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How Can Video Chat Power the Digital Dealership?

How Can Video Chat Power the Digital Dealership?

Article published: 17 August 2021

The physical dealership is still important - but the last 18 months have shown us just how much of the journey can (and will) be done online. Today, Bluesky's specialist video-chat partner, Vee24, share some insights into how video chat can be the missing link between the physical showroom and the online dealership.

Consumer interest in buying automobiles is on the rise, according to the latest survey by McKinsey . The first half of 2020 landed a significant blow to automotive sales, but the industry is reviving at a faster rate than originally expected. But consumer behaviour is changing. Shoppers have been steadily moving away from the physical dealership and are embracing online retail.

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To stay competitive, today’s dealers need to offer customers a simple, convenient and immersive way to get the service and car advice they need.

Connecting the physical and digital dealership

The transition to online car buying has been slow but steady. By 2014, McKinsey was hinting at a change to come . In 2019, they reported that consumers were carrying out most of their pre-purchase research online. Today, most people report that they do their due diligence on their mobile device or desktop, picking out the car they want to buy online.

Many customers still visit the physical dealership to test drive a vehicle, make the final purchase and drive their car off the lot. Connecting the digital experience with a visit to the showroom is essential for these buyers. But for others, that step is becoming less and less important as consumers become comfortable buying even large-ticket items such as cars online.

A 2021 Deloitte survey asked customers why they were opposed to a fully virtual car-shopping experience. Overwhelmingly, customers responded that they wanted to see their car before buying it. Consumers also said they wanted to negotiate in person, and they stressed that they wanted to interact with a real person before making a purchase.

Seeing the vehicle inside and out. Negotiating face-to-face. This experience can be delivered remotely with the power of visual engagement — a key aspect of the modern digital dealership. A digital customer journey that uses live video engagement to meet buyers face-to-face and guide them through the buying journey meets the needs of consumers while opening up new possibilities for today’s auto dealerships.

The car-buying journey, digitalised

The buying journey guides consumer involvement with a product from the first moment they become interested in the product until they own it. Today, the successful Automotive Retailer incorporates key digital touchpoints extensively along this journey.

Attract

The first stage in the journey is “attract”. Let’s imagine that our consumer is expanding her family and realises she needs a larger car. She goes online and begins researching minivans within her price range. With a digital marketing strategy, she will find your website and begin to browse your cars. But savvy dealers are using links to live engagement — live text and video chat — in email and social media to connect with buyers even before they reach the website.

Convert

In the next stage, the customer begins to hone in on exactly what kind of product she wants. Auto dealerships need to identify these shoppers and ensure their sales team is offering a highly personalised concierge service — digitally. Intelligent chatbots that cobrowse to relevant pages or transfer qualified buyers to a sales person are essential. Video chat allows the sales person to show the detail of the minivan — inside and out.

Close

Face-to-face video and cobrowsing enables the sales person go deeper into car specs and configurators. Your sales team can hold the customer’s hand digitally from initial interest to final purchase. And, online appointment setting allows a customer to choose a time to come into the dealership for a test drive or to make the final purchase at a time that’s convenient for them.

Delight

The last, but not least, leg of the buyer’s journey is the “delight” stage.  Your customer has bought her minivan. She fully appreciates the positive buying experience she had and continues to leverage convenient, simple digital touchpoints for her ongoing service. A loyal customer who will share her experience with friends and family and is more likely to buy again is born.

Create deeper engagements with video

Video enriches the buyer’s journey at every stage, providing a more immersive experience for the consumer and allowing a more consultative approach by the sales person.

High-definition video on a handheld device allows sales agents to move about the showroom and show online buyers every part of the vehicle.

Instead of just looking at a few static images, customers get a 360-degree view of the car and zoom in to see any detail that they’re curious about.  A significant benefit of live video chat is the number of online engagements that become qualified sales leads and test drives. On average, 35% of customers engaged on the website become qualified sales opportunities — a rate that is significantly higher than customers who browse the website independently.

Real-time collaboration within the video session including cobrowsing, screen sharing, and co-form filling capabilities allows the sales people to guide the buyer through the journey. Sharing car specs, working through car configurators together, or even filling out forms online to start the financing process help replicate the in-person experience.

Video chatting with agents provides consumers with a fully personalised viewing experience.

About Vee24 and live engagement technology

Vee24’s digital engagement platform drives the digital showroom, enabling dealerships to provide customers with a highly personalised, immersive experience that increases test drives and sales.

Vee24 partners with Bluesky Interactive to help auto dealerships deliver that exceptional digital customer experiences.

Vee24’s intelligent, conversational, multi-experience platform — powered by AI-enabled chatbots; text, voice, and video chat; online appointment setting; real-time collaboration with co-browsing, screen sharing, and more — enables customer-centric teams to grow online sales, deliver better customer service, and build brand loyalty. Brands can rapidly scale their online business and seamlessly connect their virtual channels and in-person customer experience using this omnichannel customer engagement platform. Vee24 is headquartered in Boston, MA with European headquarters in Macclesfield, England. Vee24 customers include leading industry brands in the retail, financial services, and automotive sectors.

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