Small Store Achieves Nationwide Reach with Digital Retail & Video Strategy
Auto dealerships located in small, rural towns have only one choice if they want to grow: attract buyers from far and wide. Wiers Chevrolet GMC in De Motte, IN, sells 80 to 100 units monthly, and over 50% of their sales are to customers who live outside the 30-mile radius surrounding its store.
Internet Manager Joe Billy attributes the store’s success to a multi-faceted strategy: hometown charm, a low-pressure sales approach and a big focus on internet presence, with a digital retail strategy and liberal use of video content on its website.
“One reason we wanted video is because it helps with the digital car-buying process, which we started implementing three years ago,” Billy says. The dealership uses Chevrolet GMC’s Express Store solution to offer a store-to-door experience. “Fortunately, the pandemic didn’t slow us down, because we had all that in place: the online strategy and the video. 2020 was actually a good year for us.”
Billy started shooting inventory videos in 2019 as a way to boost the dealership’s online presence. He started with his cell phone, doing basic walkaround videos for customers who inquired online. “People really liked the videos, so the next step was to look for a solution that could help us get more video content on our website,” Billy says.
“We’ve had great success with the video content and our Express digital store. The whole process is modern and streamlined, and people really respond to it.”Joe Billy
After a brief review of vendors, the owner of Wiers Chevrolet GMC chose Flick Fusion. The video marketing company based in Des Moines, IA, has a central, customizable video marketing platform and a large selection of add-on products for auto dealerships, including several inventory video options.
“Flick Fusion was the only vendor that provided what we were looking for, which is a way to quickly upload the videos and get them distributed across many touchpoints. They are also viewable on mobile and desktop,” Billy says.
The Five-Minute Process
Wiers’ internet team was tasked with creating inventory videos for every vehicle, whether new or used. Developing a process to shoot and upload the videos to Flick Fusion’s platform required some trial and error. When he first started, Billy admits he wasn’t an expert. “We had a general idea of what we wanted the videos to look like, but we also had a lot of questions. What’s the best equipment to use? What’s the optimal video length? What’s the best way to upload the videos?”
It took a little experimenting, but with help from Flick Fusion’s support team, Billy developed a fast, efficient process.
When a vehicle comes out of service after inspection and detail, Billy stages it in front of the store. He walks around the vehicle using a cell phone attached to a gimbal device for stabilization. The walkaround process is the same for every vehicle because he believes consistency provides the best customer experience. Each video is approximately a minute and a half to two minutes long. Billy doesn’t talk during this process, as he prefers the automated voiceovers that Flick Fusion offers. This technology “reads” the vehicle specs and features provided in the inventory feed and automatically produces a custom voiceover track for the video.
At the end of the day, Billy uploads all the videos using the Flick Fusion app on his phone. “There’s a feed they have in place for us, and we just upload everything to the stock or VIN number of the vehicles.” Once the videos are uploaded, Flick Fusion adds the voiceover as well as banners or text that promote current incentives or specials. Videos are automatically distributed across multiple touchpoints, including such third-party shopping sites as Autotrader.com and Cars.com, as well as to the dealership’s social media channels, including YouTube.
“The whole process is easy and straightforward and takes about five or six minutes per vehicle,” Billy says.
Adding 360-degree Presentation
The next product that Billy added to Wiers’ vehicle display pages (VDPs) was Flick Fusion’s Autospin 360, an artificial intelligence and image recognition solution that allows dealers to create 360-degree interior and exterior presentations of vehicles.
Car shoppers on cell phones can use their fingers to move the images around and zoom in on details. Autospin 360 displays clickable “hotspots” that, when clicked on, display a pop-up window with information about that feature. “Flick Fusion has a good system on how they generate the hotspots automatically without us having to do anything,” Billy says. He shoots the Autospin 360 videos at the same time as the inventory videos using a Ricoh camera.
Billy says consumer response to these videos has been great. “We’ll have people come into our showroom and just stand there, watching those videos. These days, everyone wants to see a video of whatever they’re interested in.”
Billy credits the videos with increasing website traffic and has noticed a significant increase in retention on the website. “People stay on the site a lot longer and start clicking through to other parts of our website, which helps with leads and SEO rankings.”
Having video content available has helped Wiers offer an exceptional online shopping experience. “It’s something that sets us apart from other dealers. Video is so important now, because customers expect it. If I’m emailing a customer about a vehicle, and they haven’t seen the video, they always want to see it.” Fortunately, that task is easy, due to Flick Fusion’s integration with VinSolutions, the CRM that Wiers uses. “VinSolutions has a button I can click to include a video in an email, so the customer can view the video right in the email instead of having to click on a link that goes somewhere else,” Billy says.
When it comes to nurturing leads, the Wiers Chevrolet GMC motto is “as easy as it gets.” “Information we provide to the customer is presented in a simple, easy-to-navigate way; price, options, vehicle history and condition are all things customers want upfront without feeling pressured on their purchase,” Billy says.
The Wiers sales team views every lead as a customer ready to buy, even if that person says he or she is just looking or is a few months away from purchasing. The approach with every customer is the same: Walk them through the online process, then let them know their options and how they can purchase when they’re ready.
And every lead gets a video. When Billy responds to a lead with email, he includes videos of the customer’s vehicle of interest. “The video definitely helps with engagement,” he says. If the customer lives far away, he offers to send a longer, personalized and more-detailed video. If the vehicle is pre-owned, the video will show every ding or scratch in an effort to be completely transparent.
“We’ve had great success with the video content and our Express digital store,” Billy says. “The whole process is modern and streamlined, and people really respond to it.”
Today, Wiers Chevrolet has a reach that spans nationwide, with deliveries that span to nearly every state in the country. The addition of a digital retail and video content strategy has significantly increased the dealership’s internet presence and has helped this small store achieve a wide reach.