Automotive Marketing Professional Community for Car Dealers, OEM and Suppliers
I wanted to get some feedback from the ADM community on this statistic. Is this normal? If not, what should be the rolling number?
I also wanted to see if anyone had a report or statistic on the impact of live photos on used cars vs stock photos on VDP views and engagement.
I found a statistic provided by Autotrader on the impact on adding new car photos to VDP's but not the specific question on used car stock vs used car real.
Any help would be appreciated.
Brian Pasch, CEO
A number of things could be at play here... It certainly could be that their internal process OR outside company isn't efficient enough to photograph their vehicles timely. However, since that is easily fixable by finding a good company who will work with a dealer to service as frequently as needed or refining internal processes... I'll have to assume this is a matter of vehicles listed for sale on the website before they are actually on-site or in a state to be photographed. I have had experience with one of the nation's largest dealer groups where 20-30% of their vehicles were either in a state of transit (auction, internal trade), body shop, service or bullpen where they weren't yet in a state were they would be ... let's just say "photogenic"
In my experience in the dealer side and with Autotrader.com, the average dealer is much closer to 10% or less of their inventory missing used vehicle photos. A lot of dealers with Autotrader are at only 1-2% missing, these are dealers whose process requires all recon complete before photos are taken, or who detail and photo before the rest of recon takes place. The dealers who have near 30% missing generally fall into one of two categories. 1. They are poor merchandisers. 2. They have a policy of getting every vehicle listed online as fast as possible and they get actual photos up when they can. I agree with Glen that many of the vehicles may be in the recon process still, but the dealer at least wants the basic info out there to get some interest versus none.
If a dealer chooses to merchandise vehicle prior to them being retail ready, which I think I would do for the reason Matt states (creating some interest to improve turn rate rather than none), I would definitely add a stamp or vehicle description that said "Just traded" or "Too new for photo - check back soon" or even "Photo coming soon"...
We used to use Dealer Specialties and they did a wonderful job for us. About 2 years ago we brought it in house. We have a college right up the road and we hired a student part time to take and post pictures to our inventory management tool. Our used cars are pretty much posted the day they come out of service. If I had to put a number on it I would say it is Ivory soap, 99.9% of our used cars have at least 25 pictures or more. The #'s you are talking about Brian are more like our new cars. We probably have "live" photos. It is said that from a consumers point of view this is one of the most important things they look for so we need to give it to them. As Glen states...if a vehicle is "unavailable" or generally not "ready for it's close up Mr. Demille" then, yes put it up with a stock photo but I would add a "tile" such as Hold this car with a small deposit before it even arrives. Now if you want to do this even cheaper then consider an intern. If you are not sure how to go about getting an intern then click here.
Not really normal... But it depends how their DMS feeds to their data provider and whether or not the dealer chooses to send the data to 3rd party sites with or without a photo. Most data providers could hold the data they send if you set a rule in place (no photo or price set). Some dealers choose (or just don't know) to send their data as soon as it enters the DMS. These cars could be entered as soon as they are purchased at auction, in transit or traded in but not yet "ready" to be photographed. If this dealer group chooses to do it this way, they will have a higher "no photo" percentage but the advantage is that their cars will go out to the 3rd party sites faster and most of the time with an acceptable stock photo.
In my experience auditing 600+ sites per month over a 3-yr period, this is the Auto Industry and the norm. Review 100-random Dealer websites and you'll be lucky to find 10 that are @100% of all (NEW/USED) inventory. The most successful Dealer's (based on unit sales) have a process that strives to get cars online the day it hits the lot. Tools available today will allow photos to be shot at Auction and instantly uploaded to websites. Many Dealer's struggle with the reality that more people will visit your "digital lot" in a day, than will visit your "physical lot" in a week. The process described is equivalent to wasting almost 1/3 of all online "UPs" Website visitors don't click-through on Stock Photos, Coming Soon, In Detail, Just Arrived. All this means to a website visitor is you wasted my time, failed to provide the content I need, and I am going to shop. Your competitors website and 3rd party classified sites that include content to enhance click-throughs the fastest wins (exact year, make, model, trim) by virtue of "speed to market". The best process includes 24+ photos, great descriptions, and good call-to-action. In-House vs 3rd party data-collection is far more effective given that even the least visited auto dealer sites will get 70 to 100 online UPs/day. Why would anyone tasked with selling cars (quickly) have a process that is by design inefficient and wasting precious online opportunities?
Just to add a UK perspective. I reviewed from a customer perspetive the vehicles on a manufacturers web site for 26 manufacturers to establish what our KPI should be. The % without a photo was strongly correlated with manufacturers that had a strong certified pre owned programme where the vehicles were sourced through the manufacturer.
Dealers cited the cause of that manufacturers uploaded purchases CPO vehicles to the manufacturer main used vehicle locator which was visible on the manufacturer web site. The vehicle may take up to 2 weeks to arrive at the dealer site and hence had no photography, then add a few days for recon and it could easily be 3 weeks before the car is photographed (or re-priced). In these cases whether mainstream or premium the average % without a photo on a 250 car sample was between 32% and 37%. Some of these manufacturers tried to get round of this using library photos of a same colour same spec vehicle - but this become obvious to the trained eye as you notice the same location background for different dealers, and that these cars only have 1 photo - for one brand this was 37% of the stock on line.
In short the more vehicles sourced from the manufacturer in virtual auctions the greater the % with no photo seems to be the case. Interestingly although many manufacturer systems allow up to 9 photos of a car to be uploaded to the manufacturer used vehicle locator, 80% of vehicles in a 250 sample of had 6 or less photos - even though more photos creates stronger leads. Dealers cite time and effort the main causes.