Getting through each stage in the sales process, or customer journey as it is known, is difficult and requires increasing effort as the customer moves through the stages towards conversion, from entering the website to completion of the sale. The goal for every company is for customers not to abandon the shopping process, which frequently happens during the final step in the journey: payment.
Abandoning the purchase process due to lack of clarity about payment is common in high-value transactions, such as vehicles. It is essential that financing conditions are reported transparently, if the customer has decided they want to buy the item. This can be done using the Auto Loan API, which integrates financing for purchasing vehicles from dealers.
Designing a fluid customer journey
The “customer journey” is the route the customer follows to buy something. This involves overcoming a series of phases or “barriers”, whether online or offline. In a physical store, for example, the customer must enter the store to buy something. They won’t be able to do this if they don’t know the dealer’s address.
There are also barriers to the process in the online environment, including accessibility barriers. From not being clear what the product includes – bad packaging – to cumbersome registration processes that make it difficult to complete all the boxes. The better this customer journey or experience is designed, the fewer customers we will lose along the way. That is the goal:
These experiences are like a funnel, with fewer people usually buying the good or service than enter the site, even when the “conversion funnel” is very well designed. In other words, a well-designed customer journey will only increase the percentage of purchases compared to the number of people who visit the site.
Why do customers abandon the online shopping process?
There are many reasons why potential customers might close an ecommerce site and be lost without buying anything, sometimes with their cart already full, and go to look for another point of sale. This could be because the product or service isn’t what they were looking for, or because they think it is too expensive or that shipping would be impossible. These are important factors relating to the object in question and after-sales service.
The utilitarian and rational (“I need a safe vehicle for my family”) and emotional (“I want a more powerful vehicle to feel better”) characteristics of vehicle purchases usually lead to a strong desire to buy. However, this can be ruined when, at the end of the process and once the model has been customized, the customer is confused about the payment conditions. There is no room for doubts in this process.
There are many reasons why online vehicle sales that are about to be completed by the buyer might fall through. This is usually to do with mistrust, arising from things like payment gateways without SSL certificates, the use of languages the user doesn’t understand, payment in a foreign currency and not knowing what the monthly charges will be.
The latter point involves making the financing conditions for the vehicle clear. This is a tool that dealers do not always have access to online and this often results in users making in-person appointments. This raises another barrier in the customer journey. APIs such as Auto Loan seek to eliminate this barrier by building customer trust.
Integration of online loan options into the sale process
Today’s technology enables the integration of APIs developed by third parties throughout the purchasing process. These are useful options that can facilitate smoother, barrier-free customer journeys. This is the case with the Auto Loan API, which informs customers of their financing options so they know in advance how much they will pay, for how long and what the total interest will be, using a loan simulator.
Implementing these bank loan simulations at the end of the vehicle sale process smooths out the rough edges the user might experience, answering questions and increasing that crucial percentage of sales to the number of people who visited the website for information about the vehicle they wanted to buy.
When this API is integrated, cost and payment for the vehicle are no longer barriers. They are now transparently displayed, smoothing the process. Buyers can now view realistic scenarios for their financing options and — this is the major added value for both the user and the dealer — access financing options without leaving the shopping process.
What does the Auto Loan API add to the customer journey?
What we have said so far has been rather generic and valid for any online shopping process; smoothing the customer journey is always a valuable strategy, irrespective of what is being sold. We will now consider the specific advantages of the Auto Loan API developed by BBVA and available through BBVA API_Market for use by dealers and digital sales points.
The main benefits of using this API include:
1. It makes it easier for customers to decide to buy
Presenting simulated information on what the financing would look like adds an incentive to the process, as it removes a crucial unknown for the buyer. The financing cost is different to the price of the vehicle. It depends on the financing conditions that the customer hopes to be able to personalize for their financial position.
2. It prevents customers from having to make two customer journeys
Customers need to go through two purchasing processes if there is no a simulation of the payment terms: first, to decide whether to buy the vehicle; and then to decide how to pay for it. The Auto Loan API merges these experiences into a smoother, non-stop path, eliminating the need to search for an agency to provide credit and resolving that problem for the buyer.
3. Integration with seamless transitions
Another strength of well-designed APIs is the ability to provide seamless transitions in the purchasing process, without users perceiving leaps or borders that might make them feel they have entered another system, which could generate that mistrust we discussed earlier.
4. It incorporates BBVA’s security and reliability
We have mentioned mistrust in general terms as a factor in customers abandoning purchases. But it is also important to highlight points where trust can be enhanced. In this case, the support and trustworthiness provided by BBVA to vehicle buyers looking for credit to complete their purchase, through a simulator provided by a bank they trust.
Find out more about our Auto Loan API and how to integrate it into your business in our API Catalog section.