The importance of finance integration
##Written by\; Tim Smith， Group Strategy Director at (link http//www.gforces.co.uk/ text GForces)*Finance is the most widely used means for funding a new car and an ever-increasing purchasing method for used. According to the (link http//www.fla.org.uk/ text Finance and Leasing association)， its members funded 77.6% of all private new car sales through dealer finance packages in May 2015 – a 6% rise on 2014’s figure. Used car finance value also grew by 8% during this period. Much of this is driven by cheap and convenient PCP deals which have been key to the resurgence of the car market.*With finance being such a key means of affording to buy a car， there is now an onus on dealers to explain their deals earlier within the customer’s buying journey. Many people purchase cars as much on the monthly repayments they can afford as they do the engine size， performance or aesthetics. To put not too finer point on it， this means the customer wants to gain a quote for finance during the research phase， much of which is spent online.Approximately 60% of the UK Top 200 dealer groups offer this functionality， and increasingly， classified sites are doing likewise. This offers several benefits above and beyond the simple ability for a customer to gauge affordability\; with new web platforms such as (link http//www.gforces.co.uk/products/netdirector-sales-suite/netdirector-auto-v10/ text NetDirector Auto V10)， users with finance integration from the likes of Codeweavers can provide their customers with a used car search facility based on their monthly budget， moving them through their purchasing journey more efficiently.There are ready and waiting benefits to including a finance module on a dealer website. Systems such as Codeweavers (link https//www.codeweavers.net/dealer-group/#product-flexicalc text FlexiCalc) and (link https//www.codeweavers.net/dealer-group/#product-finance-finder text Finance Finder) are extremely easy to use by the consumer with live adjustment allowing for instant quotations based on a dealer’s preferred lender’s packages.Nowadays， however， finance calculators offer more than a simple facility and are increasingly becoming a key part of (link http//www.fca.org.uk/ text FCA) compliance by demonstrating available products clearly via the web， and explaining them in a way which doesn't risk confusing the customer. There is an added bonus for dealer groups providing online finance tools in that they gain some very useful business intelligence that can be deployed to improve a web visitor’s propensity to become a hard lead.For example， on some websites finance calculators are being used by as many as 25% of the total number of visitors. It’s also possible to profile customers based on the data they input when using a finance tool.**Profile of a ‘typical’ finance calculator user**- Male (c. 66% of all users)- Aged between 35 and 44 (c. 24% of all users)- Wants finance over a 48 month term (c. 41% of all users)- Plans to do no more than 10，000 miles per year (c. 31% of all users)These figures were based on users of Codeweavers’ finance products on NetDirector Auto V10 websites. In addition to the above， around two thirds of people choose the PCP option when searching for finance， demonstrating the importance of this repayment option among customers. Codeweavers’ own study found that almost 50% of people were assessing their options at a dealership over 20 minutes’ drive away.This is a lot of information to digest， but it is important intelligence for dealers that can be exploited in marketing and within follow-up with potential buyers. Using our ‘typical’ car buyer above a dealer could create a finance deal which is then promoted through email marketing to prospects who have submitted their personal details through the finance calculator system. Backed up by a specific offer page on a dealer website with strong calls to action and the net result is a greater number of genuine purchase enquiries.Finance calculators have come a long way since they were first installed on dealer websites and are now a significant source of leads and intelligence that can help dealers run their businesses more profitably. As with any web tool， studying the data it creates and exploiting it is the best way of gaining true value. With integration into (link http//www.gforces.co.uk/products/netdirector-sales-suite/netdirector-auto-v10/ text NetDirector Auto V10) – itself a finely tuned conversion engine – finance products like those from Codeweavers can create significant opportunities.