Brian Reed has a post over at P&A Magazine on provider sites for e-contracting. I would say that he cribbed my analogy with online credit apps, but I know Mr. Reed is an old hand and he has lived through the same history.
In the mid to late ’90s, a number of auto finance companies developed their own system for dealers to electronically submit credit applications.
I agree with Reed’s central complaint about the provider sites. As I have written previously, they break the dealer’s process. I might add that DMS integration isn’t getting any easier. So, what is the best way for a product provider to support e-contracting? Continuing the analogy with online credit, Reed suggests a single web site for multiple providers. Think of Dealer Track, only with products instead of finance contracts.
I see a few problems with this idea. First, providers will not support a shared platform if it allows rate shopping. Then, of course, there is the problem of DMS integration. But the biggest problem flows from the online credit analogy.
Lenders can now bypass the aggregation sites, in favor of direct links to the DMS. Marty Zwolan calls this “disintermediation.” It’s the mission of Open Dealer Exchange. The best way to support e-contracting is to exploit a system the dealer is already using.