One of the latest business trends in the automotive industry is adding “vehicle as a service” offerings to company product lines. There are a variety of companies, such as Flexdrive and Canvas, that rent out cars from their own fleets via a monthly subscription service. A few car manufacturers are even getting into the car subscription market themselves, such as as Audi and BMW, and they use their own vehicles straight from the factory.
Importantly, the car subscription model presents a unique opportunity for car dealerships. Offering vehicle subscriptions can help car dealerships increase revenues by enabling the dealership to (1) source new customers, (2) put aging inventory to use, and (3) receive more lifetime revenue per customer. However, to start their own vehicle subscription service, car dealerships must have a mobile app for this service. This is key, as one of the main benefits that customers enjoy with car subscription services is convenience, and a native, mobile app is an integral tool for providing a convenient user experience. In this article, we will list and discuss the most important, must-have features for a dealership's car subscription mobile app.
Must-have features for a car dealership’s vehicle subscription app
One important component for a dealership’s vehicle subscription app is that it integrates into the dealership’s existing dealership management system (DMS). As in any business, it is important to have a single source of truth. For many dealerships, their DMS system is this single source of truth, and it holds real-time inventory, billing, and customer data. With direct DMS integration, a dealership can avoid unnecessary double entry of data. With such integration, the vehicle subscription app can use real-time dealership inventory data and automatically update the dealership’s billing records.
Inventory viewing and comparison
One of the major selling points for vehicle subscription services is that customers are able to easily swap out vehicles for different makes and models. Accordingly, it is important for car dealerships to deliver value to customers on this selling point. A vehicle subscription app must have a beautiful feed of vehicles from which the customer can sort available vehicles by feature and can choose his or her desired car. Additionally, customers should be able to easily compare features side-by-side for selected vehicles.
Subscription sign up, verification, and payment
The old model of requiring a customer make an appointment, come into the dealership, and go through paperwork is a thing of the past. Customers in today’s market expect to be able to achieve all aspects of the sign up, verification, and payment process from the comfort of their mobile phone. A dealership’s vehicle subscription app must cater to this preference, and customers must be able to select their subscription plan, verify their driver’s license and credit, and make recurring payments all without ever having to step foot in the physical dealership.
Vehicle request and delivery
Car subscription companies have both figuratively and literally gone the "last mile" when it comes to making car subscription a truly mobile experience. Just as customers no longer need to visit a physical location to complete their needed paperwork, they also no longer need to visit a physical location to pick up their vehicle. Leading car subscription companies allow the customer to request their vehicle via the mobile app, and the vehicle is soon after delivered to the customer's location. While the vehicle is being prepared and delivered, customers are provided with in-app updates on the delivery status and vehicle location.
As discussed, leading car subscription companies provide a variety of mobile features that make the customer experience convenient and delightful. These features include inventory viewing and selection capabilities, sign up/verification/payment processes, and vehicle request and delivery functionality. So that your dealership can benefit from this new market trend, these mobile app capabilities can be integrated into your existing DMS software. To read more on this space, take a look at our related blog posts on innovation and technology in the automotive industry.
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