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How automotive retailers are using video to connect with customers

Video has gained a lot of traction over the years as a useful tool for dealerships to connect with customers, and it’s now clear that using video is an essential and expected part of the sales process.

Our research has found that 79% of retailers valued video as their most important digital tool in 2020, and the success of our customers in using CitNOW to create and distribute their videos highlights their importance. In the first six months of 2021 alone, more than six million videos were created by our customers, with a total watch rate of more than 75%, demonstrating that videos work in engaging customer interest and improving their levels of satisfaction.

There are many different ways in which video can be used by retailers, but which ones are you currently utilising? In this blog, we’ve taken the views of a number of our long-standing CitNOW customers, who have shared their experiences of where they’re using video to good effect:

Enhancing purchasing experiences

A professional, user-friendly digital experience is vital for every retailer, but achieving this can be easier said than done. Recorded video can help by giving customers information that they can digest at their leisure throughout the purchasing process, in a format that displays the professionalism of both staff and showroom alike.

One dealer group is utilising CitNOW Web in conjunction with CitNOW Sales to achieve this, helping them maintain a consistent online presence across all of their sites. High-quality video is being used to enhance their purchasing experience, and has been a resounding success: in March 2021, the group produced more than 15,000 videos, and video use in sales processes is up 374% from the previous year.

To enhance the customer experience even further, another dealer group has made full use of CitNOW’s Live Video feature to interact with customers in real time – without any need for the customer to attend the dealership in person. Staff at the group have been able to replicate face-to-face contact without any compromise to their sales processes.

Going above and beyond

Customers now expect a personalised service and communication from the automotive industry just as much as any other type of retailer, and personalised videos addressed to individual customers are key to delivering that. For example, connecting with customers who are too far away or too busy with other commitments to attend the showroom in person can be especially difficult, but video is uniquely placed to bridge this gap.

To achieve this, one dealer group’s retail and aftersales teams has fully embraced CitNOW’s platforms, with video now performing an important role in every aspect of its customer communications strategy. As one of its senior management team put it: “Our customers now expect to receive a personalised video from our sales and service consultants to keep the conversation open throughout the entire purchase and ownership journey.”

And customer engagement doesn’t end once the deal has been done: it continues all the way through to the customer’s collection of the vehicle and beyond. One dealer group has used CitNOW to provide thorough vehicle handovers to add an extra element to their customer service; while it was adopted as a response to the challenges of the pandemic, it can also be used to connect in the longer term.

Integrating touchpoints

Of course, the process of converting initial customer interest into a satisfied buyer can be a long and complex one. There are lots of hurdles to jump over, but anything that can join the dots together and better integrate the whole sales process will make life much easier for sales executives and customers alike. Video plays a vital role in that process, as integrating it with other means of contact can help keep customers informed.

“Following the sales or service of a car, we always survey our customers and the use of video receives excellent feedback. In fact, our customers now expect to receive a personalised video from our sales and service consultants to keep the conversation open throughout the entire purchase and ownership journey.”

Elina Karppinen

Group Marketing Director, Renault Retail Group

For example, one dealer group has used the full suite of CitNOW platforms to provide a fully integrated experience between digital and showroom. Another group has utilised video at many stages of the sales process, including informing them of the current status of their purchase, providing a vehicle walkaround to highlight key features and specs, and giving them instructions on how to use equipment such as in-car entertainment systems. Together, they ensure the customer is always up to speed, both with the purchase process and with the vehicle itself, at every stage of their journey and however they make contact.

In summary

Video is so much more than a substitute for face-to-face contact with customers – it’s a vital part of how retailers operate, especially if it’s integrated with other digital touchpoints and is embedded within the sales process. It’s through this full engagement with the potential of video that dealerships can increase conversions, satisfy customers and ensure that no stone is left unturned in pursuit of sales.

CitNOW is here to help you take your videos and customer experiences to the next level. Learn more about how dealers like you are maximising their use of our solutions here.