Over the past two decades, the behavior of car buyers has fundamentally changed. While the dealership was once the principal site of car shopping, the rise of the internet has transformed the shopping experience into something that increasingly happens via laptops, phones, and tablets rather than in a showroom.
According to AdTaxi’s 2018 Auto Shopping in America Survey, “roughly 86 percent of shoppers research vehicles online before ever stepping foot onto a dealership.” A more detailed investigation by Cox Automotive reveals that car buyers spend 61 percent of their car research and shopping time online. In comparison, only 21 percent of their time is spent in the dealership where they ultimately make their purchase. In this new automotive landscape, establishing a compelling web presence is critical and high-quality car pictures are essential to engaging potential customers.
THE VALUE OF HIGH-QUALITY CAR PICTURES IN WEB DESIGN
As car shopping moves out of the showroom and into digital spaces, a car dealership’s website must offer an experience that replaces that showroom in meaningful ways. However, it also opens the door to new possibilities that go beyond the limits of traditional car buying. As Kyle Keogh of Think with Google says, the transition toward online research “presents a huge opportunity for brands and dealers to influence customers before they get to the store.”
High-quality car pictures are the key to building an effective dealership website that captures car shoppers’ attention and ensures it acts as a site of influence. Captivating images woven into a website’s design not only allow dealers to showcase their offerings, but present a sleek, professional image. At a time when a website may be the first point of contact between a customer and a dealer, this is particularly important; the website represents the dealership as a whole and must act as an extension of the real-life showroom, the in-person sales pitch, and the personal connection to a salesperson. As such, every detail of the site design counts—from homepage splash images to landing page banners.
However, the general design is only the first step to creating a powerful website. To truly take advantage of the opportunities of the digital marketplace, dealerships must carefully consider product presentation.
DESIGNING A DIGITAL SHOWROOM
While car pictures can set the stage for how a car buyer sees a dealership, they are also instrumental in marketing specific cars. By creating detailed listings with a full range of images for each vehicle, car shoppers have the opportunity to explore cars in a way that approximates the showroom experience. But it can also improve on it. In digital spaces, dealers are not limited to showing car shoppers what’s available on the lot, but can showcase every vehicle a dealership offers. And with the advent of extended reality technologies, these listings can expand the car shopping experience beyond anything a brick-and-mortar showroom can offer.
To create a digital showroom, image type and quality must be of paramount concern. Offering car shoppers comprehensive views of all vehicles, inside and out, via a variety of image types is essential. Ideally, this includes a complete set of stills from multiple angles, interior panoramas, and exterior spins that allow potential buyers to imagine themselves behind the wheel, picture what a car will look like in their driveway, visualize their color options, and examine the features offered by a particular model. Interactive elements and virtual reality and augmented reality assets can elevate the shopping experience further and allows dealers to harness the latest technology in their marketing efforts. Indeed, extended reality is widely believed to be the future of car shopping, and offering these immersive experiences early can be a smart strategy for engaging car buyers and attracting younger, tech-savvy customers.
However, a digital showroom isn’t designed solely to showcase each car in isolation. Rather, it must act as a cohesive whole. This means that all vehicles must be presented in the same way, in the same lighting conditions, and from the same angles. In doing so, the website not only becomes more visually appealing, it also becomes more useful; it allows car shoppers to easily compare vehicles and more thoughtfully consider their options.
COMPLETE IMAGE SOLUTIONS FOR DEALERSHIPS
Today, marketing cars online is more than just a simple listing. To stand out from competitors and third-party websites, car dealerships must offer more. A professional website that takes full advantage of the latest technological developments to offer in-depth overviews and unique interactive experiences is becoming a must-have in the eyes of customers. Additionally, image assets must be consistent across multiple devices and platforms and optimized for each application without sacrificing image quality,
By working with an agency that specializes in automotive stock photography, dealers can develop a complete image solution designed for today’s evolving market. With access to a full range of high-quality car pictures and other automotive image assets, creating a powerful, functional, and beautiful dealership website that connects with customers is within reach.