Consider, these two possible scenarios for buying a new car online directly from the manufacturer:
The customer has performed their research, found a car and is committed to the process but, to ensure the procedure meets the required governance and fraud prevention requirements, they’re weighed down by endless box-filling and ID verification – before even getting to the point of purchase. The process is boring, time-consuming, and does little to convince the customer to see it through to the end, with so many perceived barriers, is it any wonder that potential customers become disenchanted with the experience and drop out of the purchasing journey?
Now, what about this way:
An online shopper finds the car they like on the manufacturer’s website. After a couple of light-touch security questions, and the selection of various options, they’re sent directly to the point of purchase. Within a few minutes, a potential customer has been turned into an actual customer. Their current vehicle can also be checked for its identity and provenance and guidance regarding its value and any action needed in areas such as un-settled secured finance.
This second scenario seems both customer-centric and business-friendly yet, rightly, some might raise a concern about the seeming lack of validation and fraud-prevention built into the process.
But what if those measures weren’t ignored? What if they just appeared later?
The point is not to reduce security, but to turn validation back to front, so that potential customers are moved to the point of sale quickly. Checks remain in the system, just at a different stage.
Using the right ID verification technology, the manufacturer and / or lender could ask one or two initial questions to check against information on a potential customer to which its systems already has access. Further verification checks could then be added to the digital journey after the point of purchase. Qualify and empower the consumer and apply the required full validation, should the actual transaction progress.
Shifting around the purchase and ID validation processes might seem like a radical departure but, for some in the car industry, even these changes don’t go far enough. So, let’s consider this: what if, after the point of purchase, there were no further online checks? What if, for the customer, the digital process ended there and all they had to do was await delivery?
The idea of dispensing with online validation might seem alarming, but what if those steps were instead built into the handover of the new car?
Manufacturers and lenders could insist on delivering to a home address where ID documents could be made available to a trained delivery driver responsible for handing over the new vehicle, who would scan them using a smartphone app and could even verify via facial recognition. The car would then be unloaded, and the handover completed, while additional fraud checks are taking place. By the time the delivery driver is ready to accept a signature to complete the purchase, a message will have been sent through the app confirming all necessary security measures had been validated.
Doesn’t that sound like a quicker and easier way to sell cars and verify the customer’s identity?
In fact, speeding customers towards a purchase and reducing dropout rates might not be the only benefit: if similar processes were used by all major brands, then making a purchase wouldn’t be an area where competitive advantage could really exist.
If the purchasing experience was broadly similar across all manufacturers’ digital assets, then buying decisions could be refocused on factors such as cost, performance, and brand.
How many car companies wouldn’t want that?