Today on CBT News, host Jim Fitzpatrick is joined by Chad Ammons, Vice President, Global & Digital Experience for Assurant. Ammons joins the show to discuss the latest trends in F&I. Assurant works with a large client base of car dealers across the U.S., offering a variety of vehicle protection products and F&I services.
Ammons begins the conversation by discussing the impact digital retailing has had on the automotive industry. Ammons says that the digital capabilities of the car-buying process are largely undefined. Unlike Amazon, there isn’t one singular method in which retailers can sell vehicles. Customers have greater reservations about completing automotive transactions online because it’s one of the most expensive purchases they will make.
“The votes are coming in, and consumers prefer to start the car-buying process online,” said Ammons. “Dealers that don’t embrace that figure out how to use it to their advantage, they’re the ones that will be left behind.”
Many car dealers were concerned about how digital retailing would impact F&I profits. However, the F&I sector of automotive has flourished through digital integration. Ammons says this is because car dealers have utilized online capabilities to start the conversation about F&I instead of conducting the entire sales process online. Online F&I processes set F&I managers up for success by introducing the products and allowing them to close the deal.
Ammons concludes the conversation by discussing the recent push from OEMs to sell directly to consumers. The dilemma with selling entirely online is that many consumers prefer to complete transactions in person. Just as some customers won’t purchase clothing unless they can try it on, many car-buyers won’t make a purchase unless they can sit in the vehicle and test drive it.
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