It’s no secret that the digital revolution has totally transformed the automotive industry and more specifically, the way in which customers shop for cars. Essentially, if a customer wants to browse their next set of wheels from the comfort of their own home, then that’s completely doable now, with more and more dealerships offering shoppers a virtual showroom experience. Customers can even ‘try before they buy’ these days, by experiencing a virtual test drive of their next purchase if they wish, from their sofa by simply clicking a button. Honestly, the power of digital has pretty much made the possibilities surrounding customer engagement limitless.
But what about paying for the vehicle? Consider this, a potential lead has visited your dealership’s website, they have a digital browse your dealership, they speak to a member of your team via live video chat – or SnapCell Live for SnapCell users – they then experience a virtual test drive – again, made to feel seamlessly realistic and professional thanks to SnapCell – and then they buy the vehicle, online. And all of this feels like one effortlessly smooth journey. What’s more, that particular customer hasn’t had to step a single foot into your dealership.
There’s no denying that the increased use of mobile pay is nothing but powerful and your dealership needs to be taking full advantage if you want to keep one step ahead of the competition – especially if you’re wanting to engage with younger audiences.
Different forms of mobile pay
Before we go any further, it’s important to establish some of the different types of mobile pay options for your dealership that are available:
- Mobile wallet payments (contactless). This includes the consumer waving or tapping their smartphone next to a ‘reader’ at the cash register, then the payment is processed using a stored card in the person’s mobile wallet apps. The most common types of mobile wallet apps are Apple Pay, Google Android Pay, Samsung Pay, Chase Pay, and Masterpass.
- Mobile web payments. This is when a customer uses a web browser on a mobile device or a mobile app (including a mobile wallet app, like Apple Pay) to make the purchase.
- QR scans. This is when a smartphone user can scan a QR code using their camera. The QR code will then take them to a link for payment.
While each of these mobile payment types comes with their benefits for automotive dealerships, it’s also important to note that the anticipated growth in mobile pay will undoubtedly force dealerships to adapt their marketing and sales strategies moving forward, if they want to keep up with changing trends in payment methods.
And, while Americans have been a little more hesitant than the rest of the world in adopting mobile pay, this form of payment is definitely anticipated to rise over the coming years. Especially if you consider that people who are now aged 0-40 are what we call ‘digital natives’ – in other words, those who have grown up using technology – and who represent a large portion of current and forecasted consumer purchasing. In fact, statistics showed that in 2020, millennials (the oldest of this age group turning 40 this year) became the leading car buyer demographic, accounting for 32 percent of all new vehicle sales.
If you’re not already convinced by the power of mobile pay, then put it this way, according to recent research, more than 85 percent of Americans now own a smartphone. In 2021, 101.2 million Americans used a mobile payment app on their smartphone and, looking forward to 2025, it is anticipated that there will be an additional 6.5 million new mobile wallet users each year.
Mobile pay reaches a wider audience
One of the most obvious benefits of mobile pay is the wider audience your dealership can reach.
If executed efficiently, mobile pay can ensure a customer’s buying experience can be as seamlessly smooth as it has ever been. Like we’ve said, for the customer, they don’t even need to leave their house if they don’t want to.
And, while that benefits the audience, don’t forget what this could mean for your dealership too. Back when dealerships relied solely on customers physically entering their showroom, their target audience might have extended across their local province – competing for business with any other automotive dealerships in close proximity, of course. Nowadays, thanks to the digital revolution, dealerships are able to reach a much wider audience – and mobile pay supports this.
Picture this, your dealership is based in California and a customer across the other side of the country, in New York, buys a car from you. They might be a new customer who has stumbled across your website or a previous shopper who relocated but is loyal to your business – either way, reaching them and allowing them to shop at your dealership is now possible thanks to the likes of mobile pay.
Adapt your marketing and sales strategies
Of course, if engaging with a national audience is now possible, you must adapt your marketing and sales strategies to support the introduction of mobile pay.
In short, if you’re looking to reach a national audience, your marketing needs to reflect this. You can’t simply rely and focus on target customers coming into your dealership. In fact, giving customers the opportunity to pay for a vehicle online, might actually discourage people from entering your dealership – which means your business needs to be prepared for potentially less footfall. Instead, you need to give customers the virtual experience they are after.
For SnapCell users this couldn’t be easier. The SnapCell app is bursting with features that help bring your dealership to life, online. Take, for example, SnapCell Live, which allows staff – including sales representatives and service technicians – to host live one-to-one video calls with customers. Or how about, simply being able to create a short, professional-looking walkaround clip of available cars, or the virtual test drive we’ve mentioned, to send to potential leads – at the click of a button. Your sales team needs to be hot off the mark and ready to take on a new way of selling cars too – brimmed with the latest industry knowledge and ready to showcase their expertise, to ensure they secure any incoming leads.
Another huge benefit to using SnapCell is that the app seamlessly integrates with payment gateways (mainly Stripe) and digital sales platforms, including Roadster and AutoFi. This means that customers can actually build their finance, or make a payment directly through the video sent to them. This approach enhances the customer experience by making the shopping journey as smooth as possible, from start to finish, which in turn will optimize revenue.
SnapCell users can also purchase SnapCell 360. This innovative tool allows dealerships to take their showroom to customers, wherever they are in the world. Designed specifically with automotive websites in mind, SnapCell 360 gives customers the ultimate digital retail experience – by allowing them to zoom in or pan around cars using their smartphone, by simply pinching or swiping. Look at it this way, mobile pay should be one of the last steps in a digital customer’s journey – make sure you put the required effort and thought into creating a suitable strategy around this stage, in order to get them to that payment page.
With power, comes planning
While introducing mobile pay at your dealership opens up a whole world of possibilities for your business. With that in mind, it’s important that you plan your business strategy to make sure you can meet the demands that come with mobile pay.
For example, you also need to consider updating your delivery methods. If you’re giving national customers the chance to buy a car from you, are you going to be offering national delivery? How will you be getting the car to the customer? Furthermore, are you going to amend your returns policy? If a customer makes a vehicle purchase without actually seeing the car first, are you going to make your policy more flexible?
As well as allowing people to buy your products or pay for your services online, you might also want to consider offering mobile pay options at your dealership, one of which is of course, contactless.
It’s not just a coincidence that since 2019, the amount of Americans using a mobile pay app has shot up by 10 million. Let’s face it, the two-year pandemic has fuelled a desire for car buyers to go contactless. Ultimately, customers have spent the past 24 months growing increasingly concerned about dealing with cash, which has made the idea of using mobile pay not only more appealing but in some cases, a necessity.
What’s more, it seems there’s no going back from this, so don’t fight it and instead, embrace the digital age.
It’s worth noting that there is currently a limit of $100 that people can spend using the contactless method, so they couldn’t buy an entire vehicle this way. However, they could pay for a service or a car part if necessary.
Become the future, thanks to SnapCell
For your dealership to really reap the benefits of mobile pay, you need to incorporate it into your overall strategy. What’s more, you need to adapt your strategy to suit the use of mobile pay and this means, giving your customers a high-class digital shopping experience. The SnapCell app has been created especially with the automotive industry in mind, giving dealerships the tools they need to produce live and pre-recorded videos for their customers. Together with SnapCell 360, SnapCell enhances a dealership’s current marketing, sales and business strategies, helping to improve a customer’s virtual shopping journey, which will ultimately lead to a drive in sales.
Take things up a gear at your dealership and book a SnapCell demo today.