How Dealerships Can Use Car Stock Images for Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality Experiences


Shopping for a new or used vehicle has transformed into an online virtual experience for the buyer. Before venturing into a car dealership, many car buyers research their car online. Cox Automotive’s Car Buyer Journey Study: Pandemic Edition revealed that buyers spent more than seven hours researching and shopping online, and the last site they visit is typically the dealership’s website.

For car dealerships, being the final destination for online browsing might lead them to focus on ‘wow’ resources. These tools can include interactive technologies like augmented reality that let buyers explore vehicles in an immersive environment. Car stock images can be used to create both augmented reality and virtual reality experiences; here’s how to choose the best images to improve user experience when offering these experiences.

Virtual Reality: Use Car Stock Images to Engage and Explore

For virtual reality experiences, dealerships might create an environment that is designed like a showroom. A virtual showroom experience can simulate the in-person shopping experience. Car shoppers will feel like they are at the dealership without leaving their home.

When creating a virtual reality showroom, car dealerships might wonder about the imagery to use. Think about how a visitor or buyer interacts with vehicles in the physical location. Traditionally, the buyer can walk around the vehicle, open the doors and look inside.

Buyers often sit inside the vehicle and explore the interior. Maybe they adjust the seats and the mirrors to get a better feel for the vehicle. While a virtual experience cannot let the user physically sit in a vehicle, the virtual showroom can simulate a walk around experience. Users also could look inside the interior, too.

To create the most realistic experience, dealerships can use these car stock images:

  • 360 spin photos
  • 360 interior panorama

Spin Photos Create Interactive Experiences

Both 360 spin photos and 360 interior panorama photos are 3D car stock images that can be used to create an immersive virtual reality showroom experience. Exterior spin photos can be rotated around completely; this makes them ideal to use in virtual reality.

Drop exterior spin photos to simulate the walk around experience of a traditional showroom. When users don their virtual reality headsets, they will step into the dealership’s virtual showroom and see the 3D car image in this space.

In addition, the dealership also could integrate 360 interior panorama photos. Let the user step inside the vehicle and look around, explore the backseat or look up at the sunroof.

Dealerships can work with their programmer or marketing professional to integrate these images to create different showroom options for users. Dealerships could let customers explore numerous models in virtual reality or just choose a few newer models.

Car Stock Images

Augmented Reality: The Most Accessible Immersive Platform

Virtual reality experiences typically require the user to have access to a virtual reality headset; these can be expensive. The least expensive option to use for virtual reality is Google Cardboard; however, not all virtual reality experiences are compatible with Cardboard.

Augmented reality, though, is a more accessible immersive platform. Users can explore augmented reality via a smartphone or a tablet. This technology is growing quickly. In fact, Statista reports that “…by 2024 there will be an estimated 1.7 billion mobile augmented reality (AR) users worldwide….”

One of the downsides of virtual reality is that the technology could cause some people to feel sick. This is due to the battle between the senses; the brain senses movement but the body isn’t moving.

Augmented reality doesn’t cause this type of sickness. While users of virtual reality are seemingly transported to another realm, augmented reality appears within the real environment. Using a camera on a phone or tablet, the user captures their environment; when augmented reality platforms are accessed, they display 3D imagery within this camera-captured backdrop.

Augmented reality combines the real world with the virtual realm. Dealerships can create augmented reality showrooms or preview experiences that let shoppers explore vehicles at home or anywhere. Augmented reality lets cars appear in the backyard, the garage or wherever the user drops them.

What images are best for augmented reality experiences? Again, dealerships will want to focus on 3D interactive imagery. While virtual reality and augmented reality are experienced in different ways, 3D imagery is essential to ensuring that these experiences feel true to life and not simply static and flat.

Some dealerships use panorama interior photos via augmented reality to provide more meaningful tools for the consumer. Many want to see the space in the backseat or get more information about other interior features.

However, 3D exterior images are the best choice for augmented reality. These images let users enjoy a unique at-home walk around experience.

Car Stock Images

Other Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality Tips for Dealerships

While certain 3D images work best for augmented reality and virtual reality experiences, dealerships that are launching virtual reality resources for buyers also need to think about the background or backdrop of their virtual realm.

Does the dealership want to photograph their actual showroom and use this as the backdrop? While this would be the most on-brand option, dealerships also could get creative. They might let shoppers select from a variety of virtual reality experiences or locations.

Maybe the dealership wants to highlight a convertible on the beach. Perhaps a rugged mountainous terrain makes the best choice and most compelling backdrop for a massive pickup truck. However, the dealership also doesn’t want to forget about branding.

While unique virtual reality backdrops could add a sense of adventure to the shopping experience, dealerships also want to stay focused on the brand message. If the backdrop is a beach, find a way to put the dealership logo in the sand or on signage. Get creative, but make sure the user remembers the dealership within the experience.

Car Stock Images

EVOX Images is Compatible with Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality

Dealerships that want the best car stock images for their virtual reality and/or augmented reality experiences can use 3D 360 degree exterior and interior photos from EVOX Images. Thousands of makes/models are available in the online car photo library, and EVOX Images is always adding new models.

These 3D spin photos and other images from EVOX Images are compatible with augmented reality and virtual reality experiences. Add unique photo slideshows or even include an experience that lets the user preview base model features of a model they love.

EVOX Images also offers custom photo services. Dealerships that have a unique model that cannot be captured via stock imagery can schedule a photo shoot to create unique digital content and imagery designed specifically for virtual and augmented reality experiences.

While most dealerships include extensive photo slideshows of vehicles, augmented reality and virtual reality might be the future. If the car dealership’s site hopes to be the shopper’s final destination for researching vehicles, make the experience memorable.

Immersive experiences using augmented reality and virtual reality technology can simulate the brick-and-mortar shopping experience to provide shoppers with an interactive and high-tech solution for exploring their favorite vehicle options. Make a visitor’s last internet stop impactful, engaging and even entertaining.

Embrace the future of technology and create a virtual reality or augmented reality showroom online today and use EVOX Images to propel the dealership into the high-tech future.

EVOX Images leads the industry in automotive imaging and offers the largest library of virtual reality and augmented reality assets available for commercial use. Contact our team or call us at 310-605-1400 to learn more about our innovative imaging solutions.