September 4, 2012

Agent Entrepreneur Mobile Menu Q&A

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.