If a picture tells a thousand words, video tells the whole story. As car buyers look for more information about the vehicles and dealerships they’re considering, video allows you to provide the detail shoppers want in a compelling format. It also differentiates you from competitors who rely on static images to merchandise their inventory – an edge that can help you win the business.

Video ShowcaseRamp Up With Video
Adding video to your store’s site and third-party listings is far less expensive and time-consuming than it was in years past. Vendors offer a variety of packages and applications that help streamline and automate the process, allowing you to quickly get up and running. Given video’s early success with consumers, industry studies indicate that dealer adoption of video will grow significantly during the next few years. Fifty-five percent of consumers surveyed in a 2007 Kelsey Group study, for example, visited a business’ website after watching an online video advertisement. Of those visitors, 30 percent went to the company’s store, and 24 percent made a purchase.

Automotive shopping sites such as Cars.com allow you to incorporate video into your online listings. Cars.com, for example, recently launched VideoShowcase to help you fully merchandise your cars, build your brand and stand out from your competitors. Graphical links on the vehicle details and search results pages identify listings that feature video.

“Using video adds depth to the listing,” said Wayne Ussery, internet marketing director for Atlanta-based Jim Ellis Automotive Dealerships. “We see a direct connection between sales and how prospects use video. There is a parallel that shows if the car was sold, the video was viewed.”

Ussery said he began using video with vehicles advertised on his nine stores’ websites in 2006. A year later, he expanded the initiative to include his video listings on Cars.com and other third-party shopping sites. Monthly views of the videos, Ussery said, have since doubled.

How It Works
A number of third-party service providers can help you produce the videos. Options include full-motion videos that incorporate voiceover narration and background music and stitched photos that simulate motion through pan and zoom techniques. Audio is provided through text-to-speech technology or, at additional cost, a live voice-over.

Cars.com, for example, accepts VideoShowcase data feeds from the leading inventory services companies and can work with most dealers’ preferred vendor. Current approved providers include Dealer Specialties, Digital Media Communications, Liquidus, SiSTeR Technologies and UnityWorks! Media.

Sell More Than the Car
An effective video should do more than showcase the vehicle. It should also promote your store by including information about your location, community reputation and business philosophy. At Jim Ellis, for example, the videos include segments that outline the shopping experience customers can expect when they visit the dealership and a map to the store. Known as a “doughnut,” they appear before and after the description of the vehicle – giving the video the look and feel of a professionally produced commercial.

Does your store have a jingle and logo? You may want to include them too to drive additional brand awareness.

Additional Resources
Looking for additional tips you can implement in your store today to drive more traffic with your online advertising and desk more deals with your internet sales processes? Check out Cars.com’s DealerCenter. Here, you can read previous editions of our DealerADvantage newsletter or listen to archived recordings of our DealerADvantage LIVE webinar series.