The wrong technology partner might set consumer payment expectations out of line with what a dealership offers, thereby eroding consumer trust, a software and analytics firm warns.
"That is the biggest complaint that we hear, and we talk to thousands of dealerships a month," said Rusty West, CEO of Market Scan Technologies Inc. in Camarillo, Calif.
Some technology companies are quoting customers a different payment price than what's ultimately available at a dealership, creating an unintended "bait-and-switch" effect.
"The biggest complaint that we hear from dealers is, 'I'm not being accurately represented, so the consumer looks at me like they looked at us in the '80s — which is the polyester plaid sport coat, slicked-back hair, big teeth, bait-and-switch guy,' " West said. "The industry, I think, has done a fantastic job rehabilitating that stigma. It's kinda back, but this time it's not earned."
Dealers should consider regular audits to ensure online quotes are in sync with the dealer's pricing. And dump any tech company that is creating a discrepancy issue, West said.
"Choose your friends and business partners wisely," he said, "and everything should work out OK."
Jackie Charniga contributed to this report.