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What’s Your Online Merchandising Wow Factor?

Recently, I visited a high line dealership and was amazed at how much time and money the dealer had spent in getting the vehicles ready for sale. The cars were immaculately detailed, the showroom was spotless and everything looked pristine. If I was to give him a Wow factor rating, I would give him 10 out of 10.

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This dealer is not alone. In general, dealers spend millions on their facilities and hundreds or even thousands of dollars per unit to get their cars ready to show. Yet, the majority of car shoppers start the purchase process online and don’t even bother coming into the dealership until they’ve narrowed down what make/model they want, and are almost ready to buy.

This same dealership had generic-looking photos of their vehicle inventory posted on their website. Similar photos can be found on any other dealer’s website. There was nothing special about the photos, or the specs posted next to the photos. It’s very odd to me that this dealer would invest so much to merchandise the vehicles in his showroom, but so little to merchandise his inventory online. If I was to give him a Wow factor rating, I would rate his online merchandising efforts a 2 out of 10 (at least he had photos).

Dealers, if you’re not merchandising your vehicles online, you’re missing a huge opportunity to make yourselves stand out from the competition. If you’re using static photos to market a $50,000+ vehicle, and particularly stock photos from the manufacturer, you are doing car shoppers a great disservice.

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Your dealership’s online showroom has more traffic and more interaction from car shoppers than your physical showroom will ever have. So why not show online car shoppers that you care about their business and start posting inventory videos? When you have nothing but photos and factory specs, it sends a message to active car shoppers that you don’t really care how your inventory appears.

While any type of inventory video is better than photos, consumer expectations are changing. They want vivid, detailed videos that answer all of their questions about a specific vehicle. They also want to see videos of the actual vehicle they’re interested in, instead of generic stock photos or videos.

It’s possible to create a streamlined process for creating inventory videos. Hire someone internally, or use a reseller partner for this process. Details such as lighting, photography, file sizes and video resolution are all important to know. Ideally, these videos will be full-motion walkarounds, with a salesperson narrating not just what the features are, but why those features are desirable.

If you really want to capture and engage online customers, consider new and cutting-edge video technologies such as interactive inventory videos. With interactive videos, online car shoppers can click on hot spots within the video to learn more about the features they’re interested in. 

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If you take pride in how your inventory looks in your showroom, you should also take pride in how your inventory appears online, where the majority of your customers are. Inventory videos are the ideal way to give customers what they want; which is detailed visual and audio information about the vehicles they’re interested in.

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