All over the UK, car dealerships have been placed under further restrictions as the second wave of COVID-19 has taken hold. These restrictions have differed in their overall nature across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, but the outcome from a dealer perspective has been largely the same in every case: customers are not able to physically visit dealerships to buy their new car.
There are a limited number of exceptions to this rule. Workshops have stayed open for pre-booked services, and in England, customers are allowed to collect a vehicle that they’ve already purchased. But despite these, it’s clear that there are several logistical challenges from a sales perspective. Dealer visits, test drives and forecourt demonstrations remain impossible, which is only likely to have a negative impact on new sales while the lockdown remains in effect. So how can dealers respond and ensure they can still engage prospective customers?
Video can play a vital role in a sales and communication process that now has to be digitally led, and especially in three important areas:
Live video for two-way conversations
By connecting with customers for live video conversations, sales executives can reach out in a way that allows them to deliver a fully personalised experience. Customers can ask specific questions about certain features on a car they’re interested in, and sales execs can then deliver a direct answer and use the video to give the customer a closer look at the relevant area. Ultimately, with face-to-face conversations an impossibility in the current climate, making this contact virtual is the next best thing.
Recorded vehicle walkarounds
On occasions where live video isn’t practical or when the customer can’t make the time commitment for a live appointment, recorded walk-through videos can be sent to them instead. These can still feature all the key pieces of information on a vehicle, and field any queries from customers they had previously made contact with. As an ideal follow up to a customer enquiry or for a remote handover, not only does this give the customer the flexibility to view and rewatch the video at their leisure, but it also saves sales execs valuable time in following up enquiries with customers who aren’t always contactable.
Part-exchanges are a standard part of the purchase process, but pose more challenges when you can’t value the vehicle in person. Using video to conduct valuations on customer trade-ins is a vital tool in enabling this, giving valuers a clear view of the condition of a car, so that accurate valuations can be made. At a time when the time commitment of conducting valuations is growing and an accurate valuation is key, turning to video can yield huge efficiencies for dealership staff.
No substitute for quality
So while the theory behind using video is sound, how best can these ideas be put into practice? Ultimately, the key is to ensure every video made, whether live or recorded, is of the highest and most professional quality possible – and there are many ways in which dealership staff can do that:
- Friendliness: customers are looking for a hassle-free experience that makes them feel comfortable, so a lighter approach that helps build an emotional rapport should pay dividends.
- Personalisation: recognising and addressing the individual queries and demands of each customer is critical, with relevant information delivered with clarity and transparency.
- Integration: if you have other media or content created for a particular vehicle, such as other videos or still images, then it can help to link to those in order to give the customer the fullest picture possible. This is made easy with our Web to Sales app integration.
- Creativity: don’t be afraid to include additional information in your videos that your customers might find helpful – such as service reminders and agreement renewal dates. Not only does this demonstrate your expertise, it also gives you potential upsell and cross sell opportunities.
In the long run, many customers will come to expect digital-first car sales as standard practice, as they do in many other areas of retail. And in an industry where information and transparency are vital to any deal, videos can provide creative, professional support in delivering them.
To get more detailed advice on how you can make click-and-collect work for your dealership, and on how you can best connect with customers throughout the pandemic, register for one of our free webinars.
We’ve also got a wealth of tips and advice on our How2CitNOW video series on YouTube.