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if pictures sell cars, then why not NEW cars?

joe.pistell

Uncle Joe
Apr 7, 2009
4,052
1,563
First Name
Joe
Do you take pictures of your NEW cars?

I did an informal survey of 13 dealers* and found:
  • Used Photos: 75% of dealers have 60 to 95% of their used inventory photographed.
  • New Photos: 65% of dealers have 0 to 10% of their new inventory photographed

Does your store take NEW car pics? I'd like to know why you do, or why you don't.


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Rdpatrick

Boss
Oct 6, 2012
61
18
Awards
1
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Ricky
Does your store take NEW car pics? I'd like to know why you do, or why you don't.
Yes, I do outside photos only because usually that suffices and looks way better than a stock photo. The reason we started doing it is for the same reason you mentioned...none of our competitors shoot photos of their new cars so I think it makes our inventory stand out on vehicle search pages.
 
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craigh

Super Moderator
May 19, 2011
1,702
1,175
First Name
Craig
One of our stores does it, the rest can't seem to find the time.
The store that does it noted a few things:
  1. Competitors weren't doing it, so it differentiated them
  2. Actual photos meant the consumer knows you have that vehicle on the lot, not "on order" or any other status
  3. The photos look much better and are often a better representation of colour, packages, etc.
Some downsides I've noticed personally were that new car leads actually dropped a bit (only looked at 90 days comparison before and after). I dug as much as I could before my brain started hurting, but it looked like it was reducing leads on questions like, "Does this vehicle have navigation", "Does the vehicle have fog lights", etc. I haven't had a chance to go back and run the numbers again, but they've been doing new inventory photos for over 18 months now.

http://www.oakridgeford.com/inventory/new
vs
http://www.conceptford.com/inventory/new
 

Alex Snyder

President Skroob
May 1, 2006
2,979
1,724
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Alex
Some downsides I've noticed personally were that new car leads actually dropped a bit (only looked at 90 days comparison before and after). I dug as much as I could before my brain started hurting, but it looked like it was reducing leads on questions like, "Does this vehicle have navigation", "Does the vehicle have fog lights", etc. I haven't had a chance to go back and run the numbers again, but they've been doing new inventory photos for over 18 months now.
Is there a difference in floor traffic? Are in-store negotiations easier? Are more cars being sold?
 

craigh

Super Moderator
May 19, 2011
1,702
1,175
First Name
Craig
Is there a difference in floor traffic? Are in-store negotiations easier? Are more cars being sold?
That's the harder part for me to track, as I'm external to the stores.
On the pre-owned side we have had a system in place to track that and we proved to them that more qualified leads (less crappy ones) actually resulted in more floor traffic and an increase in sales.
Unfortunately, at that same store they hardly track anything on the New Vehicle side. It's approximately 10-15% of their website traffic, but a much higher % of their floor traffic in-store.

I wish I had these answers, but they're keeping me in the dark, aside from their assumptions.
They believe the photos are helping them outsell their competitors and they did go from #3 of 3 in the city to #1. However, that could have been the website change, addition of New Inventory photos, the fact that the other dealers were renovating, etc.
 

Alex Snyder

President Skroob
May 1, 2006
2,979
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Alex
They believe the photos are helping them outsell their competitors and they did go from #3 of 3 in the city to #1. However, that could have been the website change, addition of New Inventory photos, the fact that the other dealers were renovating, etc.
Very rarely is the luxury of "do this exact thing, then money will hit your pocket" definable with the simple point of a finger. There are always varying circumstances at play; not a silver bullet.

However, if I read between the lines of what you're saying I see promise in their photography efforts. They've stuck with it for 18 months! That's a significant long term investment for the car business. We don't do a damn thing for longer than 90 days if we don't see value in it.

So, I would have to say "some downsides" of less leads coming through is actually a sign of a upsides! Leads suck. They're a ton of work, not a lot of customer commitment, and have a much lower closing ratio than floor ups. Give me a floor up! Screw those Internet leads! Build me a website that makes the up bus roll; not the lead train.
 

craigh

Super Moderator
May 19, 2011
1,702
1,175
First Name
Craig
So, I would have to say "some downsides" of less leads coming through is actually a sign of a upsides! Leads suck. They're a ton of work, not a lot of customer commitment, and have a much lower closing ratio than floor ups. Give me a floor up! Screw those Internet leads! Build me a website that makes the up bus roll; not the lead train.
Can you come do a seminar for my clients?! :bow:
I once had a client years ago who asked to get rid of all forms because no one followed up on them. He said every VDP should have a button that says "Contact Us" and it pops up a map and a phone number. No sense in asking for information they won't use. Having mystery shopped hundreds of websites in my short tenure in the industry, I can tell you that far more dealers should consider this strategy if they don't have a proper ILM.

We are going through this with a few dealers now when they move from a "high conversion" platform to our websites.
They come to us because they want a different style of website that bucks the trends, but then they expect me to provide the same # of crappy lead submissions their graphics-and-call-to-action-spammed website provided. The difference isn't huge, but every time I have to go back through their CRM and show them that the leads they were getting before were not resulting in sales or even floor traffic - most of them were questions that we try and solve with the new websites and better photography initiatives. Good photos can answer so, so many questions.

All that said, I don't want to get off topic too much. I am a firm believer in New Vehicle photos, but I know that our higher volume stores on the used side claim their photographer is too busy with those photos and they would need a second photographer in order to do it adequately. (One photographer is paid a full-time salary and shared between 3 stores in Toronto)

Now that AutoTrader up here and other sites are also accepting New Inventory, I think we will start to see an increase in custom photos on new vehicles.
 
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Jeff Kershner

Founder
May 1, 2005
3,778
1,340
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Jeff
Do you take pictures of your NEW cars?

I did an informal survey of 13 dealers* and found:
  • Used Photos: 75% of dealers have 60 to 95% of their used inventory photographed.
  • New Photos: 65% of dealers have 0 to 10% of their new inventory photographed
Does your store take NEW car pics? I'd like to know why you do, or why you don't.
My answer – because it just makes sense.
 
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Jeff Kershner

Founder
May 1, 2005
3,778
1,340
Awards
2
First Name
Jeff
One of our stores does it, the rest can't seem to find the time.
The store that does it noted a few things:
  1. Competitors weren't doing it, so it differentiated them
  2. Actual photos meant the consumer knows you have that vehicle on the lot, not "on order" or any other status
  3. The photos look much better and are often a better representation of colour, packages, etc.
Some downsides I've noticed personally were that new car leads actually dropped a bit (only looked at 90 days comparison before and after). I dug as much as I could before my brain started hurting, but it looked like it was reducing leads on questions like, "Does this vehicle have navigation", "Does the vehicle have fog lights", etc. I haven't had a chance to go back and run the numbers again, but they've been doing new inventory photos for over 18 months now.

http://www.oakridgeford.com/inventory/new
vs
http://www.conceptford.com/inventory/new
Not uncommon to see a decrease in actual form fill leads when you have real photos of your new car inventory. I know of dealerships that stop taking photos of their new cars for this reason alone.

That's when you start asking questions.

1. What was/is your average closing percentage on your new car leads?
2. Do you have a way of tracking or are you currently tracking any increase in new car floor traffic or new car phone inquiries?
3. Did new car sales increase?

Obvious questions BUT many dealers become so lead hungry, they make some really silly decisions based upon lead volume while overlooking the obvious - showroom traffic and sales.

I had a process for new car photos with my dealerships over 10 years ago. When I was on the floor selling Volkswagens (1999), I was outside with my Sony Mavica floppy drive camera taking photos of new Volkswagens for my website - vwrep.com. My only reason for doing so (15 years ago) was to better the overall experience for anyone on my website.

When you provide a better experience, you're rewarded for doing so. The reward isn't always in your face.
 
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