Essential to every dealership's success.

Ask any dealer what the key to dealership success is and they’ll always say: “Sell more cars!” Whether it’s the owner, sales manager, Internet sales manager or sales associate, “Sell more cars!” is always the battle cry.

Sounds simple enough, but actually boosting sales, lowering costs and improving the bottom line is a witches’ brew of marketing, sales, PR, promotions, inventory control, CRM and cost analysis. Each of these ingredients to success, right down to the coffee and donuts that are served to prospective customers, needs to constantly evolve to match emerging trends, consumer behavior, the latest technologies and what is proving most successful in today’s automotive retail marketplace.

As the Video Economy rapidly takes hold in response to the pandemic, most innovative dealers are quickly adapting their business models to car buyers’ changing behavior. What was important a year ago, is passé today. Researching, examining and experiencing big-ticket items from houses to cars is being done by online video, with over half of the video plays happening on mobile devices.

Today, 87% of in-market consumers view multiple videos of cars in motion while in the process of finding the right car for them. With each viewing, the car shopper learns more about each car, makes choices on what is a good fit and what is not, narrows the list of contenders and quickly and easily moves along the path to purchase.

There was a time when car shoppers entered the dealership showroom with little or no knowledge of the car they might be buying. How far along they were in their decision-making process was an unknown to the dealer. As a result, high-pressure, commission-based sales tactics were common and a negative reputation was created for dealerships that persists to this day. While much of what goes on in a bricks and mortar dealership appears to be the same as it was last year, the relationship between the dealership’s team and the consumer has changed dramatically.

With the pandemic, the earth beneath traditional automotive commerce has shifted. Today, video programs on mobile devices and laptops are leading social behavior influencers and preeminent online research and sales tools.

Today, we’re entering a time in which online commerce will revolutionize major sectors of the retail marketplace—and in the process change the way we live. The greatest impact is being felt by the largest market sectors. With close to a trillion dollars in annual sales in the USA alone, franchised auto dealerships are at the top of that list.

In fact, many consumers in our southern states who are searching for a good used car already have the opportunity to go online at Vroom.com or Carvana.com, pick out a car and have it delivered to their door at no charge, along with a money-back guarantee. No hours spent in a dealership. No negotiating with commission-based sales associates. No lost weekends.

With used cars providing a higher profit margin than new, traditional dealers are now being challenged by disrupters on all sides. To succeed, dealers must adapt to this reality: For more and more car shoppers, the first impression that an in-market consumer will get from a dealer is NOT when he or she walks through the dealer’s front door…It’s when he or she visits the dealer’s E-DEALERSHIP. (Note that I do not call the dealer’s Internet presence a website.) This is a critical distinction when considering harnessing the power of video.

No longer do car shoppers enter your bricks and mortar showrooms without having first done their homework. Rather than traveling from dealer to dealer on weekends, they start with a visit to your e-dealership via laptop, tablet or mobile device. They do their research at their leisure, viewing videos of the cars they are considering and gathering key mileage, performance, safety, technology and warranty information.

The following data has been drawn from a study conducted by WheelsTV’s marketing and distribution partner, CDK Global. It reveals the effectiveness of video in today’s connected automotive marketplace.

The key takeaway: “Video Nearly Doubles Every Key Metric.” Video doubles Time on VIN, Doubles Vehicle Views and Doubles Leads.

While raw data and photographs will always have a place on automotive websites and portals, today’s car shoppers expect to see cars brought to life through professionally produced videos. They want to picture themselves behind the wheel of their “dream car” and experience that “wind in your hair” feeling. Only video can create this burning desire to happily drive away in a new car.

Here are some action-inducing statistics for any dealer considering adding essential video marketing, research and sales tools to their online dealership:

87% of car buyers find video vehicle product descriptions helpful in determining the specific car to buy.

Online Dealerships with video product descriptions attract 81% more traffic than those without.

Adding video to a dealership’s landing page, VDP and SRP can increase the conversion rate by 80%

92% of mobile users share videos watched on their device with their friends.

Video in emails can increase click-through conversion rates by eight to ten X.

Insights and Takeaways

Video is now the car buyer’s essential shopping and research tool. Video educates, entertains and engages in-market consumers while helping them to make an informed buying decision.

Informed consumers are a dealer’s best customers. When the informed consumer contacts the dealer, he or she is not a “tire kicker.” They have done their homework courtesy of that dealer and are ready to set an appointment, take a test drive and make a vehicle purchase.

Video engagement tools such as VIN-specific videos shot by sales associates and professional Video Test Drive Reports with key vehicle attributes built into the programs now do the pre-selling for dealerships’ sales associates.

Full-motion video is now a key element in the vehicle sales process. Video test drives place consumers behind the wheel, motivate consumers and help them to enjoy the process of choosing the best car for their needs.

The dealer that provides a robust, engaging video experience in his or her online dealership will see a significant boost in ROI through greater dealership traffic, happier customers, a faster, more efficient sales process and sustained long-term growth.