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Time is Money: Automating Vehicle Photos

Great pictures have always delivered faster turn rates and enhanced values. In today’s competitive market, having quality pictures online has never been more important to dealerships. A customer will never make it to your beautiful store to see your multimillion-dollar investment unless your pictures stand out from other stores.

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President of Dealermade

Great pictures have always delivered faster turn rates and enhanced values. In today’s competitive market, having quality pictures online has never been more important to dealerships. A customer will never make it to your beautiful store to see your multimillion-dollar investment unless your pictures stand out from other stores. 

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Consider when you’re looking to stay at a resort or hotel. How much attention do you pay to the places with unprofessional photos or fewer than 50? You want to see several pictures of the room, the bathroom, the view, the beach, the pool, the restaurant and more. Would you even consider spending $1,000 or $5,000 on a week in a place with less? Why would you expect a car shopper to spend $20,000-$60,000 and up on a vehicle represented in the same underwhelming fashion? 

This is bringing many dealers to compare the standard picture process with an automated media production process in a studio operation. This process produces in excess of 100 quality high-definition photos, 360-degree spins, interior panorama, ultra-zoom inspections, video and more that display online as soon as the vehicle leaves the studio.

Let’s compare the ROI of the standard picture option and the dealership studio option. The first number to determine is carry or hold cost. This would be all your expenses less selling expenses divided by units in stock.

The industry averages are $29 to $44 per day so let’s use a daily carry cost of $36 x 24 selling days = $869 as a monthly cost in our calculations.

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DOL – Days on lot before pictured

Every day a vehicle is not pictured costs money — basically it has lost sales days. Each DOL reduction allows you to increase profits by $36 per day x inventory of vehicles (ex. 106 units) = $3,816.

Percentage of inventory pictured

Face it, a vehicle is really not for sale until it is pictured online. Every vehicle not pictured is costing you $36 per day. How many vehicles do you have in stock that are not pictured?  An automated studio provides a dependable method to significantly improve percentage of inventories pictured. The additional number of vehicles that will be pictured x $869 = increased profits.

It takes 90 seconds for an automated studio to complete a cycle, and the drive in/out system does not require staging or professional photography personnel to operate the system. Compare this process to your current method to project days saved with an automated process. 

Pictured to display on website timing

The standard process can be time consuming. It includes taking photos; attaching a camera to the computer; editing, aligning and sorting pictures sets; and uploading pictures to the aggregator vendor, which then forwards the media to your website. The results can take an average of one to two days to display from time of taking the picture. 

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An automated studio includes an HD viewer on your website that displays the media immediately after a session is completed, which translates to increasing profits by 100% of this value.  $36 x inventory of vehicles (ex. 106 units) = $3,813

Combine the values above with production of five types of media (360-degree spins, interior panorama, ultra-zoom inspection, YouTube videos and HD pictures), 24/7 operation availability regardless of weather, ease of operation by detailers, porters or other users and you’ve created an incredible ROI when you consider the average cost of an automated studio is $13.20 per session with no start-up cost.

Click here to view more solutions from Brad King and Dealermade.

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