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The case for cameras in showrooms - a guest opinion

David Warren

If you have not yet had the memo, the place to influence used car buyers is online.

According to Autotrader US’s ‘Car Buyer Journey’ report, that is where most of the overall purchase time for a used car is now spent.

Whilst buyers are online they are open to influence, all the way through to checking inventory and selecting a dealership to visit. In fact, according to that report 38% of car buyers only go on to visit one dealership.

Are you going to be that dealership? It is a question of giving people enough advice and information to make a decision ahead of their visit.

Now more than ever this means meeting expectations during the search of dealer inventory, the final stage of buyer research.

Made-to-order videos and live streaming

We set out to measure those expectations in the UK for one category of vehicle media, video.

We commissioned a representative Google survey of 100 recent UK car buyers who did research online.

Two thirds told us that they prefer video of inventory in addition to images.

Three quarters agreed that video could give buyers more confidence to visit a dealership (even a dealership further away), in the knowledge that it had what they wanted.

Taking a closer look at the different kinds of video content that buyers want, 57% told us that they are also interested in made-to-order personal videos focusing on aspects of a car that are important to them.

A similar proportion, 49%, would be interested in the option of live streaming video where they can interact with a salesperson.

Are dealerships keeping pace?

We surveyed a randomly chosen sample of 43 in the UK. Two thirds offered video of some variety.

54% offered basic walk-around video.

More, 72%, agreed that such video is necessary as standard and a further 20% said ‘maybe’. However 10% disagreed that such video was necessary at all.

17% of dealerships offered made-to-order personal videos. Many more, 67%, thought that should definitely be standard, with further 24% saying ‘maybe’ and 10% disagreeing.

12% of dealerships offered live video. 51% thought that live video should be standard, with a further 39% saying ‘maybe’ and 12% outright disagreeing.

When investigating the large discrepancy between the proportion of dealerships offering live video (12%) and the demand among half of car buyers for it, we discovered that the lead reason for not investing in it was not technical or even time-related.

Instead it was instead that “dealership staff may not have the presentation skills on camera” (56% agreed).

We find this hard to accept given how articulate and knowledgeable the dealership personnel we regularly encounter are. Nothing a little presentation training could not iron out.

We hope that our buyer survey results will help dealerships appreciate the demand for video.

In particular, buyer demand for made to order and live video is racing ahead of its provision, although dealerships by and large understand that each need to be standard.

We know that there can be obstacles to offering video but in the words of one of our dealership survey takers: “Spend time on the video and the vehicle will sell every time.

Author: David Warren (pictured), head of Motorclean Vehicle Media

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