SOURCE: ChannelNet


August 14, 2012 12:01 ET

ChannelNet and iTapMenu Form Partnership to Bring iPad-Based F&I Menu Selling to Automotive Showrooms

DETROIT, MI and CARMEL, IN--(Marketwire - Aug 14, 2012) - ChannelNet and iTapMenu announced today that a Value Added Reseller (VAR) agreement has been established between the companies. ChannelNet has over 27 years of experience providing automotive brands and dealers with innovative consumer-facing, technology-based solutions designed to streamline sales and service online and in showrooms. iTapMenu is an iPad-based software product designed to help automotive shoppers through the final steps of their new car or truck financing process in the showroom. 

Internet savvy consumers spend 8 - 10 hours online shopping for their vehicle before setting foot in a dealer showroom, according to JD Powers. Today's tech savvy consumers walk into the dealership armed with the model, color, options, and estimated monthly payment that they want -- and they even know if their desired vehicle is sitting on the dealer's lot. The consumer's goal is to streamline the time spent in the showroom. Some consumers even go a step further; they use their smartphone to price shop F&I products while sitting across from the F&I manager during the final stages of closing the sale.

The automotive industry has made significant progress in providing shopping tools and features online to help consumers streamline the shopping process. However, these technically-driven process improvements have not translated to the showroom, where the final steps in the closing process have remained unchanged. The F&I process, for example, can take a customer at least 30 minutes -- and that is typically after a 30 minute wait just to get into the finance office to sign all the final paperwork. This process is often viewed as an impediment to customers, and drags down customer satisfaction scores related to vehicle purchase. 

"Today's vehicle shoppers are time starved and wary of the F&I experience in the dealership," says Paula Tompkins, ChannelNet CEO and founder. "Consumers are looking for speed and transparency, especially in the final stage of purchasing a vehicle. iTapMenu enables a streamlined educational experience that is fully transparent and a welcome change in the overall vehicle shopping process."

iTapMenu is a web-based program that operates on the iPad. The F&I manager has the option of creating a two-column or three-column customized menu for each individual customer. After customizing a menu for a customer, the F&I manager uses the iPad to deliver the product recommendations. The F&I products, represented by icons, are selected and can be easily dragged and dropped into the "customer selections" column. Tapping on one of the icons pulls up product descriptions, replacement statistics and short video clips that detail the product and its features. iTapMenu also dynamically recalculates when products are removed or added from the "customer selections" column. Product pricing, terms, interest rates and down payment can be changed in real time, right on the iPad. The customer signs on the iPad screen with their finger and the virtual paperwork can be emailed or printed from the iPad. 

"The opportunity for iTapMenu to partner with ChannelNet is a vital strategic alignment. It represents a historic step for us as we move to provide a mobile device sales solution for F&I managers. We've merged the 'leap-forward' technology at iTapMenu with the strong marketing entity at ChannelNet, who we believe can help us rapidly and effectively scale our business," according to Michael Wilson, President, iTapMenu.

"Dealers report that using iTapMenu allows customers to feel in control of the shopping process," added Tompkins. "Our partnership with iTapMenu allows ChannelNet to continually bring new and innovative consumer-based technology solutions to our automotive clients."

About ChannelNet:
For over 27 years ChannelNet has been the leading provider of multichannel digital marketing solutions for the automotive, financial services, home improvement and retail industries. ChannelNet's patented software, SiteBuilder™, allows Internet users to conduct research online and complete transactions either online, at a store or through a call center. ChannelNet has created thousands of solutions for hundreds of companies worldwide, including BMW, Ford Motor Company, General Motors, Volkswagen, Audi, Hyundai Motor Finance, Kia Motors Finance, Chrysler Financial Services and many others. ChannelNet is a privately held company based in Sausalito, California and Detroit, Michigan. Visit for more information, and follow frequent updates on Twitter (@ChannelNet) and Facebook (ChannelNet).

About iTapMenu
iTapMenu LLC was formed in January, 2011, and is dedicated to providing high quality F&I solutions to the automotive industry through innovation and creativity, superior customer service, and responsiveness to the market.

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