Online disruptors, including Carvana and Vroom, have invested millions of dollars into interactive video technology for one simple reason: Interactive video allows them to merchandise their vehicles in a way that engages consumers and creates an emotional connection, thus proving that shoppers will buy sight-unseen if given enough visual information.
In the automotive industry, creating this emotional connection to a vehicle is critical. Car shoppers typically pick up the phone or submit a lead online only after they have become emotionally attached to a particular vehicle. Therefore, the more interactive tools and options that you provide to help car shoppers engage (and fall in love) with your inventory, the more leads you will generate, period.
Let’s review the reasons why interactive videos are such a powerful merchandising tool for auto dealers.
Puts consumers in control
The goal of inventory videos and interactive 360 spins is ultimately to recreate the emotional attachment of the traditional vehicle test drive, but online.
Inventory videos are edited with music, voiceover, and overlays that do a great job of piquing consumers’ interest in a particular vehicle.
Meanwhile, interactive 360 spins allow consumers to take control of their viewing of a vehicle and come the closest to emulating the experience of actually being on your lot. A shopper can view a car from any angle, zoom in or out, explore hotspot features, and look at a panoramic view of the interior – all on their own.
Both of these presentations are impactful on their own, but they work best to form an emotional connection when they are used together. Together, they can take a person’s level of interest from “That looks interesting,” to “I want this vehicle—not the one down the street, but this one.” That’s where you win.
While linear videos do a better job of engaging car shoppers than photos alone, interactive videos bring that engagement to the next level.
According to Interactive4Video, average engagement rates for linear videos are 26%, while engagement rates for interactive videos are 48%—that’s an 85% increase in engagement!
Why is engagement so important? Think about all the money you spend driving traffic to your website. Dealers spend thousands of dollars on TV, radio, email marketing, on Google and Facebook ad campaigns. While many campaigns encourage consumers to call the dealership as a call for action, the reality is that 90 percent of consumers are going to visit the website first.
If your website does not have the tools to keep these website visitors engaged, many of those marketing dollars are wasted. I compare it to paying huge dollars to have Curt Schilling as your pitcher (your marketing) but having a rookie catcher with a bad eye and one arm (your website). You will never get the value from the millions you’re paying Curt, make sense? Since most prospects visit your website before ever coming to your dealership, that’s where the majority of merchandising dollars should be spent.
Higher conversion rates
According to FlickFusion data, VDPs with interactive videos and traditional inventory videos deliver conversion rates that are 35 to 45 percent higher than VDPs with just one video option or zero video options.
So, if you are wondering whether you should replace regular inventory videos with interactive videos, the answer is no. It’s important to have both types of videos on your VDPs.
When presented with both linear and interactive videos on a VDP, some consumers prefer a sales presentation, while some consumers will opt for the interactive experience right away. And some consumers will want to do both.
It’s no accident that many retail brands are investing millions of dollars into marketing that includes interactive videos. The more options you provide, the more likely car shoppers are to use at least one of those options to engage with your inventory. More engagement ultimately leads to more conversions and more sales.