How B&B Auto Sales Uses Video to Merchandise Late Model & Classic Cars Online
Classic car lovers will go to great lengths to acquire vehicles. For Dirk Byers, owner of B&B Auto Sales in Brookings, South Dakota, it is not uncommon to have a customer drive more than 300 miles to purchase a vehicle. The family-owned dealership also sells many vehicles to out-of-state customers who never even visit the lot.
“Last year we sold around 400 vehicles, and 40% of them were completely internet-based sales,” says Byers. “The other 60% went to customers who drove in from Minnesota, Iowa and other places to pick up their vehicles.”
B&B Auto Sales serves a unique niche. Although the dealership has plenty of late-model vehicles for sale, the main attraction for most customers is the selection of classic cars. Byers and his brother started the independent dealership 35 years ago and together they have grown the operation to include a repair shop. “We do a little bit of everything,” says Byers. “We rent cars, buy and sell, and we do restorations on classic cars. Most of them need some work.”
Merchandising with Video
When you sell specialty vehicles to a customer base spread over hundreds of miles, online merchandising becomes a top priority. Byers’ foray into video merchandising began four years ago. “Everyone was talking about video and how important it was,” he says. “To set myself apart, I started doing as much video as I could.”
Byers chose Flick Fusion Video Marketing as his video partner. “They’ve got great service for one thing, but I also like everything their platform offers at an affordable price.”
Today nearly every vehicle displayed on the B&B Auto Sales’ website includes a detailed description, at least 40 photos and several videos. Byers noticed that the more videos he added to the Vehicle Display Pages (VDPs), the more customers started buying vehicles without ever coming to the lot — even before the pandemic hit.
“The videos help us to be transparent and disclose everything we can,” says Byers. As soon as a vehicle comes out of recon and is washed and detailed, Byers shoots three to four videos in a process that he says takes about 15 minutes.
Making the Cut
The first video is a live walkaround inventory video. “I do not have a voice made for radio, but I had to get over that,” says Byers.
In every video, Byers shows all of the vehicle’s flaws, scratches, dings or rust. “At first, I was nervous that showing flaws would keep people from buying, but it’s actually worked out better because they know exactly what they’re getting. People get upset if they drive a long way and discover something they didn’t expect.”
The next video Byers shoots is an interactive, 360-Spin inventory video. This video allows car shoppers to click on various “hot spots” displayed on the vehicle. Pop-up windows describe the “hot spot” feature, and the viewer can move the vehicle around to get close-up views.
Byers added Flick Fusion’s 360-Spin videos to his VDPs about a year and a half ago. “Sometimes as car dealers, what’s important to us is not as important to the customer,” he says. “With the interactive videos, customers can look at what they want to, as far as the interior and exterior of the vehicle.”
But Byers doesn’t stop with two inventory videos. He shoots a third video where he opens up the hood, starts the engine and shows the engine running to demonstrate that everything is in working order. In this video, he also talks about any special accessories that might come with the vehicle.
Finally, Byers takes each vehicle for a short test drive with the camera mounted on the dash. According to Think with Google, vehicle test drive videos are one of the most sought after and watched videos by car shoppers.
Byers tries to keep each video under three minutes for attention purposes. “My goal with our VDPs is to answer every question the customer might have about the vehicle. Between the photos, detailed descriptions, videos and CarFax, the vehicle basically sells itself. And the customers know exactly what they’re getting.”
With Flick Fusion’s platform, videos can be taken with either a smartphone and uploaded instantly via an app, or with a camera and uploaded via the desktop app. The video marketing platform automatically edits the videos and adds the dealership’s logo or any additional graphics or offers that the dealership wants to include. Once edited, the videos are automatically posted on B&B Auto Sales’ website VDPs. The entire process takes just a few minutes.
When Byers embraced video merchandising, the first thing he noticed was the average time spent on his website substantially increased. “Videos help to keep customers captive, and they typically look at multiple pages and multiple vehicles.”
More significantly, his closing ratios went through the roof. Before Byers started video merchandising, the dealership’s average closing ratio was around 20%. “Classic cars are a little different,” he says. “We used to get a lot of inquiries because they’re cool cars, but not a lot of buyers.”
However, since he started video merchandising, the closing ratio for all vehicles, both late-model and classic, has substantially improved.
“Being able to watch videos and get all the information on the internet has changed how people shop,” says Byers. “We used to get car shoppers showing up, and they didn’t know what they wanted. Now when someone shows up, they ask for a specific vehicle they have seen online, and they want that vehicle.”
Simple Lead Follow Up
Video merchandising is a big reason why B&B Auto Sales has been able to expand its market to out-of-state buyers. Flick Fusion’s video platform, Nucleus, is integrated with VinSolutions, the CRM that B&B Auto Sales uses, making it easy to follow up with leads.
When a person calls or emails about a vehicle, Byers simply searches for the car in the CRM, then pulls up a template. He instantly drops the three or four videos into the template and emails it to the prospect.
“I really like that I can do this on my phone through the Flick Fusion app,” says Byers. “No matter where I’m at, no matter what time of day, I can instantly pull up the vehicle on my phone and use the app to send videos to the customer.”
Another benefit that B&B Auto Sales has realized from video merchandising is that Byers doesn’t spend any money on marketing. “I’m pretty laid back and not pushy at all, because at the end of the day, I believe the vehicle will sell itself. So, I don’t even do any marketing campaigns.”
For B&B Auto Sales in Brookings, South Dakota, video merchandising has helped to substantially expand its customer base. When videos answer a car shopper’s questions, the vehicle sells itself, and the customers know exactly what they’re getting — even when they buy a vehicle without ever stepping on the lot.