By Michael Wilcox, CenPOS General Manager Tech Led
With many people avoiding mass transit during the pandemic, auto sales are booming*. In fact, a recent cars.com survey revealed that 62% of Americans are trading public transportation for personal vehicles, and over half of people who bought a car in the last six months did so because of COVID-19.
As more Americans choose sedans* and SUVs over buses and subways, auto dealers hoping to capitalize on this growing demand must adapt to evolving consumer shopping habits and new safety requirements. Fortunately, there are many ways to make sure your dealership can thrive in the new normal.
From virtual showrooms to at-home test drives, new ways of engaging with the customer are making it easier for buyers to shop from home and minimize in-person contact. Here are the top trends dealers of both new and used cars need to know:
Successful dealerships are embracing touch-free payments, which are preferred by 82% of consumers*.
With hygiene a key concern for everyone, contactless transactions* that don’t require touching a payment terminal help ensure a safe buying experience for customers and employees. This means accepting a variety of digital payment methods that help create a faster, safer, and more convenient payment experience.
Contactless tap-n-go cards, mobile wallets like Apple Pay® and Google Pay®, and alternative currencies are some of the most popular payment options for consumers today. Disabling signature requirements for credit cards is another key consideration for minimizing touchpoints in your dealership.
Digital billing and payments
As digital becomes more important along the entire purchase funnel*, digitizing the payment experience is another tool car dealers are using to offer a better shopping experience and is enabling them to run their business more efficiently. Digital billing allows customers to pay their bills in whatever manner they choose – online, in-person – and in whatever method they prefer.
Digital billing and payments are quick and secure for customers and dealers, while helping the auto industry keep up with the increasing consumer demand for online car sales*. The dealer simply sends a text or email to the customer, and the customer enters their payment information in a secure payment platform.
As more shoppers buy cars online without ever visiting a dealership, digital billing and payments are ideal for accepting high-value down payments virtually. They’re also useful for recurring payments such as financing or maintenance plans, allowing the dealer to keep the payment card data on file for automatic payments.
Digital billing and payments are also great for collecting payment for services. For example, if a car is in for repairs and a customer needs to authorize additional parts or labor, the dealer can send an invoice via email. The work can be completed and paid for without the customer ever having to interact with someone in person. This helps dealers facilitate social distancing and adhere to waiting room capacity restrictions, while being easy and convenient for customers.
Focus on security
With car shopping moving online, the risk of fraud and hacking may increase. This means prioritizing security is essential for dealers conducting digital transactions. The key is minimizing your potential for loss and maximizing protection for payment card data without inhibiting the purchase experience.
As a dealer, you can protect your business and let your customers shop with confidence by choosing a secure payment processing solution. A payments platform with advanced security features will help you feel more confident about your transactions and can even enhance the customer experience.
For example, in addition to being safer and more convenient for customers, touchless and digital payments are also more secure, simplifying the scope of PCI DSS compliance validation and helping to protect dealers from card fraud. With these types of payments, liability for counterfeit card transactions is transferred from the dealership to the processor, providing additional integrity to the payment transaction.
The Post-Pandemic Future
The road ahead suggests the demand for vehicles* will only continue in a post-pandemic future*, so adopting an electronic bill payments and presentment solutions is the way forward while navigating the new normal. Not only can you save time, money and staff resources by going digital, your customers will thank you for a safe and contactless way to pay. If your dealership could benefit from any of the solutions outlined here, CenPOS has the tools you need to succeed. With a technology platform designed to help auto dealers meet today’s challenges, CenPOS® can help you create a better payment experience for your customers and staff.
Apple Pay is a registered trademark of Apple Inc. Google Pay is a trademark of Google Inc.
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©2021 CenPOS, LLC. All rights reserved. CenPOS is a registered trademark in the United States and/or other countries. This document is prepared by CenPOS as a service for its customers. The information discussed is general in nature and may not apply to your specific situation. 0121 CR-19473426