technology

[Video] Google’s 5 Auto Shopping Moments – Part 1: Which Car Is Best

In this series of video blogs, Flick Fusion COO Tim James shares Google’s 5 auto shopping moments that every dealership should know and how to take advantage of those moments to lead customers to your dealership.

Inflatable Gorillas or Videos?

by Tim James

Most dealers have spent many years in the car business. They know what it takes to sell cars. They know when a customer walks onto the lot, the salesperson must give a professional presentation while being able to emotionally connect with and excite the customer into making that purchase.

To this end, most dealers are really great at merchandising their vehicle inventory on the lot. The cars are gleaming, the rows are tight and they use balloons, inflatable gorillas and other attention-grabbing devices to create an air of excitement.

And what about their online inventory? With more than 90% of car shoppers beginning their journey on the Internet, is your dealership doing everything it can to merchandise your vehicles online? After all, your inventory is your #1 asset.

Unfortunately, most Vehicle Display Pages (VDPs) on dealership websites look very similar to each other. This is not the fault of the dealers or even the website providers; these page formats must be standardized so the inventory data can be pulled and distributed to third-party sites. But the result is that these pages, their data and photos look static. A dealership’s most important online merchandising presentation, of their #1 asset, and it is unemotional, unappealing, and has nothing unique about it at all.

That’s why more dealerships are creating inventory videos. Videos convey information while appealing directly to car shoppers’ emotions. In a video, you can include intros that state your dealership’s value proposition; what makes you stand out from your competition? You can include custom promotion and incentive information; why should this shopper come to your store today?

In videos, you can include information beyond what just appears in the inventory data. Instead of reading data (the what), your customers listen to custom voiceovers that appeal to their comfort-loving side, or adventurous side, or budget-conscious side (the why).

Inventory videos are a great way to make your VDP pages shine. However if you decide to go this route, make sure your customers are aware that you have these videos! One mistake that some dealers make is that once the videos are created, they get buried somewhere or can only be accessed via a tiny button somewhere that may have a video symbol but no real call to action.

Fortunately many website vendors are realizing that VDPs need to be re-designed (only slightly) so that videos are more visible. If your dealership is creating inventory videos, make sure your videos can be seen! Here are a few tips:

1) Add a video slider or widget featuring inventory videos on the homepage of your website so your online visitors know that you have videos.

2) Make sure your inventory videos are clearly visible on your VDPs

3) Create a landing page for each inventory video. This will make it easy for your shoppers to have access to your value proposition, customer testimonial or additional inventory videos without having to search your site. More importantly, it puts these videos in front of your shopper at a time of the buying cycle where they can have the biggest impact on your sales. Your landing page should also include a call to action and a lead form.

4) Give your videos emotional appeal! Use professional voice over, music, banners and intros to convey your dealership’s personality and make the customer want more.

The fact is online merchandising efforts have a greater reach and more impact on potential car buyers than merchandising efforts on your lot. As appealing as that purple inflatable gorilla may be, inventory videos are bound to give you more bang for your buck.

Think Virtual Reality is a Fad? Think Again.

by Tim James

Virtual Reality has been quite a craze recently with video gaming and other consumer electronics. However, the high cost of entry and expensive units limited its reach. Even Google’s cardboard VR glasses required smartphones that cost upwards of $700. The Oculus Rift Goggles were even more expensive and required high-end computers to work.

Now, however, Sony has provided a more cost-effective way for consumers to experience VR with the release of VR glasses designed for use with the Playstation 4 game console. With an installed base of 44 million Playstation 4 owners, the glasses instantly sold out on pre-order and are still hard to acquire, which illustrates the high demand for VR experiences. This release immediately made Virtual Reality readily available for mass consumption.

But if you think 44 million is a lot, what about rolling out Virtual Reality to over 2 billion consumers?

Well, that’s about to happen!

In a recent article, Facebook’s CTO revealed a roadmap for the future of Virtual Reality. As you may or may not know, Facebook owns Oculus Rift. However, according to Facebook, their plans for the future of VR for Facebook users do not include Oculus Rift. Instead, Facebook is working on a standalone product that will make Virtual Reality glasses which are integrated with Facebook “cheaper, easy to use and highly distributed.”

The project, named StandAlone, could instantly thrust Virtual Reality into almost every consumer’s hands, transforming it into common use in all areas including conversations via messaging (both audio and video), marketing and content on Facebook’s platform. Imagine experiencing all of the content posts and marketing messages in a VR setting.

Many automakers are currently implementing or actively working on their own VR experiences. And a few already have VR content in place. Virtual Reality is here and consumers are pursuing and embracing this technology. With the cost of entry decreasing and consumer adoption increasing, Facebook’s VR glasses could instantly change the game.

Dealerships that aren’t prepared or that have not already implemented VR experiences with their inventory merchandizing may find themselves scrambling as this technology is increasingly in the hands of consumers. VR isn’t going away, and it is not a fad. It’s also not the future. It’s the now.

Are you prepared?

If a Picture Is Worth 1,000 Words, How Many Is a Video Worth?

If you haven’t drunk the video marketing Kool-Aid yet. Or, perhaps are overwhelmed by the thought of creating and distributing videos, it’s time to consider the advantages of having a video marketing strategy.

There was a time in my career when dealers used to complain about having to take multiple PICTURES of a vehicle. Now, however, most dealers include as many as 40 or more for each vehicle. Why? Because buying a vehicle is an emotional purchase and your online merchandising must transfer information while inspiring emotion. By providing more photos (and a good vehicle description) dealers give shoppers more information and help to facilitate them in becoming emotionally attached to a vehicle.

Once dealers understood that with multiple pictures customers would be more interested and they’d receive more inquiries, that’s all that mattered. And then along came video….

Look, technology is rapidly advancing and consumers are advancing with it. If video marketing didn’t benefit you in the only way that matters — which is to help you sell more cars — I’d be the first to tell you not to worry about it. But, the facts are the facts.

An excellent article published on Business2Community shared a wealth of statistics on the benefits of video marketing for businesses in general. While all of them are impressive, here are some highlights from the article that I thought applied specifically to an automobile dealer:

  1. Including video in an email leads to a 200-300 percent increase in click-through rate.
  2. 90 percent of people say that a video is helpful in the decision making process.
  3. Including a video on a landing page increases conversion by 80 percent, while including one on your homepage can increase conversion by 20 percent.
  4. Video ads increase purchase intent by 97 percent and brand association by 139 percent.
  5. An introductory email that includes a video receives an increase click-through rate of 96 percent.
  6. Video increases organic traffic from search engines by 157 percent.

Think about these statistics. The highest converting (as in sold) leads come from your dealership’s website. Why then, would it not be prudent to increase conversions on your home page by 20 percent? Or how about an 80 percent conversion increase on a landing page (like a VDP)? How many leads are you getting per month from your website and inventory? You do the math. These leads are gold waiting to be mined.

And what about your salespeople sending follow up e-mails to customers? Or replying to leads for the first time which get no response at all? Don’t you think that increasing click-through rates by 97 percent by having the customer watch an introductory video tailored specifically for them would increase engagement?

Give your sales staff (or BDC) an edge with video. The stats are there to prove that you’ll interact with more people. Think of it this way. If you had a lot full of customers, but your salespeople weren’t allowed to interact with them until the customer interacted first, you’d probably sell less cars. Of course, you wouldn’t allow that to happen! But that’s what’s happening with all of those people on your virtual lot!

People can be lazy. Most people would rather watch the movie than read the book. Why? Because it’s easier. We enjoy it more. The same applies to your marketing and follow-up efforts.

Want to increase views, conversions and engagement? Send your customers a video. You’ll see how powerful video content is.

And, before I forget, I’d be neglectful if I didn’t answer the question I posed in the title of this blog. According to Forrester Research, one second of video filmed at 30 frames per second (which means that it has 30 pictures per second) is the equivalent of 10,000 words. This means that a 60-second video is worth 1.8 million when it comes to the amount of information that you can deliver with a video, versus static photos. However, you can’t even begin to measure the increased emotional impact that a video will have versus the static photos…and emotion sells.

Want to make an impression on your customer? Seems as if video says – and produces – more than a picture by far. Take advantage of video marketing. The results will speak for themselves.

Close Encounters of the Third Kind: Millennials

by Gina Reuscher

In the classic movie, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, we received a filmmaker’s glimpse into what humanity would experience in the event of a U.F.O encounter and actual physical contact with an alien. To many dealers, Millennials are very similar. They’re very different from past generations, are far more technologically advanced, and we really don’t know much about them — Or do we?

Millennials, defined as people born between 1980 and 2000, between the ages of 16-26, represent a large buying demographic. So large, in fact, that many estimate the buying power of this demographic to be $200 billion, and a whopping $500 billion when indirect purchasing power is included. That’s pretty significant.

These are the kids raised on VH1’s pop-up videos, YouTube and other video content. This is the type of content that they not only like, but use. When they’re considering a movie to watch, do they read the IMDB description? No. They head over to YouTube and watch the trailer. That’s how influential video content is for this demographic.

In fact, according to an article on Business 2 Community, 8 out of 10 Millennials find video helpful in making purchasing decisions. They are also 85 percent more likely to purchase an item they watched a video about. Why? Because that’s how they like to take in information. 2/3 of Millennials prefer video over text. And a whopping 50% ONLY watch video!

In a recent blog I covered how Facebook predicts that its content will eventually be purely video-based content. Think about that. These social platforms cater to the users. If their users wanted all music, that’s what it would be. Pictures? Done. Text? That’s Twitter (for now). The point is Millennials increasingly dictate the type of content that is delivered. The sole reason being that they represent a large portion of the current consumer demographic for most products and they are absolutely the dominant demographic for the near future!

What does that mean for the auto industry?

It means that a good percentage of current car shoppers, and an even larger percentage of future car shoppers, will be influenced by video in their buying decisions. Other retail sectors already realize this. It’s no longer relegated to Super Bowl time. It’s all of the time. Videos are engaging, entertaining and connect with consumers on an emotional level. Unlike past generations, Millennials don’t want to be SOLD to, they want to CONNECT with a company or a brand.

The article further stated that half of all Millennials consider companies that produce video content on their products to be experts in their field. And let’s not forget that videos on product pages convert at a much higher rate than product pages with no videos. So why wouldn’t any retail business want to embrace this cultural shift? Most of them are — but some of the automotive industry is still a little stuck in just pictures and are not taking full advantage of video.

In order to secure market share now and for the future you need to have a good handle on Millennials. And they need and want videos. There’s no ifs ands or buts. If Millennials want to buy cars from a desk in your parking lot, you’d put a desk out there and sell it to them, right? Well, these Millennial consumers are tech-savvy, have access to more information than any other generation before them and will happily move to your competition for $50 in price, or a $20 oil change, whichever they need at the time. So you need to be in front of them so that YOU are top of mind when that need arises.

Do yourself a favor. Video marketing isn’t expensive and with the right process does not need to take a lot of time or effort. In fact, this is something that your porter could do with the cell phone in his pocket. Or, you can get as sophisticated as professional equipment and a branded staging area. It’s your choice. The bottom line is that you need video to engage Millennials. And you need Millennials to sell cars – now and for decades to come. So get yourself a video marketing strategy in place and sell some cars. That is what it’s all about, right?