maintaining social distance and returning to some type of pre-coronavirus status quo, car buyers are too. As your dealership moves toward more digital sales and F&I processes, make sure that you're following the rules and maintaining compliance.

Avoiding Unnecessary Red Tape

Red tape isn’t something anyone wants to encounter, especially when they're applying for an auto loan online. Fortunately, the process is simple enough once you're set up to provide this service to prospects. At the same time, getting set up can be a bit of a chore if digital retailing is new to you.

Just as there are rules and regulations that dictate how you conduct in-person, day-to-day dealership business, there are specific rules that apply to online sales and service, too. Here's a list of items to keep in mind as you're transitioning to a more complete online retail experience for your customers.

Points to consider:

  • Maintaining Compliance at Dealerships in a Virtual WorldCustomer consent – Trying to get a deal done online means getting the proper customer consent before you pull a credit report and transmit this information to lenders. Ensure that your website is clear about the steps you take for consumer consent. Prospective borrowers are more likely to pay attention if there's an actionable item they have to engage in, such as an "agree" button, check box, or toggle.
  • Secure content – How secure is your site? Make sure that you're using the proper types of end-to-end data encryption to protect both you and your customers when it comes to transferring personal data online. Not only do you need an encrypted connection, you should make sure that prospects are entering their information through a secured portal, rather than you entering the information into your system from a consumer email or phone call. This protects you from typos and helps to protect your customer.
  • Follow legal guidelines – The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has numerous guidelines in place to help protect both consumers and businesses as we move more and more into the digital retail world. Make sure that you're familiar with all FTC guidelines, as well as state and local laws for online sales. In addition to following FTC, state, and local laws, make sure that all parts of a deal done online are legal and binding. Some states have stricter guidelines on what this means, which could impact the validity of e-signed documents, so make sure you and your customers are protected.

Be Extra Cautious of Fraud

Having to follow new and different rules and regulations can seem like a hassle, but once you have them in place, this should be simple to maintain. One thing that isn't as simple in the digital world is looking out for fraud and scams. Keep in mind the various ways you ensure this in person, and keep up with the latest trends in identity theft as you move into virtual selling.

This can be especially difficult in a post-coronavirus world where many people are choosing to wear masks for health reasons. Make sure that people you're selling to are who they say they are by employing security questions and using video chats – where a consumer can unmask – which can help you get around these new hurdles.

Successful Delivery Is in the Details

Lastly, make sure that your delivery process is safe, secure, as contact-free as possible, and that your state and lender agreements allow for delivery outside the dealership if you're planning on offering home delivery. The details make all the difference when it comes to a successful vehicle drop-off.

For instance, it's important to make sure that the contract start date and the delivery date of the car match, while ensuring that customers are getting a complete set of all documents just like they would have had they come into the store. Additionally, you should have a dedicated delivery team that's separate from sales, to ensure that there's no upselling happening at delivery. All terms and conditions must be finalized before delivery.

Ready to Get Your Online Sales Started?

If you're ready to move forward with digital sales, one thing you need is prospects that are ready to buy. There are plenty of people that still need vehicles to carry on with their day-to-day lives. Since marketing can be extra competitive in this new reality, you need to give yourself as much of an advantage as possible, and we want to help.

Auto Credit Express has been providing quality leads to dealerships just like yours for over 20 years, and we have no intention of slowing down. We offer complete solutions to your sales needs, including lead generation, new and used car listings through our partnership with CarsDirect Connect, and dedicated BDC call center services to help prepare prospects to come through your doors (virtually speaking) ready to buy.

All this and more could be your solution to staying competitive in today's changing automotive market. To see how we can help you make the most of your business, give us a call at 888-535-2277 or simply fill out our contact form online and we'll reach out to you.