Times have changed – especially in the automotive business. Thanks to the growing influence of Millennials (and Generation Z) as members of the country’s car buying club, the very way cars are sold is evolving at a fast rate. Combined, these consumers have purchasing influence equal to trillions of dollars, and very specific ways they wish to go about buying cars. For example, they may take their time researching a purchase online, but once a decision is made they want the process to go quickly. In fact, Autotrader’s “2016 Car Buyer Journey” report found that shopper satisfaction decreased the longer they stayed in the showroom. According to the report, “of the 3-hours average time spent at the dealership during the purchase process, more than half of that time is spent negotiating or doing paperwork, resulting in a 56 percent satisfaction rate for the process.”
The last thing they anticipate are hassles with title or plates.
Welcome to the No-Hassle Era of Online to In-Store Automotive Retail
Today’s car buyers expect that the services and systems powering their transaction are connected, seamless and transparent to their experience. That expectation doesn’t stop once the deal is made, but continues through the entire process of purchasing a vehicle, from online shopping tools to in-store workflows that include a myriad of significant steps required by law.
That includes registration and titling. Yes, it’s a complicated part of the business few want to know about. It doesn’t take up the entire showroom, or have its own infrastructure, like parts and service. It’s unsung and unheralded, but here’s the thing: registration and titling may not have the cache of digital marketing, but in today’s fast-lane speed of car sales, how it all comes together after the deal is done is among the most important aspects for dealer and customer. Indeed, arranging the documented purchase of a vehicle in this environment takes software-driven efficiency and personnel-managed expertise. It takes high-powered technology built around a smooth and always-on connection between experienced title clerks and a state DMV system – supported by a service that takes care of mundane tasks and ensures speed, accuracy, and flexibility.
Registration and Titling: A Traditional Transformation
Since 2010 or so, the registration and titling side of automotive retail has made significant steps toward integrating with the online to in-store expectations of Millennials – and all car shoppers. With increasing mandates by State DMVs to move away from traditional, paper-based methods and adopt online processes, dealerships are revamping the way they handle these transactions. It’s frankly a required efficiency standard, and not just due to government mandates: increasing sales volumes, shrinking gross profits, ever-more complex laws and stringent requirements around the security of consumer data make technology-driven registration and titling a simple fact of life. Indeed, if dealerships fail to provide accurate and timely registration and titling services, they will eventually be faced with unhappy customers, disgruntled lenders, possible State fines and penalties. Case in point: California stipulates that all dealers have a National Motor Vehicle Title Information System Report (NMVTIS) to show consumers, and since 2006 the State has adopted a Car Buyer’s Bill of Rights that includes transparency into the registration and titling process.
Creating an Online to In-store Environment of Registration and Titling Efficiency
In order to meet the expectations of today’s car buyers, satisfy State requirements and improve non-sales staff efficiency, dealerships must provide a connected and comprehensive service that emphasizes speed, accuracy, experience and a flexibility that scales to meet the ever-changing needs of today’s car buyers:
- Speed: Critical to handle increasing sales volumes, with a simple-to-use interface that anticipates the needs of data entry.
- Accuracy: Mistakes cost time and that hurts efficiency. A good system should have checks and balances in place to help ensure that submitted work is flawless.
- Experience: No matter how advanced the technology, only a service provider with deep experience in the field can keep pace with changes to the complex world of vehicle titling and DMV regulations, compliance and PII mandates.
- Flexibility: Today’s registration and titling services should be able to handle in-state and out-of-state requirements equally well, and must be able to get titles released fast on vehicle trade-ins.
Times are changing. And with those changes come new expectations from customers who approach vehicle purchases in an on-the-go way. That underlines the need for speed, accuracy and seamless integration across all dealership operations, from showroom to the registration and titling office.