By Pete Batten
Imagine a customer walks into your dealership showroom and there are no units on display. Do you think that customer will still make a purchase? Probably not. So, what about your online showroom?
Today most consumers begin the shopping process on the internet, browsing images of units before they ever visit the dealership, which is why it’s so important to include unit photos alongside your inventory listings. Optimizing your online showroom increases online engagement and conversions, ultimately boosting your ROI.
Upon visiting a product page, 56% of online users immediately begin interacting with the images. Dealer Spike dealers have experienced a 17% higher conversion rate on listings of major units that include at least one image. Posting nine or more images increases the conversion rate to 62% over listings with two or fewer images.
When posting images of your inventory, use custom photos as much as possible. Major units with multiple custom photos generate more interest than generic stock photos. Custom photos build your dealership’s credibility with online browsers because they prove that your inventory is real and is on the lot. It is always better to display authentic unit images, even if you only have time to take one real photo (remember, even a single image can increase conversions by 17%).
High-quality inventory images attract more online engagement by providing a transparent and trustworthy browsing experience. Customers feel confident they are viewing a realistic depiction of the unit, which builds interest in the unit itself. Many dealers assume that in order to get a decent photo they need to photograph the staged unit against an all-white background. However, you don’t need to stage your unit, considering the photo’s purpose is to prove the unit is real. Statistically, staging a unit has little to no effect on sales. In fact, customers say that staged units often look fake or raise suspicion that the dealer is trying to hide imperfections. Taking multiple photos from different angles under good lighting is enough to provide an optimal browsing experience for customers.
You can go a step further in optimizing your digital showroom by replacing static photos with 360-degree images, created with walkaround video tools. A 360-degree walkaround of a unit provides online shoppers with the experience of visiting your showroom, but from the comfort of their homes. As a matter of fact, 56% of online shoppers reported that they could be convinced to make a purchase after viewing a 360-degree walkaround of a product without ever seeing it in person.
Custom unit images significantly increase the appeal of your inventory for customers who browse—and purchase—online. By attaching authentic images of your units alongside your online listings, you are allowing potential customers to see what is currently on your lot before they even visit your dealership. Most consumers will browse multiple listings before looking at a unit in person, and custom images play a critical role in driving more leads to your online showroom—and then your dealership.
Pete Batten is the chief product officer at Dealer Spike.