I love cars, and I love buying cars. Sometimes I go to the manufacturer’s website and build a car with upgraded features. I like to compare the way a model looks with a feature, such as a sunroof, to the way that model looks without that feature, or to a model with a different color. Building a unique vehicle just for me is fun. Customers like me are why manufacturers offer the “build your own” option on their websites.
I am also an accessories guy. If I’m buying a pre-owned vehicle and it has features like carbon fiber mirrors, a spoiler and body kit, I want to see exactly what that vehicle looks like with all those goodies loaded on there.
When it comes to buying cars, I know what I want. However, the process of finding what I want is never easy. I spend a lot of time on dealership websites, browsing vehicle display pages (VDPs), clicking through photos, watching videos, and trying to find vehicles with the features I am looking for.
Very often, I see that the vehicle data on a VDP lists a certain feature, but I don’t see that feature in the photo or video of the car. This is because many dealers still use stock photos and stock videos, instead of posting real photos and videos of every car on their lot.
Don’t get me wrong. Stock videos have their purpose. If it takes 24 hours to get your inventory photos or videos taken, a stock video can be used as a temporary placeholder, until the real one is uploaded. If you have pages on your website that allow car shoppers to compare makes and models, or you are announcing a new model on your blog or in an email marketing campaign, stock videos are ideal.
But all too often, stock photos and videos are uploaded to the VDPs and stay there. It’s frustrating because the vehicle data says one thing but the photo says another. How do I know if that is the vehicle I want? My personal inclination is to trust what I see in the video more than what I read in the data. The only way to find out is to call and ask a salesperson to take a video of the actual car, and have them send it to me. This can take a while, which is even more frustrating.
I realize that may be the goal of the dealership: get the customer to call and ask about the vehicle. But if the vehicle does not have what I want, I have no interest in it and you have just made me waste a lot of time and energy. Besides, when I am in the “looking” stage I am not ready to deal with a salesperson. I want to deal with a salesperson when I have found what I want to buy. But the only way for me to find what I want is if vehicles are accurately represented on VDPs.
I know I am not the only car shopper who has been frustrated by this experience. These days, how you merchandise your vehicle inventory online is more important than how you merchandise vehicles in the showroom, because online is where people are shopping.
In today’s world, every vehicle on a VDP—new and used—should be merchandised with videos of the actual vehicles. If the vehicle has upgraded features or accessories, make sure they are mentioned in the video narration.
The good news is, making “real” inventory videos doesn’t take much time or money. It can all be done instantly and automatically, using the vehicle data from your inventory feed and the photos or videos from your lot services company. The more accurately your vehicles are represented online, the more down-funnel leads you will get from car shoppers who know what they want and are ready to buy, like me.