The automotive industry is ripe for disruption and more people are trying all-online car buying services than ever before. Rhett Ricart, CEO of Ricart Automotive Group, predicts that 80%-90% of car dealers will have full-eCommerce buying options by the end of the year. With so many car dealers moving online, companies will need a way to differentiate their brand and services. Here are 4 technologies that will help dealers create a better online customer experience, sell more vehicles, and become the next leader of online car buying.
Make virtual feel human with chat and video calls
The average car buyer spends 96 days on the market before they purchase a vehicle. And 6 out of 10 car buyers don’t know what car they want when they first start looking for a car. This means customers are spending lots of days researching on their own and dealers should focus on providing guidance and education to drive value.
A chat box is the perfect way that websites can encourage car buyers to seek guidance and ask more questions. Typing in a chat box is fast, convenient, and requires less effort than sending an email or making a phone call. Even with the best car galleries, customers will still want support online. Having the option to chat live with support makes browsing a digital showroom feel more like an in-person visit where help is always close by.
“The digital experience is cold...people walk into a digital showroom and say “hello, hello, is anyone there?” or maybe fill out a form and someone maybe replies back in a few hours or days. We would never do that in a physical showroom, why would we do that in a virtual showroom” - Drew Delaware, head of marketing at Gubagoo
Having a robust managed chat program is an important communication tool that will help dealers better support all-online car buying. And the quality of online support is going to be an important differentiator between good car buying marketplaces from bad ones.
Emerge visitors with 360 exterior and interior car views
With more dealers moving to sell cars online, companies need to do all they can to differentiate their website and services. Our brains are wired to prefer images over text and people are most influenced by photos when searching online. This is why dealers should focus on improving their image assets and car galleries to make online car shopping faster, easier, and more enjoyable.
Two unique ways of presenting a car is with 360 walk around views and 360 interior views. These methods are used by Carvana and work well for a number of reasons. 360 views don’t require multiple clicks and, unlike traditional galleries, do not need to load new pages. 360 views work well on mobile devices and rotating the car is very intuitive by swiping left or right. And 360 views feel unique and high tech, which helps to differentiate a dealer’s gallery from other competitors.
But there are also some drawbacks. 360 view files are larger than single images and take longer to load. Carvana has compensated for this by using low resolution images in their 360 views, but this sacrifices image quality and makes it hard to zoom in to see details. 360 views also doesn’t show all the angles that a traditional gallery would, such as high angle or low street level shots. 360 views work best to enhance a car gallery. Marketplaces still need to provide options for viewing traditional single images. This way dealers can get all the benefits of 360 views without any of the down sides.
Accelerate mobile experience
This is not a new strategy but remains critical. Dealers need to make sure that their websites are loading fast on smart phones and are mobile optimized. Mobile is the fastest growing device in the world and a Google study shows that 70% of a car buyer’s interactions occur on mobile devices when searching online. This is especially important because of how many images are used on car websites, which can slow down page load times. Accelerated mobile pages is the best way that dealers can make sure their websites load quickly on mobile devices, and will also help car websites rank higher for SEO.
Use a photography solution to do the heavy lifting
Three of the biggest challenges dealers have with car photography is managing & scheduling appointments, billing, and post production to maintain photo consistency. These challenges will only increase as dealers try to sell more cars online. Without a proper photography solution that can scale, dealers will be bottle-necked by a lack of car photos.
Snappr, an all-in-one automotive photography solution, is the best way dealers can get consistent automotive photos at scale. With the largest network of professional photographers Snappr can get professional-quality automotive photos anywhere, on-demand, and with as little as 2 hours advanced notice.
Snappr also provides centralized photo editing services, helping improve a dealer’s existing photo assets to be more consistent and on-brand. Snappr also has the best software, API, and enterprise support team ready to help dealers manage photoshoot appointments at scale. With Snappr, dealers can get professional quality car photos where they need them, when they need them, and quickly get all their vehicles listed online with stunning photos like these.
The automotive industry is rapidly changing and car dealers will need to keep finding new ways to better showcase their cars and stand out online. Car galleries and images are key elements to attracting buyers online and dealers will need a photography solution that can scale and adapt with them.
Ready to take your photography to the next level and make a real impact on your bottom line? Contact Snappr’s Enterprise Team to learn how we can provide automotive photography services that are second to none.