Is your dealership ahead of the “automotive digital transformation”?

Is your dealership ahead of the “automotive digital transformation”?

COVID-19 has changed the way motorists shop for vehicles. Dealerships closed as nationwide lockdowns have taken effect. Search interest for “dealership near me” reduced by more than 70% in February to April 2020, according to Google. Despite the drop in dealership visits, searches for “car sales” increased by 60%, so the market was still there.

To cater for car buyers under the new restrictions, some retailers adopted click-and-collect systems, allowing consumers to purchase their vehicles online, before visiting a dealership to pick up their purchase. Greater focus on online sales has meant digital content has become increasingly important to attract and inform customers.

Automotive digital transformation

The pandemic has accelerated this “automotive digital transformation”, says Google. They found that 6% of UK car buyers indicated they made their vehicle purchase online – which may not seem high, but it is a rise of over 75% since 2018. Now, one in two car shoppers would prefer to sign all necessary documents electronically, according to a survey by the search giant in May 2020. They also asked car shoppers to rank the following activities by preference as good alternatives to a dealer visit:

    • At-home test drive
    • Digital showroom
    • Review videos
    • Online configurator
    • Videoconference
    • VR test drive.

Video is vital for automotive digital marketing

The above list relies heavily on video content, from digitally test-driving vehicles to watching reviews. Google said: “Before the pandemic, car shoppers were turning to YouTube to experience digital test drives. The importance of that trend is even greater given current shelter-in-place policies. Brands that want potential buyers to engage with specific models should consider highlighting video content of interior overviews, walk arounds, test drives and review videos.”

In our previous blog on videos for dealerships, we found that over 60% of those who used video while researching vehicles online subsequently chose to visit a dealership. Video is highly versatile and can be used in any number of ways to entice customers to your business, such as showcasing new stock, providing instruction on vehicle features, promoting services, and sharing details on aftercare products.

The showroom floor still plays an important role in car sales, of course, but consumers are spending more and more time using digital resources to complete their purchase – and this is likely to continue post-pandemic. While the changes mean retailers may need to place greater emphasis on producing digital content, such as video, it is also an opportunity for auto marketers to exploit this increasingly essential route to market.

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