A successful website draws visitors to its content. It allows and invites exploration and immerses visitors into the features, pages and content. While buyers have been using the internet for car research for years, buying a car online wasn’t the norm until the pandemic (with the exception of companies like Carvana).
Now buyers might be adept in using the resources at their fingertips to explore vehicles. Dealerships must now perceive the website as a virtual extension of their physical building, and buyers shopping at home might expect more than just one-dimensional images. Use spin photos or 360 degree car images to transform the car shopping process and provide buyers with more tools for their car search. Here are six ways that dealerships can integrate these immersive images online:
- Tease new models
- Create on-page exploration and excitement
- Use images on social media
- Embed images into slideshows
- Create attention-grabbing hero images
- Design augmented reality experiences
How Do 360 Degree Car Images Work?
Not all dealerships utilize interactive photos like 360 degree car images for their website content. How do these images work?
A 360 degree image is also referred to as a ‘spin photo.’ These photos let site visitors rotate a 3D image of a vehicle by using either a fingertip or a mouse. The 3D depiction of the vehicle can turn in 360 degrees to allow individuals to view it from any angle.
These images can show the interior or exterior of a vehicle. Exterior spin photos let consumers explore the body design of the automobile; interior spin photos (called panorama images) let them explore the inside of the vehicle.
Panorama photos are designed as though the individual is sitting in the front seat and looking around the car. Interior spin photos let users look up, down and all around the car to view the interior details.
Use Spin Photos to Tease New Models
Buyers might anticipate a new model year vehicle before it even arrives at the dealership. Depending on the manufacturer, some models might arrive earlier in the fall while others could debut later.
EVOX Images offers a variety of spin photos of new models. Images can be available before the dealership receives these cars in their showroom. A spin image could be included on the dealership’s website on a page dedicated to the model.
Imagery of new models can help dealerships create buzz about the vehicles before they drive onto the lot. Buyers who are interested in these upcoming models can use the interactive image to explore the vehicle from home. Dealerships could include both interior panorama photos and exterior spin photos.
Create On-Page Exploration
Spin images can be integrated online to invite exploration of any current model vehicle. Utilize a spin image on the model’s site page to provide a resource for car shoppers to explore the car from home.
As with newer models (that haven’t arrived), these images can help buyers better understand the features and design of a particular car they like. As immersive 3D images provide more information about a vehicle, buyers also could use the images to uncover details about a vehicle that might omit it from their shopping list or make it a top choice.
Use Images on Social Media
The dealership website isn’t the only online space for sharing immersive imagery like spin photos. Social media accounts offer another tool for dealerships to reach potential customers and communicate with current customers, too.
The dealership’s Instagram and Facebook are ideal for sharing spin images to further boost excitement about new models or to help move last year’s inventory to make room for newer options. Show a 3D interactive exterior spin photo and include a panorama image, too.
Dealerships might wish to include additional information related to MSRP or even special sales and promotions for the model like lower APR or lease deals. Don’t forget to add relevant hashtags and include a link to the dealership’s website.
Embed Images into Slideshows
Take website visitors by surprise by dropping a spin image into a standard vehicle image slideshow. These images can enhance the slideshow experience and let shoppers explore the vehicle on a different level.
Dealerships can lead with an exterior spin image and end the slideshow with a panorama spin photo. In addition, these interactive images also could be sandwiched between standard one-dimensional premium car stock images. Make sure site visitors understand that the image is interactive, though.
Create slideshows for vehicles by using a library of interior and exterior photos from EVOX Images. Choose from close-up photos of car details, too; EVOX Images offers photos that show the details of wheels, gear shifts and more.
Create Attention-Grabbing Hero Images
EVOX Images also offers another type of 360 degree car imagery. New animated car images load automatically and don’t require any interaction from visitors. These images are designed to show a car driving into the photo, rotating in 360 degrees, driving and rotating and viewed from different vantage points, too (like drone footage).
Animated photos also change the vehicle’s paint hues as it moves. This color-changing feature lets car shoppers visualize the car in every paint color option for that model.
Animated photos are an ideal choice for a website hero image, which is a type of image formatted as a banner-style design to capture the eye of visitors when they land on the page. Choose animated images to add impact and a powerful presence to the site. Optimizely explains that the right hero image also can build trust in a company’s brand.
Design Augmented Reality Experiences
Augmented reality experiences are used to enhance the user experience online and aid the buying process. Businesses use augmented reality to create preview experiences for their products; for example, Ulta uses an augmented reality experience to let customers virtually try on makeup products from home.
How does augmented reality work? This technology is different from virtual reality in that it combines the real world environment with graphics, sound or other elements. Augmented reality experiences require the camera function of a phone or tablet; the camera shows the environment that will serve as the setting for the experience. This could be an individual’s face, a space in a room or even the outside environment.
Once the environment is selected, the graphic overlays will appear in the selected space. The individual can see their face suddenly swiped with blush or they might see their walls suddenly and virtually painted with a color that they have chosen. Of course, the experience is simply effects from graphics. However, these graphics can mirror products, colors and more to enhance the virtual shopping experience.
How can car dealerships use 360 degree photos for an augmented reality experience? These photos can be used to create a virtual showroom experience for car shoppers. The user selects the space where they wish to preview the vehicle, and they can drop in a 3D image of the car model of their choice.
The experience can be individualized for every dealership. Some augmented reality experiences allow users to see the vehicle in different paint colors. They might be able to see inside the vehicle, too, and explore the interior (much like a panorama image).
Other augmented reality car preview experiences can be more basic. Some simply allow users to place the car in a selected space and walk around the image using their camera to guide them.
For dealerships interested in creating augmented reality experiences, promoting the availability of the technology is crucial to gaining traffic to the site (and the experience). Alert customers via social media accounts and on the dealership’s website that the new feature will be ‘coming soon.’
To build excitement, think about a countdown ticker to track the days until experience drops on the site. When the experience is live, be sure to be clear about what vehicles are included. If customers need to download an app, make sure they know where they can find the app; is it available via the App Store, Google Play or both?
How consumers buy a car has transformed through the years and the pandemic exacerbated the evolution of the process, too. In the past, consumers visited the dealership to explore vehicles and make their purchase.
Now online car buying is a reality. Some car companies sell cars only via online transactions. Dealerships could offer some online options for the purchase process, while others might still favor in-person sales.
Consumers are utilizing the internet to research their vehicle options. Dealerships can edge out their competition by providing as many resources online for buyers as possible. Spin images and animated images don’t just capture the attention of shoppers, these images help buyers explore the design and features of cars from home. Spin images enable buyers to interact with a 3D depiction of the vehicle to see it from any angle and even explore the interior. Use these interactive images to boost interest on the website, create excitement for new vehicles and aid buyers in their search for the perfect vehicle.