At Ford-Lincoln Fairfield, consumers can choose not only what to buy -- in terms of vehicles, options and finance and insurance products -- but how to buy.
While the California dealership is working to ensure that it's on the cutting edge with the latest online shopping tools, it isn't ignoring ways to improve the in-store experience.
If shoppers want to buy online and never set foot in the dealership, Ford-Lincoln Fairfield will accommodate them on its website. It uses Express Storefront, an online-buying platform from Roadster that allows shoppers to select a vehicle, get approved for credit, sift through F&I options and have the car or truck delivered to them.
Roadster is a San Francisco startup that made its name working as a broker to close deals so consumers can order a car online without coming into a store. Now, it's providing tools that dealers can use to modernize the shopping experience.
Ford-Lincoln Fairfield shoppers who prefer to come to the dealership can work through deals using Roadster's new app that puts the buying process on a tablet.
"We don't care if you buy it online or you come in the store and buy it," Bill Benak, Ford-Lincoln Fairfield's general manager, told Automotive News. "We don't care if you finish the transaction here or we bring the paperwork to their house. We'll do it either way."
The iOS-based Roadster app aims to add transparency to deals and speed transaction times.
Roadster COO Rudi Thun said, "The mission of the company is to reinvent this sales process, reimagine it and transform it, by thinking about the consumer-first experience and then allowing the dealership to be empowered to present the process in the way they want to."
Roadster's products currently are available in California only, but they're in the process of being rolled out at dealerships in several states, including Utah, Illinois and Pennsylvania.
The company declined to discuss pricing.
The Roadster app, an extension of Express Storefront, also lets shoppers select vehicles and choose what F&I products work best for them in an organized menu. Consumers can see how much various F&I options add to monthly payments in the app before picking one.
Data show that the dealership's move to be progressive both in the store and online is a wise one. DealerSocket, which partnered with Google to survey more than 2,000 consumers in August who bought vehicles in the last year, found that one-third of shoppers want to complete an entire transaction online.
Online car purchases are a growing trend, but there's still a large segment of the buying public that wants to come to dealerships to purchase vehicles.