Scion Pure Process+

New online system appeals to customers who want 'easy, quick, simple, truthful and transparent'
by Dan Miller
May/June 2015
When Scion launched in 2003, it held out the promise of a fresh approach to product design as well as the purchase process. The latter, embodied in the Scion Pure Price philosophy, is now poised to take another leap forward with the appropriately named Pure Process+.

In simple terms, the new system—currently being pilot tested at 53 dealers—shifts much of the purchase process from the showroom to the living room. And it leverages the latest in interactive technology to make it happen.

“Everyone is trying to figure out a way to reduce the overall transaction time,” says Scion Group Vice President Doug Murtha. “Pure Process+ gives our customers the option of completing more of the steps where and when they feel most comfortable.

In most cases, all they need to do in the dealership is sign the paperwork and take delivery. That part of the process will never change.”

In its current form, a shopper goes online to:
 
  1. Build their desired vehicle
  2. Locate that vehicle in the inventory of a local dealer
  3. Generate an initial price with estimated fees and taxes
  4. Use that number to apply for credit through Toyota Financial Services, if they’re also shopping for financing
  5. Calculate an estimated value on their trade-in vehicle (if applicable), using a module developed in partnership with Kelley Blue Book
  6. Contact the dealer to secure the final price

All of the above can be accessed via a desktop computer. A version optimized for use on a mobile device will be available soon.

Meanwhile, in keeping with its mission to serve as a laboratory for experimentation, Scion is currently testing additional features that might also become integrated in to Pure Process+. Some examples include:
 
  • A version for use within a dealer’s website so that more of the steps in the transaction take place between the customer and dealer, helping to bolster that relationship
  • Enhanced browsing that gives customers the choice of interacting via chat, audio or one- or two-way video.
  • A co-browsing option where a Scion representative can guide the customer through the process on their Internet-connected device in real time.
  • A “warm transfer” to a dealership representative if the customer wants help filling out the credit application.
Murtha recognizes that Pure Process+ isn’t going to appeal to all Scion customers. And it’s not going to work for all Scion dealers. But he anticipates 250-300 stores will plug into the system once it’s fully operational.

“Our pilot dealers have been very open to it,” he says. “They’ve provided critical feedback and have challenged us to get it right. This isn’t just about appealing to Millennials. The dealers themselves recognize that they don’t want to buy things the way the car business traditionally sells them.”

Brad Barnett, general manager at One Toyota of Oakland (Calif.), certainly fits that description. Since this dealership opened in 2010, it’s embraced a one-price/one-person sales philosophy across its full product range—Toyota and Scion. Price is never negotiated. And the sales consultant who helps a customer find the right vehicle for them also closes the deal and arranges for the financing. As such, Pure Process+ is a perfect fit.

“It’s like the ‘Buy It Now’ button on eBay,” says Barnett. “Pure Process+ takes the guesswork out of the buying process.”

Barnett says customers who find their way to One Toyota via the new system are more relaxed and thus more open to what the dealership has to offer. Salespeople tend to be more at ease, too, with direct access to all of the detailed information the customer has provided online. By the time both parties meet, the relationship is already off to a running start.

“Our salespeople know they’re working with qualified leads,” he says. “The customers know what they want and they’re ready to do business. Our job is to match the expectation that was created through the online experience.”

“Today’s customers want ease,” he adds. “They want quick. They want simple. They want truthful. They want transparent. Pure Price+ is a big step in that direction. Hopefully some day we’ll get to offer it on the Toyota side, too.”
 
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