Putting Trust on the Turntable

How HD video puts trust on the turntable

As more of the car-buying process moves online, British motor retailers increasingly look to video and imagery to enhance customers’ trust in their products and services, but creating that digital content can be time-consuming and outsourcing it can be expensive.

AutosOnShow’s solution to the dilemma was to create an all-in-one approach to online car-buying, which it says can be mastered by a dealership’s own staff and completed within a reported six minutes, removing the need to outsource.

The system allows dealers to give the online consumer the best possible representation of a vehicle in high definition, from turntable solutions, including 360-degree slider video capabilities and exploded views, to aftersales solutions.

A recent update to its software allows the user to tag videos to highlight a particular feature or notify would-be buyers of defects and faults – helping to build trust.

Managing director Adam Price said the business grew from one simple realisation: “I was trying to figure out how to show a vehicle in its best light in a 360-degree walk-around video. It then dawned on me that I shouldn’t have to walk around the car, but the car should be moving for me. “The only problem was that some dealerships either didn’t have turntables, didn’t have enough space to walk around the car or they had poor backgrounds.”

Since then, AutosOnShow was bought by BCA and has begun moving into the wholesale market, with an updated product. “We needed to refresh what we started with our turntable solution. Things move on and you don’t want to let technology stagnate. The new turntable features DSLR cameras, alongside our original 360-degree views.”

The new turntable and video systems feature a development called ‘object detection’. On a turntable video that has been created with a fixed camera, the vehicle appears to be at a distance, due to the zoom level.

“If you were photographing a Mini, then two thirds of that image could be background. Background doesn’t help to sell a car,” said Price.

Traditionally, the images would have to be manually brought forward, which would compromise the image quality.

“With our updates we are able to automatically increase the lens focus and automatically bring the car forward.

“If you apply this effect to a 360 slider, it will automatically zoom the car in and out, optimising every angle to maximise the car within that image.

“We have already sold it to manufacturers, and it’s just a case of waiting for it to be launched.

”Price pointed out that each dealership requires a slightly different approach and, whether working with manufacturers or dealer groups, is keen to emphasise AutosOnShow’s flexibility.

“We have a knack as a company to be able to spot inefficiencies within workflows and try to resolve them with software. We gained a global manufacturing contract with a premium brand in 2016 because our software was able to provide a significantly different solution.

“Another mainstream manufacturer needed a turntable solution at the end of 2016, but decided that what we were offering wasn’t suitable for them.

“I convinced them to let me show what our technology was capable of, it took two weeks to set up the meeting, but within two hours they were sold.

We have a knack as a company to be able to spot inefficiencies

Adam Price, AutosOnShow

“Since then, the business has grown. We are in our third iteration of that software. A large remarketing organisation saw what we did and loved it, so we have been pushed into some of its sites too.”

Another manufacturer also asked about aftersales. “We thought that aftersales should be done differently and it was impressed with our ideas,” said Price.

“Our aftersales solution combines video and image evidence of the essential work, then it is automatically uploaded and integrated with the electronic vehicle health check (EVHC). It then sends the customer an email and a text, prompting them to approve or reject.

“They liked it so much that the aftersales solution is being launched across 20 countries over the next three months, making AutosOnShow a multi-national business.”

Following these successes, the company has created its own photo studio, clearing the path for a wholesale venture.

Price said: “We designed our own photo studio because I could see people using our software, but the background was perhaps letting it down, so we have created the studio to fit in with all our other offerings.

“We are now at both a wholesale level and a dealer level. Assets with retail images at a wholesale location can be so much better. The aesthetic of the product is much better than what could be produced at a dealership.”

“It is a lot of work, but at wholesale level we are doing more than 1,000 cars a day – all to a professional standard. We can create bespoke offerings for each manufacturer or dealership,” said Price.

One update to AutosOnShow’s video technology is its potential to build consumer trust by helping to ensure that the vehicle is advertised as fairly as possible.

Price said: “We have developed the tagging system within our videos and 360-degree sliders. A dealer can tag anything on the car. This can be to highlight a particularly desirable feature, or to make the consumer fully aware of any defects or faults.

“The combination of tags and advanced imagery undoubtedly helps to build trust. People can grasp exactly how the damage will look on the vehicle and it reduces the risk of a car being returned.”

On the future, Price said the industry is going through “significant changes” and suggested that AutosOnShow will continue to have a global outlook.

“We are slowly getting the industry to change and manufacturers are following suit with our technology. We’ve got some really good global contracts based on everything we do and not just one aspect.

“In America, there has been nothing about video in the industry, until the end of last year. The push for video in the US market is now almost evangelical. America is at least five years behind us in harnessing the power of video technology.”

Article originally published in AM Magazine

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