TradePending TV

Website Options to Help People to Understand How Much They Can Afford

When it comes to helping your website visitors learn how much car they can afford, or what their estimated monthly payment is going to be, there are a dizzying array of options. We’re going to break them down here.

To make sense of this, you’ve got to first recognize that you’ve got all sorts of different people visiting your website in very different stages of their shopping journey. The vast majority are going to be early stage browsers, just doing their research. A much smaller percentage of visitors, usually single digit percentages, are there to build a deal and buy online.

Therefore it makes sense that payment software on your website should cater to these different types of browsers. 

Here are the four options available to help customers understand how much they can afford when browsing your website. 

Basic Payment Calculators
First up are the basic payment calculators. They’re super fast to complete, but have some drawbacks. Namely, they’re not great at taking into account various factors like credit score, trade-ins, or specific financing terms, resulting in calculations that are too basic. They also don’t include additional costs like taxes, fees and insurance. This can give buyers a false sense of affordability which they’re gonna blame you for, not the tool. They also usually don’t have real-time market data, and with as crazy as rates have been this is probably gonna create more problems than it’s worth.

3rd Party Banks
Next up are the 3rd party banks that have buttons you can embed on your site. The pro here being you get some great name recognition. The downsides being they typically take customers off your site, steers the consumer to work with them, and removes you from any element of control in the F of the F&I process.

Digital Retailing
The third approach is “digital retailing”, aka the buy-a-car 100% online approach. This approach appeals to the people that really do want to buy a car online, and are committed to spending the 30-60 minutes completing the online forms to initiate that process. The downside being that this approach doesn’t appeal to most of your website visitors, so you’ll typically see a lot higher abandonment rates if you’re steering everyone into this process to just figure out a monthly payment.

Website Conversion Tools
Finally you’ve got the tools that are built to get customers that first estimate of a monthly payment as quickly as possible, i.e. convert as much website traffic into leads as possible. These typically deliver a payment range instead of a penny perfect payment, so it won’t appeal to those customers that want exact figures. 

The pros here are that consumers move through the process a lot faster, you’ve got control over the numbers shown, and that estimated range can protect you if the consumer doesn’t have a good understanding of their credit or the other factors that influence a payment. This is what we do with our Payments product.

Options 2, 3, and 4 are all valid approaches that appeal to different types of consumers. If you want to see how our approach works, you know where to find us.




Are there any strategies to mitigate the risk of providing inaccurate affordability estimates to website visitors?

Basic payment calculators offer a quick way for website visitors to estimate their monthly payments, but they often overlook important factors like credit score, trade-ins, and specific financing terms. To address these limitations, some calculators may incorporate additional fields or prompts to gather more detailed information from users. Dealerships can also provide educational resources or disclaimers to ensure users understand the limitations of the calculator and encourage them to consult with a finance expert for a more accurate assessment.


Can you elaborate on the features and functionalities of digital retailing tools for buying cars online?

Digital retailing tools enable customers to complete the car-buying process entirely online, catering to those who prefer the convenience of digital transactions. While this approach appeals to a subset of consumers, it may result in higher abandonment rates among website visitors who are not ready to commit to an online purchase. To address this challenge, dealerships can offer digital retailing as an option alongside traditional browsing methods and provide clear communication about the benefits and limitations of each approach. Additionally, dealerships can implement strategies to streamline the online purchasing process and address common concerns or objections to increase conversion rates and customer satisfaction.