It’s safe to say that nearly all dealerships have an online presence (or they should!). They have inventory listed, online chat for the salespeople to connect with shoppers, and you can even schedule your next service without ever picking up the phone. Car shoppers expect their online experience with the dealer to be easy, fast, and optimized for mobile search and engagement. But where does your F&I department fit in that online space or do they? Why not? Let’s take a look at how the online mobile environment can actually help the F&I department connect with customers better and increase PVR. It’s easier than you may think…

1) Knowledge is Power – It’s estimated that 63% of online shoppers are like to purchase F&I products if they had the option to learn about them on their own. They want to do their own research, so give them simple descriptions of popular aftermarket products and why they are important. Consider using explainer videos as well since 65% of online shoppers narrow down their options or make decisions based on a video presentation. You still want to preserve the important face-to- face presentation but giving them some sense of what they will be offered makes it an easier and more transparent process when they are in the F& I office.

2) Shine a Spotlight on the F&I Staff – It seems like such a simple thing, but online car shoppers want to know who they will be dealing with if they come to the lot. Dealers usually offer pictures or bios for the sales staff but many still do not feature the F&I managers prominently enough. Get some pictures out there, add some interesting facts about them, or highlight something they are doing in the community (charitable work or community support). Don’t forget introducing the F& I staff on dealership social media channels as well. This can help create that important relationship with the customer before they come to the lot. They will feel like they ‘know’ the staff and may be less intimidated by their experience in the F& I office if they are viewed as people rather than just the sleazy guy/gal ‘in the box’. It’s time for that stereotype to disappear.

3) Why Not ‘Chat’ with F&I? – It seems every time a car shopper lands on a dealer website, a chat box opens down in the right-hand corner of the screen. This is done to encourage engagement immediately with the sales staff. So, who says the F&I staff can be just as accessible online?

Imagine if an online shopper had a question about financing or about whether or not an extended warranty was really worth it? No, you don’t want to get too in-depth of course but getting some general information in a no-pressure channel like online chat could make the potential customer feel more at ease.

Maybe your store is already employing some of these online tactics to help increase F&I engagement and if you are, you are ahead of the curve. If not, consider trying to leverage the online experience in your F&I departments favor by jumping in with both feet.

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