By Lois Burak, Automotive Digital Manager, LocalIQ Automotive
The average person in 2021 watches more than 100 minutes of online video every day, and much of the content is marketing videos. It’s a crowded space, particularly with the rise of OTT advertising. And now in the digital age, anyone with a mobile phone can be a content creator, or at the very least, shoot their own vehicle walk around.
Whether you digitize your inventory in-house or prefer using a lot service, the key is to get your wares seen by buyers before your competitors do. You also must assist your customers in the purchasing process in the manner in which they’d prefer. Personalizing your videos with innovative merchandising and messaging tools created for retail automotive is a powerful and effective tool to generate a significant return on a low investment.
Google reports that changing behaviors and rising demand for frictionless auto buying experiences are revolutionizing an industry that’s over 100 years old. Today’s consumer has far more information and choices right at their fingertips.
Auto retailers are finally coming around to offering more meaningful and engaging experiences with their brands. Once implemented throughout the customer journey, the impact is game-changing. Platforms that give a dealership’s staff the ability to personalize their content results increases reply rates and the number of actionable leads.
Alistair Rennie, a research lead on Google’s market insights team contributed to a recently published report about “the messy middle” and how to apply behavioral science principles to the purchasing decision process. The “messy middle” is the latest of many buzz terms used to describe the period of the shopper’s journey between the desire for your vehicle and purchasing it, ending in ownership. The customer is either in an exploration or evaluation mode. Potential purchasers looping in and out of these two modes inevitably will make their decisions during this process.
How effectively your brand performs during this state will be determined by how successful you are with closing the gap between desire and purchase. Rennie’s team’s research reinforces statistics within my partnering dealers’ analytics with regard to dealer video inventory merchandising and marketing – reporting dealer inventory videos are preferred 4-1 over photos, significantly increasing the time on your site which resulted in an increase of delisted vehicles.
Following are three of Rennie’s recommended approaches that you can use to seek new software features designed to provide consumers with information that sparks the confidence they’ll require to make a final decision.
1) Ensure brand presence so that your product or service is strategically front of mind while your customers explore.
Here are three areas to focus on to drive car shoppers directly to your website, increase engagement, and put your inventory first at the top of the search engines (a tactic useful for those that have had to cut back on SEM due to inventory shortages):
• Add Google My Business automated integrated
• Grow and optimize a library of your inventory on YouTube
• Video site mapping
2) Employ behavioral science principles intelligently and responsibly to make your proposition compelling as consumers evaluate their options.
Having a 360 full-motion high definition walkaround video with voiceover vehicle description readily available to customers offers a transparent view of the car that they’re researching. The car should always be the star.
Video site mapping will bring shoppers directly to your VDP from Google.
3) Close the gap between trigger and purchase so existing and potential customers spend less time exposed to competitor brands.
Look for a dynamic video player that can be embedded within your website. This can offer a next-level interactive high-definition view of the vehicle – arming your customer with valuable resources to keep them engaged with your brand.
Think with Google reports that simply giving the shopper the option to choose their second-choice brand was enough to entice 30% away from their initial choice.
Now available are video messaging tools that allow your sales team to record picture-in-picture personalized messages within a VIN-specific vehicle walk around, right from their desktop computer. Users of this technology sent personalized messages to an aging and unproductive prospect email list and had an increase in new sales.
Personalized video can turn cold data into new prospects and increase reply rates and actionable leads.
Video messages with vehicle walkaround and customizable landing page will exemplify frictionless car buying, designed to close that gap between trigger and purchase.
The days of just using pictures of your inventory are long gone as there are now many ways to use video to entice shoppers.
About the Author
Lois Burak serves as the automotive digital manager for LocalIQ Automotive. Lois’ perspective is one of an opportunity to combine media, entertainment, and brand-building all in one space, driving transparency and authenticity to help automotive dealerships succeed in the 21st Century.