How to master distance selling at your car dealership

Aug 28, 2022Industry Trends

Woman on phone video call

There’s never been a better opportunity for dealerships to sell cars remotely. Gone are the days when a person would decide that they want a new car and simply wander over to their local car lot. Today, we’re living in a digital age, which means giving customers a virtual shopping experience isn’t just possible anymore, but it’s expected. The concept of selling vehicles virtually – or in other words, distance selling – is proving to be increasingly popular. In fact, global car buying statistics anticipate that online car purchases will reach more than $720 billion by 2030, with research showing that 41 percent of car buyers would be prepared to complete their entire purchase process online. 

With those figures in mind, it goes without saying that in order for your dealership to continue to thrive in such a competitive digital environment, it’s fundamental that your business masters the art of distance selling. You need to do more than simply reach customers in your local town or city – now, you have the opportunity to sell to a global audience and you need to make the most of it.

So, how do dealerships connect with contactless customers? Fortunately, thanks to advances in technology, communicating with customers virtually via the likes of email or live video, is now easier than ever. Here, the experts at SnapCell explore what distance selling is and share top tips from industry experts on how to take advantage of modern-day customers’ readiness to buy online.

Using SnapCell to give customers an ‘artificial’ in-person shopping experience

One of the biggest obstacles that you’ll probably find your dealership facing when trying to master distance selling, is giving customers the same impressive shopping experience that they would get if they visited your lot in person. And, as well as know, since buyers won’t be physically browsing your cars in person, it’s important that your dealership gives them as authentic a shopping experience as possible. 

How do you show off the vehicles you have in stock? How do you enable customers to really experience what your cars have to offer? And ultimately, how does your sales team pitch to potential leads, without customers actually stepping foot into your showroom? 

Our answer? SnapCell. We might be biased, but we believe that the first step you can take to mastering distance selling is becoming a SnapCell customer. At the touch of a button, the SnapCell app allows those in the automotive industry to create professional-quality videos seamlessly. And we all know how powerful videos are when it comes to converting leads, driving sales, and ultimately boosting profit. You’ll be able to provide customers with huge amounts of detailed and accurate information, while giving shoppers a more immersive experience, all from the comfort of their sofa.

Here’s how SnapCell can help your dealership master distance selling:

Walkaround videos

How do you fancy taking your showroom directly to your customer’s hands, wherever they are in the world? Bring your showroom to life, virtually, thanks to SnapCell.

Whether it’s giving customers a virtual tour of your dealership, or highlighting individual vehicles, SnapCell makes it easier than ever to show off the stock you have available.

Once recorded, you can send walkaround videos to customers directly via email, post them across your social media channels, or even add them to your website. And with 95 percent of customers will retain the information they’ve seen on a video, compared to just 10 percent who view the same information via text, weaving walkaround videos into your strategy is a no-brainer.

In fact, recent research shows that since the Covid pandemic, the average car buyer will watch 19 videos prior to making a vehicle purchase, with the majority of those videos being ‘walkaround’ or review videos.

Live video chat

What brings the customer as close to your dealership as possible, without actually being there? Live video. Live videoing is taking business strategies within the automotive industry to the next level. 

SnapCell Live quite literally gives dealerships the chance to hold one-to-one conversations with customers, without the shoppers physically visiting your dealership. Live video gives customers the ability to put a face to your dealership while checking out the vehicles you have in stock. The customer can ask questions, while your salesperson can pitch, just as they would if the sale was happening in person. 

With SnapCell Live, customers also have the option to add additional callers into the chat, so shoppers have the benefit of including a trusted family member or friend in their buying journey – just as they would if they wanted to bring a loved one into your dealership, in-person.

Virtual test drives

Being able to create virtual test drives is undoubtedly changing the future of the automotive industry. In fact, being able to create, share and record virtual test drives is a game-changer when it comes to distance selling in the automotive industry. And remember, it’s not just convenient for the customer but it saves time and money for your dealership too. 

As we all know, before a customer actually commits to buying a car, the chances are, they’ll want to test drive it. So how do you successfully complete a sale without a customer ever touching the steering wheel? How do you tackle the world of test drives in an industry shaped around digitalization? Virtual test drives. 

Virtual test drives give shoppers the chance to take a vehicle for a spin, without entering your dealership. In fact, they can experience a particular model without even leaving their home. Better still, if they wish, they can seamlessly try out multiple models via their smart device, making vehicle comparison easier than ever. 

Of course, you’d be forgiven if you think the idea of creating virtual test drives sounds complicated. Fortunately, with SnapCell, producing virtual test drives couldn’t be easier. Whether you decide to capture pre-recorded videos or want to connect with customers via live video (entirely safely, of course), SnapCell gives your shoppers the chance to immerse themselves entirely in the driving experience, from wherever they are in the world. 

You could share virtual test drives on social media, send them directly to customers via email, or as mentioned, launch SnapCell Live. Have you considered posting virtual test drives on YouTube? With recent figures revealing that the watch time of ‘test drives’ on YouTube increasing by more than 65 percent over the past two years, your dealership needs to be utilizing the video viewing platform. 


Statistics show that almost 70 percent of vehicle shoppers rely on automotive reviews when making a purchase, your dealership should never underestimate the impact and power of testimonials. 

And, what’s better than written testimonials? Video testimonials. After all, Nearly 90 percent of shoppers trust online video reviews as much as they would in-person recommendations. Video reviews are real, honest, and genuine – and it’s hard to fake them – which means they enhance the reliability and credibility of your dealership while growing trust and confidence between your business and the customer. 

By using SnapCell, your dealership can seamlessly capture positive customer video testimonials, as part of your distance selling strategy. These positive testimonials can then be used across your social media channels, on your website, or included in emails. 

Quick and personalized communication

When it comes to distance selling, communication is key to success. 

The average car buyer will visit between three and four automotive websites during their shopping journey, which means your dealership can’t get complacent when competition is so high.

Here is our communication checklist for distance selling:

  • Personalized and customized communications

Get your dealership ahead of the competition and show the customer you care by creating bespoke communications, tailored specifically to them. From simply adding the shopper’s name to a message, or including a personalized video in an email, customizing the way you speak to individual customers will no doubt reflect in your sales figures. Remember, you don’t have the luxury of being able to engage with them in person, so use the tools you have to hand, like SnapCell and your Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system, to prove to the customer that you respect and value their individual shopping journey. 

  • Don’t leave the customer waiting

While we appreciate instantly responding to customers might not always be possible, it’s important that your dealership works into their strategy techniques to ensure the customer isn’t left waiting for too long. The innovative messenger feature on SnapCell makes two-way conversation between dealership and customer easier and quicker than ever. 

  • Host virtual events via social media

Virtual events provide your dealership with the opportunity to showcase the vehicles you have in stock, to a mass audience. Bring shoppers virtually into your dealership, and give them the ask you questions surrounding particular makes and models, live. 

Are you ready to master your distance selling strategy?

According to recent figures, a huge 80 percent of car buyers admit that they would be more open to purchasing a car online. That figure alone indicates that it’s time your dealership considered their distance selling strategy if you haven’t done so already.

It’s clear that the second-best thing to actually visiting a dealership in person is for the customer to engage with your dealership via video. 

SnapCell offers a range of innovative and forward-thinking features that makes distance selling so much easier and simpler – and all in the form of one centralized app. Your sales and marketing strategy can’t rely on talking to customers when they visit your dealership anymore. These days, your business must be able to engage with virtual shoppers too. Find out how SnapCell can help your dealership master distance selling by scheduling your demonstration today

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