In today’s world, your first interaction with a customer is them viewing a picture of your vehicle online. This is your first impression. It determines the perceived value of the vehicle, your dealership and if they will visit. It’s a competition that you must win, and quality pictures are vital.
Most dealers realize the importance of quality pictures, but many try half-hearted efforts in an attempt to meet this goal. Less than perfect results can create more harm than good. Let’s consider some of the most common, feeble attempts at this process and how to fix them.
Some dealers incorporate a service that Photoshops the background and replaces it with any picture of your choice. The dealer’s perceived value is to gain a consistent look of all vehicles on your site. However, you also illustrated three facts to your visitor:
1. The picture is recognized as digitally changed, which may lead to concerns that other aspects were changed;
2. The picture of the vehicle does not match its surroundings. Real photos include shadows and reflections of the surroundings. When a background is changed, it looks out of place and displays an unnatural result;
3. The visitor still is viewing a poor-quality photo that has been digitally hacked. It would be better to display a non-changed result to maintain visitor confidence.
The picture quality of the vehicle is the goal, if you’re looking for consistency, consider a staging area for vehicle photos. It may be a little more work, but the positive results will far outweigh the time spent on this effort.
Spinning a vehicle to enable the visitor to interact with picture views from all sides can be a great presentation provided, the picture quality of the vehicle is good and the spin is smooth. If the turns are bouncy and the environment changes from picture to picture, it simply serves as a method to make your visitors dizzy.
Consider installing a studio with a controlled environment inside your facility that includes a carousel, lighting, cameras and services that create a professional 360-degree spin.
A photo booth seems like a simple project anyone could put together — hang up a few lights, build a wall or hang curtains for a background and you’re done, right? Beware, this method can give a bad impression of the vehicle, and the lack of professionalism could be viewed as a representation of the dealership’s operations. There’s a lot more involved to produce controlled lighting and reflectivity of the surroundings to create a quality picture.
The saying “you can put lipstick on a pig, but it’s still a pig” rings true when you incorporate shortcuts by placing a background, spin or put a vehicle in a mediocre setting — “it’s still a poor quality picture.” The quality of the picture must be the primary goal.
When professional quality photos are presented, they will deliver incredibly productive results; if done halfway, it would be better to do nothing. Make the investment into creating a quality picture with a professional studio that will represent your dealership and your vehicles as the best. After all, it is your first impression.