FordDirect, a subsidiary of Ford Motor Co. that supports its dealer network with various sales and marketing initiatives, rolled out its Maestro mobile sales app to help dealers close sales initiated online.
FordDirect designed the Maestro app over the past 18 months to handle most steps in the e-commerce process, though not to complete the purchase online. Maestro complements Ford’s new Ready.Shop.Go suite of web tools, released March 19, which lets customers search inventory, view pricing and incentives, lock in a deal for 48 hours (subject to vehicle availability), apply for financing, estimate trade-in values and schedule a test drive before ever setting foot in a showroom.
The Maestro app is meant to be the “book end” web tool for dealers to close sales that begin on Ready.Shop.Go. and bring more transparency to the car-buying process in the showroom, Ford says. “We’ve been looking digitally at how to close the customer journey and get everything even more out in the open,” FordDirect chief operating officer Garry McGuire says.
Maestro is an iPad-based sales app that allows a single salesperson to handle the entire transaction from vehicle selection, trade-in valuation, credit app/financing and final contracting online, says FordDirect, which has been in operation since 2000. The average internet buyer spends 13 hours conducting automotive research online, and 36% of all online research on new vehicles is done on a mobile device, research firm J.D. Power says.
With the Maestro app, a Ford or Lincoln salesperson can pick up a customer’s web experience precisely where they left off and reduce customer time spent completing the sales process, McGuire says. “We’ve found that the app in some cases can reduce by half the amount of time the customer spends in the showroom.”
With the Maestro app, dealer sales personnel can use customer relationship management tools to look up appointment information and access specific data on each vehicle, including photos, pricing and incentives, purchase/lease quoting, trade-in valuation and credit applications.
The app also lets dealer sales personnel:
- Look up all new, used and certified pre-owned inventory on the lot, in transit and through extended inventory trade partners;
- Obtain trade-in valuation via from Kelley Blue Book, the National Auto Dealer Association or Blackbook;
- Provide customers with side-by-side financing/payment quotes by payment or budget and pricing comparison;
- Incorporate integrated online credit app with electronic contracts and signatures.
The Maestro app is designed as a way that the auto manufacturer can support its dealer and distribution arm with more e-commerce and digital tools, FordDirect says. “Dealers benefit from increased flexibility, efficiency and productivity,” McGuire says.
FordDirect piloted the Maestro app with about 100 Lincoln dealers, and dealers were involved in the app’s design and rollout—80 prototype app users at nine dealerships contributed 260 recommendations, FordDirect says.
Ford Direct introduced its new dealer app at a recent National Auto Dealer Association event and is rolling out the app to dealers through June.
So far, FordDirect hasn’t released the volume of sales that dealers have generated and closed so far using the app. But the main aim of the app is to give the motor vehicle maker’s network of about 3,500 Ford and Lincoln dealers more ways to close deals with buyers, especially as the vehicle shopping process goes even more online. “Maestro enables dealers to conduct their sales process in a collaborative, transparent manner through a single mobile device,” FordDirect CEO Mike Jurecki says.
Sign up for a complimentary subscription to B2BecNews, a twice-weekly newsletter that covers technology and business trends in the growing B2B e-commerce industry. B2BecNews is published by Vertical Web Media LLC, which also publishes DigitalCommerce360.com, Internet Retailer and Internet Health Management. Follow Mark Brohan on Twitter @markbrohan.
Follow us on LinkedIn and be the first to know when new B2BecNews content is published.