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Lockdown Learnings

Throughout a year and a half of intermittent regional and national lockdowns, we’ve seen many businesses develop a new-found resilience and flexibility to change the way they operate and sell vehicles.

As everyday life slowly transitions back to something approaching normality, we thought it important to take stock and look at what we can learn from the past 18 months and think about how this can help us in the future.

It’s clear that today, digital platforms have become a more important part of the customer journey. In a survey we commissioned at the end of 2020, 87% of motor retailers said they believe it’s more important than ever to invest in digital communications. We know that this demand is being driven by customers, as during the last national lockdown, we saw the daily average number of live video sessions surge by 244%. With this in mind, we’re taking a look back at what we’ve learned, so you can be sure your team is making best use of its CitNOW tools.

Video is king

Using personalised video allows sales teams to build direct relationships with prospective customers who are unable or unwilling to visit the dealership. Our research found that four out of five retailers (79%) valued video as their most important digital tool during 2020, for its role in maintaining customer contact and ability to nurture sales during partial lockdowns. This was also highlighted in our video numbers with over 4 million videos created in the first half of 2021 with an 80% watch rate.

We asked car buyers what they thought about the use of video for communicating with retailers and 41% of respondents said that they valued the personalised interaction above all other benefits. CitNOW can offer a lot of value around bridging the online to offline customer experience. Video can quickly establish a rapport with the customer and present the vehicle and the salesperson in an engaging way. Our Accelerating the Digital Customer Experience report goes into these stat’s and more details around this.

Increasing workshop efficiency

Our research found that two fifths (41%) of motorists are more likely to approve repair work if they receive a video explaining the work required. A video while the car is on the ramp really will save time and increase revenue, for example over 26% of work quoted alongside a CitNOW video is approved within 10 minutes of the customer receiving it.

And not to forget the opportunity with Amber work, something that is often overlooked, but can be an easy win. Anything flagged up as an ‘amber’ within the health check traffic-light system can be followed up at a later date through CitNOW’s Amber Follow Up feature. It sends customers an automated email and copy of the health check video on the date you specify, meaning you can entice customers to book their cars in for repair at the most opportune moments.

Ensuring your technicians are trained on how to effectively use video in a workshop environment can help deliver an exceptional experience for every customer. For more inspiration, watch our top tips for creating workshop videos. For further information we’ve also recently launched our Evolution of the digital workshop report.

Capturing great online assets

As a result of the pandemic, we’ve seen many investing in digital communications and ecommerce. In fact, we found that 81% of retailers intend to further increase their focus for online sales as a result of their recent experiences. For this, exceptional online assets are a must.

With the majority of car buyers now starting their purchase journey online, competition in the online marketplace is fierce. More than 55% of car buyers we asked stated that they would be willing to travel further to a car dealership if they received a personalised video of the specific car they are interested in – up from just 15% three years earlier.

It’s important that as consumers cast their net wider, all your new and used stock is listed online with high-quality imagery and video, right from the moment it goes on sale. To support this, we have been continually improving our Web application, to help you improve your vehicle listings with first-class, consistent imagery and background replacement, video clips and 360⁰ views. For inspiration, our Head of Sales Callum Wood created this video to show how you can capture great online assets and show off your vehicles in the best way possible: ahref=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2vZ_hDExwqk”>https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2vZ_hDExwqk.

Looking towards the future

One of the best things about working in the automotive industry is that it constantly forces us to learn and adapt. We want to support you in making sure digital communications work for your customers, which is why we offer free webinars and online learning through our CitNOW Academy. To learn more, simply get in touch with your CitNOW Account Manager.

In recent times, the importance of having complete flexibility to meet everyone’s needs has become even more apparent. As customers increasingly return to the showroom, CitNOW is here to support your business in developing a hybrid approach to communicating with them. Our platforms help your customers start their purchase journey wherever and whenever they want, and help build trust and transparency that will ultimately improve the chances of a sale.

We pride ourselves on working closely with retailers to help them use digital communication to enhance the customer experience. Our tireless efforts were recently recognised and we are honoured to have been named the AM Awards ‘Supplier of the Year’ – for the second year in a row – thank you for your support!