Beyond Video: How to Engage Consumers Online Like You Do on the Lot

On the heels of a very exciting Digital Dealer auto convention I thought it would be interesting to recap our presentation at the conference in the form of a blog post.

Auto vs. Retail

As most readers probably know, inventory videos are widely adopted in the auto space. Most of these solutions take normal photographs and produce a slideshow video that is very similar to an old Ken Burns documentary – zooming, unzooming, panning, etc.

Most readers that work in the auto space probably also know that this video is being pushed aggressively right now by some of the entrenched players in the industry. The funny thing is that we see a very different trend in the retail space. About 5 years ago, retail companies started trumpeting product video as a way to increase conversion rates. Now what are they doing?

– 2013: Popular Science finds 360 Spins generate an 87% increase in conversion rates

– 2014: Google Shopping experiences a 400% increase in engagement time using 360 Spins.

Retail industry trends show a sharp transition away from inventory videos towards 360 spins. So, ask yourself, why are auto dealers selling the second most expensive product most people buy in their lifetime, but are still using technology that is superseded by a product that is proven superior by empirical data?

Compare for yourself

Let’s quickly look at the difference between the two:

Ken Burns: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dtidJcnUvNk&list=PLgYPcITxJ1jt5G3kthi85gVmT3lBtTPT2

360 Walk Around: http://swipetospin.com/viewers/volvo/index_2.html

Which do you think would make you more inclined to enter your email address into a lead form or get up and visit that dealership?

As a matter of fact, 360 Walk Arounds have proven to increase lead submissions by more than 40% over video or simple photos. Why is that?

Importance of engagement

As you can see, you ‘watched’ a video while you ‘engaged’ with the 360 Walk Around. A 360 Walk Around gives your consumer the ability to rotate to whichever area they please, they can zoom in on particular parts of the car, they can click hotspots to learn more, and finally then can even get inside the car. Again, they are driving the engagement process & selling themselves on the vehicle.

And, why does engagement matter? Just look at the sales process on the lot.

Meet and Greet
Qualify
Walk Around
Test Drive
Write Up
Close
Delivery
Each step of this sales process is built to engage the consumer. In the meet and greet you ask them about themselves, forcing them to engage with you as the salesperson. During qualification, you again engage the consumer and figure out what’s driving their decision to buy. Obviously the walk around is all about engagement – getting them to bend down to look at things, having them open the hood, feel the leather, etc. Each step of the sales process is designed to engage the consumer.

So why are you okay with the consumer passively watching a video online?

Conversion Rates

It seems like there’s almost a complacency or acceptance that conversion rates are going to be very low online. And that is what we are changing. You should have a compulsive obsession with your online conversion rates because a minor increase can have an enormous impact on your business.

Let’s quickly have a look at your marketing pipeline. What stage in your pipeline do you think has the lowest conversion rate?

It’s your website. Every wonder why you get thousands of visitors to your website and under a hundred lead submissions?

What are your conversion rates in other parts of your business?

-Test Drive – 30%

-Dealership visitor – 20%

-Phone Call – 15%

-Email conversation – 10%

-Website visitor – less than 1%

Why is this online conversion rate so low? There is a clear failure to engage the consumer online. If I want you to remember something, I ask you to write it down because that process of engagement makes the interaction more memorable!

A very small increase in online conversion rates will have an enormous impact on your dealership’s bottom line.

Other benefits

So 360 Walk Arounds help with engagement & lead submissions – anything else?

An incredible benefit of 360 Walk Arounds is the business intelligence you’ll gain from them.

Think about how every VDP page is laid out. The upper left hand corner contains the photo of the car and beneath it, ‘below the fold’ there’s a paragraph of textual features. Firstly, 93% of consumers never scroll down below the fold, so all those features are missed. Secondly, there’s no way for a dealer to know which features matter to their consumers. With 360 Walk Arounds, the features are brought onto the landing image and the engagement time with each feature is measured. So, a dealer knows which features matter to their consumers!

360 Walk Arounds can also be reused in email and banner ads. So, instead of having flat autoresponders, you can embed a 360 Walk Around in an email – 5x the click through rates of video emails. You can also put spinning content in your retargeted banner ads which catches the eye of the consumer and results in 4x the click through rates.

Go 3D Today!

The bottom line is that 360 Walk Arounds make consumers feel more comfortable, make consumers trust your dealership, increase lead submissions and drive an enormous ROI.

In an era where more consumer education is being done online than ever before, it is imperative that your website experience be as engaging and effective as possible. I firmly believe 360 Walk Arounds put today’s consumer in control, engage them at a very high level, and will be an essential part of the car shopping experience of the future.

I will end with a quote from a businessperson whom I respect greatly, owner of the highest grossing Honda Dealership by internet sales.

“I am very excited to have SwipeToSpin 360 Walk Arounds on PlanetHondaNJ.com, says Planet Honda President William Feinstein, “The 360 view is so much more effective than normal video as it puts the consumer in the driver seat, allowing them to educate themselves about the particular vehicle.”

About SwipeToSpin

SwipeToSpin is a venture capital backed software company headquartered in Manhattan. SwipeToSpin’s proprietary, patent pending software makes it ridiculously easy to create, enrich, and publish photorealistic 360 / 3D content. This 3D content has proven to drastically increase lead submissions, conversion rates, and time spent on site.

Contact me at Devin@SwipeToSpin.com to learn more.

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