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Digital showroom must-do’s to drive online leads

As with other areas of retail, digital transformation is changing automotive sales at a rapid rate. New technologies and processes are helping redefine and streamline customer experiences.

Our recent research found that 87% of consumers would prefer to research their next vehicle online. This means that the digital footprint of a retailer is more important than ever – and dealer groups, OEMs and retailers must ensure their website and social media platforms act as an eye-catching online shop window.

This blog explores the current state of user sentiment, and how key expectations can be addressed with a content-rich, informative, coordinated approach.

The value of visual content

When looking at a prospective vehicle purchase online, customers want to get the fullest picture possible, so that they can feel confident about taking the next step. When car buyers were asked which types of assets they value the most when viewing online listings, the most commonly cited were a variety of images that show all interior and exterior angles (54%) and high-quality images (52%). A detailed video of the vehicle’s interior was also highly regarded at 43%.

This underlines the importance of creating comprehensive visual assets, across both video and still images, that are clear and show the vehicle off in the best possible light. When creating assets you should therefore consider how to cover every area inside and out, and the best environment for shooting so that the vehicle can be fully appreciated. Recording a video whilst walking around the car provides a transparent presentation of the vehicle, while interior 360-degree shots can give the customer the immersive effect of feeling like they’re in the car. Lastly, don’t forget the power of good quality images showing off every key angle inside and out.

Delivering key information

Visual assets are the perfect platform for backing up the aesthetic appeal of a vehicle with vital information about its specification or condition. Prioritising the most important pieces of information that customers look for is therefore key.

In our research, the price was unsurprisingly the top priority for customers in terms of information that would decide whether to enquire further (59%). But behind this, the mileage of the vehicle (40%) and its condition (37%) were also cited as important.

It’s for this reason that these vital pieces of information should be captured within the imagery library and video for the vehicle as standard. It may not seem particularly interesting at face value, but their inclusion can make a real difference between engaging customer interest and them looking elsewhere. Utilising CitNOW Web, which is pre-programmed with the assets required according to each individual group’s brand guidelines and quality control, you can ensure every listing includes key assets such as these.

Developing a smooth customer journey

These assets should be integrated into a clearly defined customer journey, so that customers get the right information and engagement at the right time, helping them move seamlessly from interest to sale.

But just as important to customers as getting a smooth experience is getting a fast one. Our research found that after making their initial enquiry, 27% of consumers would like a response within one to three hours – and 24% would prefer one within 30 minutes.

This is where the customer journey plays its part, as it can define exactly what actions are required from a sales executive upon receipt of an enquiry, helping them respond more quickly and effectively. If a personalised video is required, sales staff can get to work recording a video that addresses specific customer queries. Utilising enquiry management tools like Dealerweb can help you to effectively manage and track showroom activity and increase sales conversion.

In summary

It may sound like creating all these digital assets, and ensuring they’re prominent within web listings is a time-consuming burden. But it doesn’t have to be thanks to technology like CitNOW Web, which allows you to capture all online assets through one simple platform, from which you can keep your online showroom fully up-to-date, every day within a matter of minutes.

At a time when customer expectations are rising, and when it’s never been easier for them to shop around, CitNOW Web can help you give customers what they want, faster and more effectively.

CitNOW’s The Ultimate Digital Customer Journey report is full of insights such as these, helping you learn more about what customers want, and understand how you can use video to respond. Download your copy of the report today.