Article

Rich Media For Bigger Bottom Lines

August 2006, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

by Maxwell D. Skynard - Also by this author

A novel idea: imagine a dealership that moved all the cars out to the back lot. Imagine that in each space where each car used to be, there is a post-it note with just “Make, Model, and ‘Call for Price.’” Imagine that all the salespeople are equipped with just one photo of each model, in just one color, in just one trim. Imagine that instead of asking for the business, the salespeople just stand there, with their one picture, and wait for a customer to ask to negotiate price.

Picture it for a second. Now, imagine you’re the genius running the place.

Seems cRaZy, right? Well, maybe not as crazy as you think.

Most dealerships - about 20,000 - are still relying on flat, content-poor, uninspired online sales tools to drive traffic into their showrooms. It’s like duct taping our post-it notes and whining about how “that Internet stuff just don’t work.”
ACCURATE CONTENT + POSITIVE USER EXPERIENCE = A BIGGER BOTTOM LINE. Quit wrestling with this. It’s not a matter of disclosure. It’s a matter of trust. According to Jupiter Research, trust is still one of the biggest concerns of consumers doing automotive research online. The good news is that 65 percent of the respondents in the survey said that they are more likely to be trusting if the Web site has good, accurate vehicle content.*

In a nutshell, nickel and dime-ing your Web site in this area is like trading dollars for common sense.

Okay. You know you need good content to be trusted, but here’s another little tidbit. According to DoubleClick Ad Research, consumers are 4 times more likely to click through if that content uses rich media (not flat). Let me break this down – that’s Four Times Higher!

What is this Rich Media?

I’m talking about 360 degree interior and exterior zoomable panoramic shots, color changers, Spanish and English voice-overs, music, video, vehicle walk rounds, build-a-car functions - anything that draws the consumer INTO your Web site, not just on it. Check out www.DominionDodge.com for examples. And don’t stop there - why not send the same eye-popping stuff into the customers e-mail too?

Rich media tweaks the lust button in the brain in a way that cold hard facts can’t. It can turn an “I’m just curious” customer into an “I gotta see this” customer. Rich media helps you overcome the big trust-objection, but does so in a way that makes them hungry to get behind the wheel.

But it’s not enough to just spin a bunch of pictures really fast to music that sounds like it came from one of those trucks with glowing-lights underneath. All that gee-whiz-Rich-Media-goodness has to tie into the online sales process. In other words, the tools have to be designed to strike while the iron’s hot and ask for the business. There should be a strong call-to-action at every juncture, “Schedule a Test Drive” or “Apply Online” buttons need to be placed at every step.

Imagine a dealership where the cars are always detailed, where every trim is always in stock (in every color). The ups always get a test drive, and a flawless product walk around. Your salespeople know everything about every vehicle on the lot, and they never forget to ask for the business. The sun is always shining and the doors never close. That dealership exists! It’s what any cutting edge BDC manager or ISM ought to be striving for when they tweak out their Web site with the proper tools they need to get the lead.

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