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Video Merchandising

I never thought that I would be advising dealers to shoot video with a cellphone, however, advances in cellphone technology in just the last two years have made me rethink video hardware.

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I never thought that I would be advising dealers to shoot video with a cellphone, however, advances in cellphone technology in just the last two years have made me rethink video hardware. 

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Specifically, stabilization and video compression of the newest cellphones are the game changers for making it easy and cost effective for dealers to make a walk-around video on every car, even for the highest of volume dealerships. The stabilization smooths out the video on the fly without having to run the video through a separate program and the compression cuts the upload time in half. 

Combine that with the ease of uploading directly from your phone and you have the makings of a great video merchandising strategy that is sustainable, easy to implement and only adds about five to 10 minutes for merchandising each car.

5 Keys to Successful Walk-Around Videos

1. Who is going to do it? Hiring Steven Spielberg and Leonardo DiCaprio might make for a great walk-around video, however, the ROI might not be to too good. Likewise, the most knowledgeable and talented people at the dealership to do these videos tend to not have the time or even if they have the time, can’t drop everything to do a video each time a car is ready. 

If you are perhaps a smaller dealership and have someone at the dealership who can do a good walk-around as cars are available, you are in a minority and should capitalize on that asset. If you’re in the other 90% of dealerships where your videos will be shot by a photographer, detailer or salesperson, producing a compelling audio portion of your video will most likely be challenging. Fortunately, there are automotive video platforms that can help you with the audio.

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2. What’s the goal? As with any undertaking, decide what your goal is. If you’re like most dealers, the goal will be increased conversions and showroom traffic. So, how are your videos going persuade and encourage customers to engage with you? It’s not enough to just “show the car,” the photos tell that story. Talk about what the photos don’t say. 

3. Sell the car and the dealership. Just like your salespeople do, your video should sell the car and separate your dealership from the pack. Sell the car; in addition to the selling features, what is the car’s history? Trade-in, lease return? What accolades has that model of car received from third-party sources? Describe the recon process and/or the condition of the car. “This car looks and smells new!” Sell the dealership; take stock in what your dealership has to offer and make sure your videos point out those benefits. Make sure you have a call to action and repeat it several times. Remember, conversions are the goal.

4. Where and how will your videos be seen? This is the most overlooked aspect of a successful video merchandising campaign. Many great videos are hosted in areas that are not seen by the people they are intended for. Videos on YouTube are good from an SEO standpoint but will get very few views. Only a handful of lead providers allow for video on their sites. 

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Your website is where most people will view your videos, but for many website-hosting companies, video seems to be an afterthought. Videos can be placed on a tab that is not easily seen, at the end of a photo viewer, a button that opens a new page that takes the customer off of the VDP. There is an argument to be made that some of these video hosting practices can disrupt the sales process and actually reduce conversions. The best course of action is to reach out to your web company and ask to see an example of how they would implement your videos. Check that sample on multiple platforms and browsers; Mac, PC, Android, etc. If you’re not happy with its location or how it functions, ask for a list of video companies the web company integrates with and run the same tests.

5. Keep it short. Don’t put your customers to sleep. You only need about a minute and a half to show the car, hit on the top five selling features and what makes the car unique. Sprinkle in some “why buy here” messages and a good call to action.

For a sample of a great video, send an email to the address above.
Michael Sanders

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