The Harnish Auto Family in Seattle — with four dealerships in its group — was feeling the pressure to offer a better online experience like many peers in the space.
“It’s something that nearly every new-car dealership has had pressure to start,” Shannon Harnish-Cook, president of the dealer group told Auto Finance News. “[You receive pressure] either from the OEM or the consumer.”
A friend of hers joined the online marketplace JoyDrive to offer used-vehicle sales and at-home deliveries on a trial basis and found the company was seeking to onboard new dealers as well. So, in the first quarter, Harnish-Cook began selling its Buick, GMC, Subaru, and Volkswagen brands through the JoyDrive platform, and so far the results have been promising.
“In the first quarter, we just started getting our feet wet with it … [and now] every month it seems like the technology gets easier for the consumer and the dealer as sales keep going up,” she said. “We’ve only been doing it a few months and we have consumers buying their second car from us through the JoyDrive platform.”
Harnish-Cook has even joined the JoyDrive dealer advisory board.
The financing, in particular, has been easier on the consumers and solves the pain point of having to wait in the F&I office for hours, she noted.
“The biggest headache for a consumer is the time spent in the dealership and we’ve been able to give them back that time,” she said. “You’re scheduling deliveries so you have a certain deadline that you need to get all your financing done. If there are stipulations that you need ahead of time we just make sure we’re collecting all of that so that the deal is 100% done by the time the car goes out and there are no surprises.”
Consumers have to include contact information and a fully refundable $500 deposit before the vehicle can be delivered. This gives dealers time to contact the consumer about additional add-on products, and penetration rates have been similar to the in-store rate, she added.
“A lot of our dealers will do a welcome call and email the customer to say ‘I can go over the financing options and answer any question,’” Hunter Gorham, chief executive of JoyDrive told AFN. “In those calls, it’s an opportunity for the dealer to mention any additional financing products on top of what is systematically transacted on the website.”Like This Post