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Show Customers Your Full Inventory on a Whim with a Quadcopter and GoPro Camera

 It may sound funny, but a remote-control toy could mean the difference between showing 10% of your inventory, and showing your entire inventory - any time you want.

Too Many Cars Left Unseen

The front of a dealership is the side that potential customers see, but the average lot might only have room for roughly two dozen cars in that space. The back lot, on the other hand, often has upwards of 200 vehicles, all ready and waiting to be shown. The question then becomes, just how do you show that to potential buyers?

When a customer is physically visiting, it's easy enough to offer them a look any vehicles you may have parked back there - it's a non-issue if they've already made the trip to see you. No such offer can be made during a 30-second commercial, though. If they see lines of cars, they could easily think they're housed elsewhere, that those cars would have to be delivered just to be test-driven, or that it's stock footage of some other line of cars at some other lot. You can't blame them for the skepticism - all they see is what's out front when they drive by!

Attempting to show the scope of a full inventory isn't easy - and hiring a helicopter to fly overhead once a quarter is simply cost-prohibitive. This is where a new "toy" called the Quadcopter comes into play - because it goes from a plaything to a useful advertising tool the second you mount a camera to its belly.

Freedom to Film

Loaded with a small camera, like a GoPro, a quadcopter can be flown by anyone, at any time, with little more than a couple of hours practice and a few AA batteries. Initial cost of the setup is comparatively cheap - at around $1,000 for the copter and camera, this one-time investment trumps repeated rentals of a boom lift or the absurdly expensive chartering of a full-size helicopter.

To get an idea of how this looks in action, have a look at this short video clip. This was filmed over Harbor Hyundai in Long Beach, CA. a DJI Phantom quadcopter was used, with a GoPro camera mounted underneath on a gimble. This short clip shows just how much inventory can be shown, but the copter could easily have been flown nearer to ground-level, and shot video there instead (like the picture above).

But the uses for a quadcopter don't end at full-inventory shots. These little vehicles can hover just a few feet off the ground, or 60 feet in the air - they're even small enough to slowly "walk" through a row of cars, at eye-level, if your piloting skills are up to par.

What it comes down to is "what's everyone else doing?" If you're showing views of your entire inventory, then swooping down to show individual models up close, zipping from car to car - all in one continuous little show - well that's certainly different. The other guys aren't doing that.

Views: 303

Tags: filming, flying, photography, quadcopter


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Comment by Erika Kay Simms on February 19, 2014 at 7:22am

Wow These are some amazing shots! 

Comment by Louie Baur on February 15, 2014 at 7:02pm

I am glad you like it Cecil.

Comment by Louie Baur on February 15, 2014 at 9:51am

Thanks Matt!

Comment by Cecil Helton on February 15, 2014 at 9:46am

Great differentiator and well ahead of the curve. Absolutely love this!

Comment by Matthew Rogers on February 15, 2014 at 9:43am

Very cool idea, Louie. I've definitely never seen a dealership do anything like it, it'd definitely be a fun change!

Comment by Louie Baur on February 15, 2014 at 9:35am

Hey Tom, I would spend the money and do it properly. Once you learn how to fly and use the DJI Phantom you will be able to use it over and over again:)

Comment by Big Tom LaPointe on February 12, 2014 at 9:14pm

cool. was looking at going lo-tech with a medium helo and HD ipod...

Comment by Louie Baur on February 11, 2014 at 8:19pm

Totally Arlene!

Comment by Arlene Peña on February 11, 2014 at 7:20pm

Every time I read this post, I become even more gaga with the GoPro! If my driving is any indication, the home base feature is definitely going to come in handy! 

Comment by Louie Baur on February 10, 2014 at 8:53am

Thanks Alex. I am trying to take the things that I learned in the skateboarding industry over to Automotive:)

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