Most dealers have spent many years in the car business. They know what it takes to sell cars. They know when a customer walks onto the lot, the salesperson must give a professional presentation while being able to emotionally connect with and excite the customer into making that purchase.

 

To this end, most dealers are really great at merchandising their vehicle inventory on the lot. The cars are gleaming, the rows are tight and they use balloons, inflatable gorillas and other attention-grabbing devices to create an air of excitement.

 

And what about their online inventory? With more than 90% of car shoppers beginning their journey on the Internet, is your dealership doing everything it can to merchandise your vehicles online? After all, your inventory is your #1 asset.

 

Unfortunately, most Vehicle Display Pages (VDPs) on dealership websites look very similar to each other. This is not the fault of the dealers or even the website providers; these page formats must be standardized so the inventory data can be pulled and distributed to third-party sites. But the result is that these pages, their data and photos look static. A dealership’s most important online merchandising presentation, of their #1 asset, and it is unemotional, unappealing, and has nothing unique about it at all.

 

That's why more dealerships are creating inventory videos. Videos convey information while appealing directly to car shoppers' emotions. In a video, you can include intros that state your dealership's value proposition; what makes you stand out from your competition? You can include custom promotion and incentive information; why should this shopper come to your store today?

 

In videos, you can include information beyond what just appears in the inventory data. Instead of reading data (the what), your customers listen to custom voiceovers that appeal to their comfort-loving side, or adventurous side, or budget-conscious side (the why).

 

Inventory videos are a great way to make your VDP pages shine. However if you decide to go this route, make sure your customers are aware that you have these videos! One mistake that some dealers make is that once the videos are created, they get buried somewhere or can only be accessed via a tiny button somewhere that may have a video symbol but no real call to action.

 

Fortunately many website vendors are realizing that VDPs need to be re-designed (only slightly) so that videos are more visible. If your dealership is creating inventory videos, make sure your videos can be seen! Here are a few tips:

 

1) Add a video slider or widget featuring inventory videos on the homepage of your website so your online visitors know that you have videos.

 

2) Make sure your inventory videos are clearly visible on your VDPs

 

3) Create a landing page for each inventory video. This will make it easy for your shoppers to have access to your value proposition, customer testimonial or additional inventory videos without having to search your site. More importantly, it puts these videos in front of your shopper at a time of the buying cycle where they can have the biggest impact on your sales. Your landing page should also include a call to action and a lead form.

 

4) Give your videos emotional appeal! Use professional voice over, music, banners and intros to convey your dealership's personality and make the customer want more.

 

The fact is online merchandising efforts have a greater reach and more impact on potential car buyers than merchandising efforts on your lot. As appealing as that purple inflatable gorilla may be, inventory videos are bound to give you more bang for your buck.

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Comment by steven chessin on December 28, 2016 at 2:00pm

Tim - The only reason for the gorillas and balloons is so that people driving by - while distracted by everything else --- can see that there is a car dealer there. Dealers were provided by video boxes as an upgrade / add-on to photos and text but did not see it as a front-and-center-stage-rock-star  --- because the add-on videos were not worthy of that spotlight. But if time-talent-money is invested so too must the staging. This becomes a problem because the placement has already become cemented into place. Your own system properly offers production upgrade capability from the  automatic "fake-video" from photos and VIN decoding to real productions --- but the placement remains exactly where it is  ---  possibly buried in the VDP. So my 1st suggestion would be  --- to all who are using the "stiched"videos --- is to ask about a higher-rent position if the quality of their content is improved. Your team can assist those dealers ready to make more impact as they transition into higher performing video.      

    "Inventory videos are a great way to make your VDP pages shine. However if you decide to go this route, make sure your customers are aware that you have these videos! One mistake that some dealers make is that once the videos are created, they get buried somewhere or can only be accessed via a tiny button somewhere that may have a video symbol but no real call to action."

Of course - this suggestion only applies to dealer websites and not 3rd part sites that remain non-responsive to this issue. For awhile Cars.com did have a primary position for video but it is no longer prominent. AutoTrader has always buried video  (and always promised to address it but never does) and I don't think cargurus ever even added video except their own productions - craigs doesn't accept links or code. (although there is a cumbersome work-around)  --- only eBay has always been video friendly  ---  except that you need to know the re-coding tricks or codes won't work.   ------- So  despite your system's distribution to all touch-points --- which is nice  --- those touch-points do not do a good  jobs with the digital hand-off - which de-values the videos. EVERY dealer site provider allows for  improvements - but the inventory sites are the problem.          

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