The automotive industry – one of the largest sectors of the world economy – has seen a 360-degree metamorphosis in the last few years. The pandemic set the industry on the road to digital transformation, changing the way cars are bought and sold.
This shift towards digitization would probably have taken a decade to happen. The pandemic fast- forwarded the change. For instance, in 2020, online car sales jumped from 2% to 30% of all vehicle sales in the US.
As more and more dealers began prioritizing online car purchase in order to keep up with changing customer choices, the industry began embracing technology-driven transformation in a big way. A survey found that in 2022, 87% of US-based dealers identified digitization as a primary driving force of their business model. This was twice as high as the numbers in 2021.
Even as dealers adopted digital tools that drove better shopping experiences, they also began investing in back-end solutions – like digital signatures and paperless documenting solutions – that shortened the purchase cycle, helped counter online fraud, and focused on keeping their business deals secure.
In this blog we will look at the many ways in which digital signatures have been a game-changer for the global automotive industry.
How digital signatures transformed the way automobiles are sold
Digital signatures are on the driving seat of the automotive industry – transforming customer experiences, the way vehicle sales or service documents are signed, and ensuring fraud mitigation. Let’s look how the automotive industry is on the road to turning paperless, with e-signatures.
- Do away with the mountains of paperwork: Several verticals of the automobile industry – be it manufacturing, supply chain management, agreements, sales or service – are witnessing rapid transformation with e-signature solutions. Vehicle quotation, purchase orders, vehicle service requests, NDAs, agreements with distributors, insurance documents, quality check documents, warranty checks, handover documents and repair and maintenance requests are some of the paperwork that automobile dealers are doing away with by onboarding digital signature solutions.
- Automate contract signing with dealers: Since most global automobile sales are done through dealer networks, it is imperative for manufacturers to sign annual contracts with dealers. This can be a long-drawn process with mounds of paperwork. Research reveals that the contracting process generates more than 200,000 documents a year for a regular automobile manufacturer. That is huge! With the introduction of smart document solutions, dealer management systems, and digital signatures, vehicle manufacturers have been able to automate the entire process – including contracting and invoicing – and remove paperwork out of their dealer relations. Contract templates that can be filled online and signed digitally reduce processing times by using compliant electronic signatures
- Seamless shopping experiences: E-signatures provide the seamless shopping experiences that modern customers expect. While making any purchase, modern buyers seek convenience. And automobile customers are no exceptions. Vehicle dealers are now rolling out conveniences like digital showrooms, at-home test driving, home delivery of cars, and, of course, digitizing vehicle purchase documents. Digital signatures have enabled car buyers to have smooth document signing experiences, as they don’t have to spend unnecessary time in signing stacks of documents. Digital signatures also enable customers to go through the entire document signing process remotely. It helps update KYCs, and sign insurance documents online as well. This assures automobile dealers that there are no fault lines in the security and integrity of a document.
- Different e-signature solutions for different needs: There are different forms of smart signature solutions that meet specific domain requirements. For instance, an electronic signature allows manufacturers or dealers to send documents for signing to any number of people. There are digital signatures where the KYC of the signer is pre-validated. For electronic correspondence between manufacturers and dealers there is a hybrid signature solution which allows manufacturers to sign documents internally, while the distributors can sign using an e-signature. End result? Seamless workflows.
- Fast, easy, convenient car buying experience: A report by the CDK Global Automotive Retail Friction Point found that 41% of consumers complain that waiting at a dealership is the biggest negative point while purchasing a vehicle. This could be waiting for a salesperson, finance and insurance manager, or just someone to show up and assist. One-third of customers said they wanted a fast, easy, and convenient car buying experience. Digital signatures are emerging as an answer to this customer pain point, as they reduce paperwork and, therefore, waiting time.
- Transparency in supply chains: Digital signatures and paperless documentation is a game-changer for the supply chain and logistics functions of the automotive sector. The tracking and monitoring systems that control the movements of goods and vehicles requires intensive paperwork. This can be made smoother and seamless with digital documentation solutions and e-signatures, as it automates processes and brings transparency to the supply chain function.
- Mitigate fraud: Digital signatures help automobile dealerships safeguard against identity fraud. It helps manufacturers and dealers confirm the identity of the signer and provides them with the tools to ensure that contracts stay tamper-proof.
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Sum Up: E-signatures have put smooth customer experiences on the driver’s seat
Digital signatures and paperless documentation systems have improved operational efficiency and regulatory compliance for the automotive sector in a significant way. It has also resulted in effective time management, better coordination and fewer errors, putting seamless customer purchase experiences on the driver’s seat.
For more information on how to get started with digital signatures and Certinal, book a demo with us or contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.