Dealers are increasingly communicating with customers via live video according to CitNOW, which reports a 244% increase in live sessions during the latest lockdown when compared to the Autumn lockdown period.
Viewing figures for pre-recorded sales and workshop videos have also increased “significantly” as retailers rely on digital communications to replicate the in-dealership experience.
During the second half of 2020, CitNOW said there was a 27% increase in customer video watch rates compared with the same period in 2019, and that momentum is continuing into 2021.
“It's no surprise that video has proved to be an essential tool for building effective relationships with customers throughout the pandemic,” said Alistair Horsburgh, CEO at CitNOW.
“However, what we're now seeing is retailers taking a blended approach to using live and recorded video. This is creating new, more flexible customer journeys that enable retailers to engage with customers at the right time and in the right way.
“Our research shows that the majority of industry professionals plan to use more digital communications to stay in touch with customers. It's vital that they increase the effectiveness of their communications at every stage of the buying process, to help them weather the harsh conditions assailing the sector,” he added.
According to CitNOW’s research, 77% of retailers say they are concerned about how the increase in e-commerce may affect their ability to build relationships with customers.
In its newly published report, Accelerating the Digital Customer Experience, CitNOW evaluates the considerable rise in the use of video and explains how adapting video output according to customer demographics can boost sales conversions and drive greater loyalty.
The report shows that a third (31%) of car buyers would consider purchasing their next car entirely online; for 31- to 40-year-olds this rises to almost half (48%). The top customer requirements for buying online are a money-back guarantee (45%) and a personalised walk-around video (44%). Furthermore, 84% of car buyers who received a video said that they found it to be a valuable part of their purchasing journey, at a time when many consumers are unable or unwilling to visit a dealership.