Standing apart from the competition can keep dealerships in the minds of consumers. As many car buyers begin their research for a new car online, the content and resources on dealership websites is more important than ever.
Consumers want to see the dealership’s inventory, but they might not want to visit the physical location in the early stages of their research. The photographs on the dealership site might be the customer’s main tools for understanding a vehicle’s features and design style. Yet, not all photos engage the visitor.
Professional car photography showcases a more professional aesthetic when compared to DIY photos of the inventory taken by a dealership team member. However, custom car showroom photography markets the dealership with a unique twist, and these exclusive photos could imprint a lasting impression on the consumer.
The Online Consumer Journey
In the past, car shopping included dealership visits, where consumers strolled through the lots, looking at different models and eyeballing the sticker prices. Shopping was a physical act.
Today, though, shopping is digitized. Consumers now consult websites like Kelley Blue Book for pricing information. They can visit Consumer Reports to find data related to vehicle reliability or visit the online hub for the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety to better understand and research the safety ratings of a model. IIHS offers an easy online search tool for buyers to look up the safety ratings by typing in a make/model.
The dealership visits might now be reserved for the final details of the shopping experience, like applying for financing and requesting a test drive of top choices. When consumers step onto the dealership lot, they may already have a good idea about the car they want. They may even have financing lined up for that car.
Cox Automotive’s Car Buyers Journey Study Pandemic Edition revealed that in 2020 car buyers spent a little more than seven hours researching and shopping online. Very few buyers began their research by visiting a dealership website; in fact, the study revealed that only 17 percent of buyers visited dealership websites as their first online resource.
Interestingly, though, buyers tended to conclude their online research at the dealership sites. The study noted that 33 percent of buyers surveyed ended their online journey at dealership websites. For dealerships, the takeaway may be that their site is the final stop, and leaving a positive lasting impression might be even more important.
The Importance of Professional Stock Photos for the Car Buyer
If the dealership site is the final online destination for many buyers, dealerships may want to focus on creating their site as a hub of information about their inventory, deals and offers. Some buyers might visit dealership sites to help them make a final decision. Yet, if the dealership site doesn’t offer many photos or much data on the inventory, how long will that site visitor stay on the pages?
Car showroom photography allows dealerships to create a virtual showroom environment for online shoppers. With professional stock photos, dealerships can showcase the interior and exterior details of any model.
EVOX Images offers dealerships 360 spin images that allow consumers to interact with the vehicle photo. With spin images, the photo can be rotated to view the car from any angle using a mouse or just a fingertip.
Panorama interior photos offer another unique interactive experience to heighten the online user experience. These photos put the shopper in the driver’s seat, and the image can be rotated 360 degrees to view the entire interior of the vehicle. It feels like the user is sitting in the front seat looking around the car.
Slideshows also offer interactive and immersive experiences for dealership site visitors who are exploring the inventory. These photos are the standard click and scroll, however images provided by EVOX Images offer up close glimpses at specific features of the car to give shoppers a complete visual understanding of the vehicle.
How Custom Car Photos Differentiate the Dealership
While all these photographic offerings add immersive content and encourage user engagement on the dealership site, dealerships might want more personalized content that showcases their voice and their brand via images. This is how custom photos can help differentiate the dealership.
EVOX Images offers a standard library of spin photos, interior panorama photos, full stills, and even photography on base trims.
Custom photography allows the dealership to have specific vehicles photographed to their preference. These photos could include the owner of the dealership or other branded content. Custom photography gives the dealership a lead role in determining the message of the imagery.
Dealerships can get unique and think creatively when customizing their photo shoots. The benefit of these images is that they are distinct to the particular dealership. A custom photo could be the lead image—or hero image—on the dealership’s home page, or dealerships could focus this custom imagery as a means to highlight specific cars.
For dealerships that might have a unique vehicle in their inventory, custom photos could be the ideal way to photograph it. Standard car stock photos are perfect for rolling out new models in the lineup, but cars that are older or ‘classic’ have a personality all their own.
Classic cars, unique cars or perhaps even high-end luxury cars can enjoy a photographic spotlight. Custom images can be used to highlight these vehicles in precise detail. Create a custom slideshow for the vehicle or include a custom spin shot or an interior panorama photograph.
Custom photos could be used by the dealership for branding purposes, as well. Perhaps a classic car on the lot is photographed in front of the dealership with the dealer’s signage visible.
Custom photos can and should be uniquely memorable to be most effective. If the dealership owner is well known in an area or often is featured in advertising, then it would be an on-brand choice to include the owner in a custom photo for a lead image.
If the dealership is highlighting a classic or high-end automobile, create a custom photo shoot that exudes elegance. Add an element of decadence to the photo. Set the mood.
Dealerships might each have their own vision for how they choose to market their brand and their inventory online. Imagery on the site, though, shouldn’t be downplayed. Consumers want to see the vehicles and perhaps even explore them online.
Offering more tools and resources to their visitors could help dealerships encourage site engagement and keep visitors on the site for a longer period of time. Using a variety of photo offerings can add immersive and exploratory features to the site; integrate spin photos and panorama photos to give visitors ways to really understand a vehicle.
Custom photos can be used to make the site even more memorable. Dealerships have the opportunity to create unique imagery that highlights their brand and helps differentiate their website from the competition.
Dealerships can work with the team at EVOX Images to plan a custom photoshoot that elevates their brand and creates lasting impressions on their website.