Lenders Need to Bring Web Upgrades to the Forefront, Execs Say


While mobile apps are booming in other areas of finance, they are not catching on in powersports finance, Paula Tompkins, chief executive and founder at ChannelNet, told Powersports Finance, but that just means lenders need to place more focus on upgrading their websites.

“Mobile apps are really good for certain kinds of things, but unfortunately if it’s just digital communications nobody wants to download it,” Tompkins said. “The abandon rate of mobile apps is tremendous — about 95%.”

Consumers might be interested in the app in the early stages after downloading it, but getting them to go back to the app is difficult, unless the lender offers up a compelling reason, she said. For example, adding rewards programs or gamifying the app. Typically, once the consumer sets up the auto-pay feature, or completes their finance purchase, they delete the app, Tompkins said.

MotoLease’s app, however, is not only driving revenue, but has even reduced MotoLease’s call volume because of the app’s self-help functionality, according to Emre Ucer, MotoLease’s managing partner. Through the app, consumers can check payment history, trade-in value, make a payment, receive instant payoff quotes, and locate nearby dealerships.

But not many powersports companies are investing a tremendous amount of money in digital, Tompkins said. “In the end, it’s not that expensive if it’s driving revenue,” she said.

While MotoLease launched its mobile app in May 2016 — the company put website upgrades first on its list of priorities. The lessor’s website upgrade included a new logo, redesigned visuals, and a contemporary look. “We made it much more user-friendly, and we’ve had five times more traffic since we launched it at the beginning of January [2016],” Maurice Salter, MotoLease’s chief executive, previously told Powersports Finance.

Apps for dealers have proven successful, according to mobile app developer Sparta Commercial Services Inc., but there are ways lenders can benefit from these apps as well. Sparta — through its subsidiary iMobile Solutions Inc. — is in the market to develop a mobile app that could be used by powersports dealers to interact with lender partners, Chief Executive Tony Havens told Powersports Finance.

However, unless the dealership already has the lender partnership in place and the software developed that Sparta could integrate within the dealership’s existing app, it would not be a worthwhile venture at this time, Havens said.

“It’s very costly to custom build a product, in my opinion,” he said. “If someone had a product that we could integrate, it would be easier. If a financier had something that they integrate with dealers so that their product can be used seamlessly, we could produce a mobile app for either side that would integrate that feature.”

New York City-based iMobile Solutions offers a wide range of technology products and services, including customized mobile app development and customized websites for powersports, RV, and auto dealers.

The company already has mobile apps — with financial ties — that it develops for auto dealers. For example, iMobile’s app for New York City-based Signature Auto Group includes a loan payment calculator and a financing application that links to the dealer’s lender partners.

Apps aside, many powersports dealers and lenders are not investing enough in upgrading their websites, Havens said. “I’m still shocked in 2017 to see companies with aged websites,” he added. “We found many that had tired websites that were not updated and not mobile compatible.”

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