Customer Gateway Launches: Helps Bridge Digital Retail’s Online to In-store Gap
eLEND Solutions’ new platform is designed to speed up transactions, remove bottlenecks between online and instore buying process and enable customers to do more remotely
Las Vegas, Nevada– March 10, 2022 – eLEND Solutions, an automotive FinTech company focused on accelerating ‘transactional’ digital buying experiences, today announced at The NADA Show 2022, the launch of Customer Gateway, a certified, secure platform that enables car buyers/shoppers to complete more buying steps remotely (away from the dealership). By simplifying the purchasing process, and eliminating online to in-store experience gaps, Customer Gateway can reduce in-store transaction times – a key pain point for both car buyers and auto dealers.
“Digital retailing does not mean that the traditional sales process goes away. Buyers are always going to prefer to shop and transact on their own terms, so sales processes must be flexible enough to meet the needs of all buying scenarios – online only, in-store only, and hybrid. This is why we developed Customer Gateway – to help unify the buying experiences and enable frictionless online to in-store transitions by connecting workflows,” said Pete MacInnis, CEO and Founder of eLEND Solutions.
Customer Gateway allows car shoppers/buyers, prior to a dealership visit, to re-access and update previously submitted information and upload any required documentation (i.e. Driver License, Proof of Insurance, Income, etc.), while also tying their vehicle of interest, trade, cash down and desired payment terms to the actual credit application process. It streamlines the experience and enhances continuity by integrating with platforms involved in the sales and finance deal flow, including DealerTrack & RouteOne, securely moving critical information between the dealership’s CRM, Inventory and F&I platforms.
“Missing or problematic integrations create information disconnects and inefficiencies, which is directly related to consumers’ #1 car buying complaint: it takes too long to purchase a vehicle. Customer Gateway makes the entire buying experience easier and more efficient for buyers and sellers. It is focused on facilitating consumers’ and auto dealers’ common goal: Sell the car as efficiently and transparently as possible,” continued MacInnis.
In the first month of Customer Gateway’s soft launch, 99% of the nearly 5,300 customer documents uploads were customer-initiated, unsolicited by the dealer – offering compelling evidence that consumers crave opportunities to do more of the sales process remotely.
Customer Gateway is a plus for dealers because it makes more information about the customer’s buying power transparent, earlier in the engagement - enabling the dealer to work closely with their potential buyers right from the start, quote realistic payment terms, structure more profitable deals faster and improve closing ratios.
Dealerships who have piloted Gateway confirm its benefits: Said Rob Gonzalez of Rush Chevrolet Texas: “eLEND Solutions is a core component of our Digital Retail strategy, with almost 500 customers monthly getting pre-qualified upfront in the sales process with their online tool. The Customer Gateway feature takes it to the next level with a good percentage of those customers updating their information and uploading documents to speed up the process.
Tony Klarakis of Dan Cummins Chevrolet Buick – KY- agrees: “eLEND Solutions generates almost 800 online credit apps per month for us. When they turned on the Customer Gateway, our customers started uploading documents on their own, helping us get deals done much faster and more efficiently. This is Real Digital Retailing for Dealers!”
How Customer Gateway works:
- Once a customer has raised their digital hand with intent to buy through one of eLEND’s Credit or Identification solutions, or through API’s from other digital retailing sources, the Customer Gateway reaches out to the customer via text or email to begin the process.
- Upon secure login, the customer can upload as well as re-access and update, information and documentation. This, in turn, ties their vehicle of interest, vehicle trade-in, cash down and desired monthly payment to the actual credit application process.
- The customer can choose to pre-qualify online or to digitally update their current credit app with co-signers, co-buyers and references, along with additional digital consent/signatures, to send application to lenders.
- Documentation that the customer can securely upload includes driver license, auto insurance card, recent paystubs, utility bills and any other documents requested by the dealer in the negotiation process.
- The platform preserves a consistent, certified and secure flow of the consumer’s information across the entire transaction, from online to instore with a progress bar showing the customer how much of the sales process information has been completed. The dealership can configure any information that needs to be completed remotely by the customer. This information progress bar is also displayed on the dealership dashboard.
Customer Gateway enters the market as auto dealerships continue to struggle with shortening transaction times: the time spent in dealerships by consumers has decreased by only five minutes in the past five years, Cox Automotive reports, in spite of the pandemic and accelerated digital retailing adoption. Dealers, meanwhile, overwhelmingly agree that there is disconnect between online shopping and instore buying and that it must be solved to shorten transaction times and improve customer experience .
“The biggest barriers to digital retailing’s ability to improve transaction times, PVR and customer satisfaction, are the chronic information and process disconnect from the online to instore process. Customer Gateway can solve this, shifting the information pendulum back towards the auto dealer and helping to transition Digital Retailing from a Lead Generation model to a Deal Generation model – and that is a game-changer,” concluded MacInnis.
The company will be demonstrating Customer Gateway at the 2022 NADA Show at booth 4307W.
About eLEND Solutions:
eLEND SolutionsTM dba DealerCentric Solutions® Inc. is a privately-held automotive FinTech company focused on deal generation, not lead generation solutions – that power transactional digital buying experiences for the retail automotive industry.
The platform specializes in digital credit, identity, and finance solutions for remote and in-store shoppers, designed to accelerate conversions of digital end-to-end purchase experiences concluding with fundable, transactable deal structures. By changing when and how the shopper is introduced to realistic payment information and dealership financing options, the combination of technology and data enable the dealer and the customer to come together much faster, and more profitably.
For more information, please visit www.elendsolutions.com.
1 Cox Automotive 2022 Car Buyer Journey study - the time consumers spent with the auto dealership dropped only five minutes in five years: from 2:42 minutes in 2017 to 2:37 minutes in 2021 https://www.coxautoinc.com/news/2021-car-buyer-journey-study/