Tag Archive | "Mobile Menu Roundup"

Mobile Menus Pave the Way to the Future of F&I


Technology is a driving factor in our lives today, and the menu market is no different. Consumers have access to it in their personal lives, and use it to research everything from the food they eat to the big-ticket purchases – like cars – that they make. Many of them are getting to a point where they even make those purchases online, via companies like Peapod.com, or from dealerships that offer Internet purchasing.

What that means to the average dealer – and agent – is that consumers today live on their technology. They trust it, they purchase on it, and they are getting to a point where they are more comfortable with it than they are with older, paper systems. They will gravitate and trust dealerships and products that are presented to them in a format they are already comfortable with, making the process smoother, and putting them in a less defensive, more open to buying state of mind.

To facilitate this transition to the new mobile menu world, we invited several players in the mobile menu software business to give us a little information about their products, and some insight into where they see the market going. While they range in opinion as to whether dealerships should hand an iPad over to the customer to walk themselves through a presentation, or whether the F&I manager should keep control of the process, they all agree that the platform itself is the future of the business.

Digital is shaping the future of almost every industry, and ours, in particular, is starting to see the beginnings of a revolution in what consumers want out of a vehicle, but more than that, they want the process of purchasing it to feel like it belongs in the age of Internet shopping and digital downloading. By providing agents, and through them dealerships, with the tools to meet this consumer need head on, the whole industry will win with happier customers and increased sales.

To read about each product, and how each of these companies sees the future of F&I menus, click on their name below.

Mobile Menu Roundup

IAS

Matt Nowicki, Vice President, Retail Software
IAS

1. Please give a brief overview of your mobile offering.
We have two different mobile offerings: one of them is an interactive F&I interview and survey application called SmartPad. The other is an extension to our SmartMenu desktop application called Interactive Menu.

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The Impact Group

Mark Thorpe, President
The Impact Group Inc.

1. Please give a brief overview of your mobile offering.
Since Impact’s beginning, we have developed our applications with a belief in the importance of technology in the F&I process, and with the future of technology in our business constantly in mind. As we all know, the “mobile menu” has become a hot topic in our industry over the last several months.

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iTapMenu

Shawn McCool, Game Changer
iTapMenu

1. Please give a brief overview of your mobile offering.
iTapMenu is an all-new version of the F&I menu utilized on the iPad. The patented application provides an industry exclusive menu structure and true “drag and drop” capabilities with instant calculations.

Read More »

MaximTrak Technologies

Jim Maxim Jr., President
MaximTrak Technologies

1. Please give a brief overview of your mobile offering.
MobileTrak is an enterprise level mobile solution for the F&I Industry. It enables Dealers and F&I Managers to cut the cords from the “traditional” F&I Office while making presentations, handling objections and contracting F&I business. MobileTrak leverages the MaximTrak platform in a mobile-optimized offering for dealerships, agents and administrative companies.

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MenuSys LLC

Erick Woods, President
MenuSys LLC

1. Please give a brief overview of your mobile offering.
The MenuSys Tablet Experience brings together many critical selling tools; these features are designed specifically for tablet computers. Included are customer interviews, product sales charts (VSC, GAP), brochures, a drawing pad for adding your own unique touch and, most importantly, it features the Tablet Menu.

Read More »

Ristken Software Services

Patrick DeMarco, President
Ristken Software Services

1. Please give a brief overview of your mobile offering.
Ristken is currently deploying a multi-module, multi-phase technology platform named iCollaborate. This platform is designed to extend the existing functionality of Ristken’s platforms while at the same time enhancing and adding functionality that is well suited to leverage the emerging mobile, tablet and “kiosk-like” platforms.

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IAS


Matt Nowicki, Vice President, Retail Software
IAS

1. Please give a brief overview of your mobile offering.
We have two different mobile offerings: one of them is an interactive F&I interview and survey application called SmartPad. The other is an extension to our SmartMenu desktop application called Interactive Menu.

With some of the other competitive offerings, most take the approach of taking an entire menu program and putting it on a tablet. It’s not the same form, but F&I managers use it to configure the menu, then hand it over to customer. Our solution has two separate interfaces – a Web-based system used by the F&I manager to configure the menu, and then the tablet-based system which provides the customer experience. The F&I manager first builds the menu specific to the customer, then sends it to the tablet for the customer to review. The customer then gets an interactive experience, including product brochures, videos, manuals – all the information they would have had on paper, plus a whole lot more.

In addition, while every paper menu has an area with sections for things like deal figures, packages, product descriptions, payments, etc., we’ve broken that up so the customer only sees one at a time. Not only does it make the information easier to digest, it also helps the agent, dealer, and F&I manager maintain control over the process.

That’s something I think really sets us apart – we don’t agree it’s the right time to give up complete control to the customer. Some companies have theorized that the customer should design their own menu, only seeing products they want. We want to make sure they see all the products – as a starting point every customer sees the same thing, just like the paper products we’ve used for years.

2. Which mobile devices are supported?
We work on everything – Android, iPads, even PCs. If an F&I manager wants they can just flip the monitor around for the customer to look at.

3. Have you developed a specific mobile application or have enabled your software for mobile devices?
Our SmartMenu product, which provides the F&I manager interface, is not new and that’s by design. We’ve spent ten years perfecting that interface and we feel that an F&I manager will always work faster with a keyboard and mouse than with a tablet where you have to touch or type on the screen to make customizations. The customer interface, on the other hand, was build from the ground up and was was designed specifically for mobile platforms based on HTML5.

4. Explain the way you expect the F&I manager to use your mobile solution.
The F&I manager would log on to the SmartMenu web site as always where they would extract the key deal information from their DMS using our Certified DMS Integration. Then they update product prices and other settings specific to the customer. The manager would then click a button that sends the menu directly to the tablet, which is now configured specifically for that customer. This whole process takes about two minutes. Most F&I managers will then walk the customer through the menu using the tablet interface, although some dealers may choose to have the dealer sit on the showroom floor and navigate the menu on their own.

5. How will this enhance the sales process for the F&I manager?
Two things: One, it puts more tools at their fingertips related to each individual product. They can click on a product and get all the details instead of having to root around for brochures. Two, it helps focus the customer on individual elements of the menu without getting “sticker shock”. With a paper menu the F&I manager does not have a chance to build product value before the customer sees the monthly payments and develops internal resistance. Now, an F&I manager can control the process, so the customer doesn’t see pricing until they’ve learned about each individual product. The F&I manager can focus all of his or her energy on each product before getting into the economics.

6. What other mobile solutions do you believe the F&I office and agents will see in the next few years?
I think you’ll see full e-contracting on the tablet happen soon, and not just warranty plans, but the entire deal all at once. Right now we have different types of warranties that can be e-contracted, but I think we’ll also see the odometer statement, retail installment contract, lender documents, etc. being completed electronically.

7. Does your product benefit agents?
Absolutely! Just like an agent, my paycheck depends on the sale of warranty products NOT the sale of software. So I’d never promote a technology solution that I didn’t think would sell more warranties. And I think this technology solution will absolutely lead to more product sales.

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The Impact Group Inc.


Mark Thorpe, President
The Impact Group Inc.

1. Please give a brief overview of your mobile offering.
Since Impact’s beginning, we have developed our applications with a belief in the importance of technology in the F&I process, and with the future of technology in our business constantly in mind. As we all know, the “mobile menu” has become a hot topic in our industry over the last several months. Candidly, we have concerns about the potential consequences of moving the entire F&I process out of a dedicated finance office. Yet despite those concerns, we also see the potential for mobile technology within today’s dealerships, and believe there are opportunities to enhance the F&I process with mobile technology in incredibly positive ways. Fusion’s current capabilities are interactive, and configured on a case-by-case basis to fit a dealership’s specific processes, products and presentation styles in any setting, including the mobile menu platform. Those capabilities include branded product presentations and closing tools, standard ImpactAnalytics reporting features, certified DMS integration, extensive e-rating/e-contracting features and legal compliance protection—all with class leading implementation and support.

2. Which mobile devices are supported?
Fusion is currently compatible with most Windows or Android based operating systems. The newest version of Impact’s menu applications is currently in development, and will include additional compatibilities with devices such as the Apple iPad. The reporting features of Impact’s offerings can also be utilized through any tablet device with access to the internet.

3. Have you developed a specific mobile application or have enabled your software for mobile devices?
Fusion has been enabled for use with mobile devices, and with our next version’s release in early 2013, we will be offering major enhancements to the current platform, for use in both desktop and mobile settings.

4. Explain the way you expect the F&I manager to use your mobile solution.
That depends on the flow of business in the specific F&I manager’s dealership. In our setup and configuration process, we analyze a dealership’s current processes and work with the agent, the F&I staff and management to determine where they are falling short, and in what configuration the technology can be most successful for them. The goal is to provide the most stable and flexible F&I menu application in the marketplace. So with that in mind, Fusion’s mobile capabilities allow the F&I manager to remove the menu presentation from the F&I office entirely, or utilize it within the F&I office to supplement their current process. Either way, the ultimate idea is to optimize customer engagement, and capitalize on a customized, needs-driven presentation with a user friendly application.

5. How will this enhance the sales process for the F&I manager?
The flow of deal information, and how that information gets applied to the F&I presentation process, is a key component in making an F&I department successful. Fusion is designed to optimize that informational flow. Further, in high pressure environments or during busy days, the time constraints in preparing a new deal and configuring the menu presentation should be the least of the F&I manager’s worries. Utilizing certified DMS integration, customized and branded presentation tools, and allowing the F&I manager to make the interactive presentation from anywhere in the dealership, Fusion offers all the same great presentation capabilities it always has, but now with an even more flexible mobile strategy.

6. What other mobile solutions do you believe the F&I office and agents will see in the next few years?
In the car business today, we face a constant struggle to meet the demands of a very educated consumer. Our customers enter the dealership armed with bluebook printouts and all the information they think they need to make good decisions. But anyone familiar with the business can quickly realize that’s not always the case. Impact believes that technology offers us a huge opportunity to counterbalance the effects of an information overloaded customer on the F&I department.

The reason the mobile menu has so quickly come into high demand is that we are trying to create conveniences for the client, and bring the F&I process to them in a way that accommodates their comfort zone, with the hope that it will translate into F&I profit for us. Given that hope, we also feel that a huge benefit of mobile technology is to ensure an effective turn-over to F&I and capitalize on every opportunity. How many customers never end up in the finance office? Mobile technology gives us the ability to make effective F&I presentations to customers who might never even set foot in the dealership. Whether they’re at home, in their office or in a completely different state or country, having the ability make a great online presentation on our aftermarket options, using all the tools of your menu in a Web-conference setting can mean bigger results and higher CSI.

We believe the mobile menu might be a first step toward a much bigger shift in our industry from a process standpoint. Even today, our dealers can (and do) utilize the Fusion process to do remote F&I. We see the potential for major enhancements to that process.

7. Does your product benefit agents?
Impact was originally founded as a general agency, and as a result of our experience we understand the needs and challenges of today’s agents in the marketplace. Robust systems are in place to keep our agents informed of what’s happening in their dealers’ stores when they’re not around. From an income development and compliance standpoint, Fusion is designed to sell from strength and move the PVR needle, but our reporting features also come standard. Whether Fusion is used as a mobile or desktop presentation, agents have quick access to F&I performance data right at their fingertips, and a technology partner with an in-depth knowledge of their world that is determined to act as their advocate.

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iTapMenu


Shawn McCool, Game Changer
iTapMenu

1. Please give a brief overview of your mobile offering.
iTapMenu is an all-new version of the F&I menu utilized on the iPad. The patented application provides an industry exclusive menu structure and true “drag and drop” capabilities with instant calculations.

2. Which mobile devices are supported?
We support all version of the iPad.

3. Have you developed a specific mobile application or have enabled your software for mobile devices?
iTapMenu is enabled to work on the iPad.

4. Explain the way you expect the F&I manager to use your mobile solution.
There are many ways an F&I Manager can use iTap. Some have simply replaced their paper menu with iTapMenu. Others have made it a truly “mobile” menu and use it outside of their F&I office. We encourage customer interactivity but would not recommend giving the iPad to the customer.

5. How will this enhance the sales process for the F&I manager?
iTap creates a “shift” in relation to the customer experience. The “drag and drop” technology allows truly customized options. You are no longer “boxed in” to the pre-created menu offerings. In addition, each product has “equal opportunity” to be selected and purchased because of the unique menu structure and this technology.

6. Does your product benefit agents?
We continue to grow our business through the independent agent and view them as vital to our success and the industry in general. iTap clients have reported a much higher “product per delivery” score compared to other menu structures and providers. Therefore, the independent agent will produce more product sales resulting in more commissions. In addition, we have numerous independent agents that have used iTap as their primary training solution which has resulted in acquiring dealership business through the partnership.

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MaximTrak Technologies


Jim Maxim Jr., President
MaximTrak Technologies

1. Please give a brief overview of your mobile offering.
MobileTrak is an enterprise level mobile solution for the F&I Industry. It enables Dealers and F&I Managers to cut the cords from the “traditional” F&I Office while making presentations, handling objections and contracting F&I business. MobileTrak leverages the MaximTrak platform in a mobile-optimized offering for dealerships, agents and administrative companies.

Similar to our traditional F&I Technologies, we segment our mobility solutions into three main product categories: MenuTrak, Dashboards and E-Trak.

MenuTrak is our flagship F&I Menu platform and is the backbone of our product offerings. This encompasses all of the transaction-based, point-of-sale services that our company offers including F&I Menu and Sales Tools as well as incorporating a number of application services including Certified DMS integration, compliance tools, credit application integrations and private label programs. Dashboards is our company’s management reporting suite of services that includes real-time reporting technologies, DMS enabled reporting programs and interactive management dashboard for dealers, product providers and income development consultants.and E-Trak is the company’s e-business platform supporting e-Rating, e-Contracting, e-Signature, e-Registration and coming soon e-Pay. Our F&I Network is connected to roughly 100 industry participants, administrative platforms and exchange networks.

2. Which mobile devices are supported?
Currently MaximTrak supports the big two, Apple iOS (iPad) and Google Android operating systems which represent a very large percent of the overall tablet market. Kindle Fire is something that we are watching closely and we believe that 2013 will be a revolutionary year for Microsoft’s new Surface device which we are heavy supporters of given its capabilities for the business user.

Most of our dealers are using iPads today. The iPad by far is the most robust platform out there to date. However we expect some new entrants to start chipping away at the impressive market share Apple has been able to achieve.

3. Have you developed a specific mobile application or have enabled your software for mobile devices?
We have not released a specific device application to the market, but rather we have built infrastructure and mobile-optimized solutions that can be used in a broad spectrum of applications and mobile devices. MaximTrak is a cloud-based application solution, so we try not to get into specific platform development.

4. Explain the way you expect the F&I manager to use your mobile solution.
MobileTrak replaces the paper and cuts the cords that tie an F&I Manager to the F&I office or desk for presentations, upsell, closing and contract execution. With MobileTrak, F&I Managers can run multiple payment scenarios, modify menus and presentations on the fly, utilize sales aids to address customer questions and have the customer sign on the “dotted line”, all on the MobileTrak solution.

Today, F&I Managers are able to leverage the training that they receive and take the old paper processes to the next level by employing state-of-the-art technology. This means that much of the sales processes are similar (except being tied to the F&I office) but the way in which we interact with the consumer at the point-of-sale has been enhanced dramatically… and the results are paying off.

5. How will this enhance the sales process for the F&I manager?
The things we fight most in F&I are the negative perceptions and the unwillingness of customers toward hearing about what it is that we have to offer. The sins of the past have become the objections of the present. What MobileTrak does is create a portable, relaxed atmosphere and method of selling that leverages the comfort zone of the customer and the credibility of interactive consultative selling. Quite frankly, the flash of the tablet based approach goes a long way by itself just because people are more apt to listen to you when you present from an iPad.

MobileTrak takes advantage of our known weaknesses and turns them into strengths. We know that customers do not like going into the “back room”, where their level of fear and insecurity starts to rise. We now have the ability to leverage a comfortable situation, go out to the customer on the showroom floor and address all of their questions, close and have the customer execute their signatures right on the iPad for the products they just accepted. This eliminates the need to go back and forth from an office to make changes or modifications, reprint menu, update down payment information, etc. It enhances the professionalism of the F&I Manager and creates a transparent and very credible customer interaction and overall experience.

We know a lot of F&I Managers that do this iPad presentation in their F&I offices because their showroom floors are not conducive to the F&I process and that of course is just as good. There is no one right way to leverage the MobileTrak solution. The nice thing is that the dealership has the choice of how they would like to use it.

6. What other mobile solutions do you believe the F&I office and agents will see in the next few years?
In the short-term (next five years) tablet based devices and electronic contracting will be the biggest innovative drivers in the F&I technology arena. We have already seen the tremendous impact that digitizing the process can have on the administrative costs and overall efficiencies of many of our partners. Tablets will change the way agents can train and implement processes as well as hold people accountable to those processes. I remember when there was no real-time reporting and people were flying blind month-in and month-out. Soon the real-time feedback on process and the impact on profits will be common place and most agencies will not be able to compete with the factory unless they have a platform to train and offer their dealers as an alternative solution.

The biggest change in the future (greater than 5-years) to the F&I office may not be the technology that F&I Managers utilize themselves, but rather when consumers are engaged with F&I options and how. We have seen dealers, lenders and providers have varying level of discussions as to when F&I may be introduced throughout the online buying process. This is something to watch closely as the industry evolves; keeping your products and services at the forefront and upstream in the process will be the hurdle in the future.

7. Does your product benefit agents?
MaximTrak and MobileTrak provide agents with the tools they need to maximize business within their dealership accounts. Agency representatives have real-time insight on both the process they are training on as well as the performance results they are accountable for delivering on. These are the obvious benefits, but the less obvious is more often the more profitable and that is the impact on product sales. MobileTrak has demonstrated an average VSC penetration increase versus non usage of 12 percent across a few hundred thousand transactions. The ancillary product volume increases are much starker. Often times we see 40 percent lift in GAP, and sometimes 200 percent in secondary product categories such as Tire & Wheel or Maintenance.

MobileTrak is also providing actual sales statistics from its e-contracting module called e-Trak which can be broken down by product, provider and F&I manager. MobileTrak provides the accounting office at the dealership with a point-and-click easy way to register business by eliminating the paper. It’s funny, oftentimes we hear more about how much the accounting department loves MaximTrak more than just about anyone else. We’ll take that as a compliment!

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Menusys LLC


Erick Woods, President
MenuSys LLC

1. Please give a brief overview of your mobile offering.
The MenuSys Tablet Experience brings together many critical selling tools; these features are designed specifically for tablet computers. Included are customer interviews, product sales charts (VSC, GAP), brochures, a drawing pad for adding your own unique touch and, most importantly, it features the Tablet Menu.

The Tablet Menu offers a real-time, drag & drop enabled menu for presenting in a modern, geeky way. It provides the same industry-leading features found in the standard Finance Menu. Syncing with the Finance Menu is automatic, so when you’re done you can print it and have the customer execute it as they normally would. It’s all done with unique presentation methods, helping you to build value in your products, educate the customer before focusing on price – sales and compliance success every time.

2. Which mobile devices are supported?
We support any mobile device, including iPads and Android tablets (Motorola Xoom, ViewSonic gTablet, etc.), although larger devices offer a better presentation. As our app is Web-based, it is not limited to tablet devices. We have many customers experiencing success using the same applications with laptops or large, touchscreen monitors and computers. We also offer a phone app that enables the F&I manager to review on the go.

3. Have you developed a specific mobile application or have enabled your software for mobile devices?
MenuSys takes advantage of current technology to provide Web-based solutions. This means our solutions aren’t limited to a single platform – they can be used on the device of your choosing.

4. Explain the way you expect the F&I manager to use your mobile solution.
In reality, we have business managers and agents using it in whichever manner best suits them. There truly are no limitations.

5. How will this enhance the sales process for the F&I manager?
Every trip back to the office to reprint paperwork costs money. Having the menu and other tools at hand in a dynamic way means increased penetration and revenue, including a faster and better customer experience.

6. What other mobile solutions do you believe the F&I office and agents will see in the next few years?
From our perspective, mobile has a quite complete solution. While mobile is making inroads in the dealership, it’s not the only way. Many dealers are finding more success with fixed presentations – again, the large touchscreen devices. It’s a presentation that, unlike the small tablets, is available to everyone. The business manager doesn’t have to fall back to an inferior presentation for elderly or people with poor vision. They can use the same presentation with everyone and treat it like a kiosk for consistent success.

7. Does your product benefit agents?
Like no other. Unlike most systems, our agents enjoy the ability to fully manage their accounts and get real-time numbers with ease. Agents can add and remove dealer accounts and more at will. With many systems, adding a product to a menu means contacting the provider’s support and waiting a week. Agents can do an installation, adding the product to the system and the menu with a few clicks, and not lose sales momentum.

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