Dealership Inventory Photos – Strategic Tips for Meeting Consumer Needs & Increasing Leads

The 2019 Cox Automotive Car Buyer Journey reported that car buyers visited an average of 4.2 automotive websites before reaching a decision. Over 61% of vehicle shopping time was spent online while customers averaged only 2 hours and 52 minutes at the dealership of purchase. Although the majority of sales still take place at the dealership, most of the shopping occurs online.

They concluded, “The online experience grows in importance as buyers spend less time in-market but a greater percentage of time online.”

With more people spending time online looking for a vehicle that meets their criteria instead of at the dealership sitting in the driver’s seat, placing their hands on the wheel and taking the vehicle for a test drive, dealerships have the added challenge of making it past an online “pre-screening” of the vehicle.

We’ve developed practical guidelines to help car dealerships adapt to this shift in purchase behavior by improving the online image carousel to be better aligned with what car buyers want to see. These tips should be applied to the image carousel of each individual vehicle listing.

Dealership Inventory Image Carousel Recommendations:

  • Feature the images that are most important to consumers: Fortunately, dealerships don’t have to rely on guesswork. CarStory conducted a study in which consumers rated which images are most important in the decision-making process and determined five photos that are a must for dealership inventory listings.

The Top Five Vehicle Images:

  1. Hero – the exterior view of the entire car from the front passenger’s side of the vehicle.
  2. Cockpit – the view of the dashboard and center console. The photographer will need to position themselves in the middle seat or behind the driver’s seat and take the photo looking over an imaginary driver’s shoulder.
  3. Rear Exterior – the view encompassing the entire vehicle taken from the back corner on the driver’s side of the vehicle.
  4. Front passenger – an open door shot of the passenger’s seat with the driver’s seat and console in the background. (A side-view shot of the entire cockpit from the passenger’s side.)
  5. Rear Interior – an open door shot of the back seat from the passenger’s side.
  • Include photos of high value features: prominently displaying these images can lower price reductions and the time the vehicle spends on the lot. High value features are additions such as navigation systems, back-up cameras, or Bluetooth linking capabilities.
  • Feature the most important photos first in your image carousel. Start with the top five list followed-by high value features. After this, you can include additional shots of the vehicle, keeping it between 12-36 photos. By placing the top five vehicle photos first, followed by high value features, it is easier for users to find the information they seek when making a purchase decision. The less work the user must do on your site, the better for your car sales!

At the end of the day, sales haven’t changed. Sales are still all about meeting a need. To gain the competitive edge, dealerships should strive to put the customers’ needs first online, just as they do at the dealership. Providing them with the information they seek with minimal effort on their part is the first step in creating a streamlined customer service experience and increasing the number of leads that contact your dealership.

Not looking to do your own vehicle imagery? Check out our vehicle photo and video services available nationwide.

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