Bring Your Vehicles to Life With Vehicle Photo Merchandising Standards

Bring Your Vehicles to Life With Vehicle Photo Merchandising Standards
Posted October 24, 2019 by Erich Gail

IMAGE-IN the Possibilities

Captivate our future-buyer’s emotion with inspiring images

IMAGINATION ( noun ):

  • the faculty or action of forming new ideas, or images or concepts of external objects not present to the senses.
  • the ability of the mind to be creative or resourceful.
  • the part of the mind that imagines things.

For month’s you have searched, planned, hoped and dreamed for a vehicle that will someday soon be yours. The thoughts and visions of you driving this vehicle create exciting emotions in your heart and mind. You have a story and a dream in your mind, and with every passing day it becomes closer to a reality for you. As you search through countless vehicles, which one will it be? Which one will capture your attention? Which one knows your story and the dream you want to come true?

Take a moment and think about what this experience was like for you when you searched for your vehicle. It’s a very exciting moment in our lives and one we are blessed with in our profession to share in and serve to our buyers, guests and customers.

Our dreams and desires for this new vehicle are fueled by our imagination.

Our imagination creates images and unlocks emotions in our minds – if only we could see a live image that connects our imagination to reality? WE CAN!

As dealers, we have the ability to bring to life our vehicles, to photo/video image and merchandise them with the imagination of our buyer’s in-mind.

Product promotion, descriptions, content, features, benefits, capabilities, value, price, warranty, reviews, the list goes on – each are of incredible value, all can be enhanced with images (photo/video merchandising of our vehicles ).

As buyers and consumers in our daily lives, we have all experienced the science of ‘Good-Better-Best’ in marketing and product promotion:

  • Which one caught my eye?
  • Does it look better, does it feel better, is it higher quality, etc. than the other choices I have seen?

Angles, brand logos, trust-marks, color, shape and lighting – all of these factors align to form the opinion that we have and stimulate our imagination: “Is this the one?”

As dealers, we are marketers. We market the products we provide and sell, we hold the responsibility to stimulate our buyer’s imagination: is this the car? Is this the dealership?

With this responsibility we hold in our retail dealerships, and specifically within our automotive group, we have studied the science of vehicle photo merchandising as ell as video for years. Which images? In which order? At what angle? And why?

As a group, we are ‘Blessed to Serve’ our associates, our buyers, our guests and our customers – we are also, ‘Blessed to Share’ with our fellow-dealer’s the best-practices we have found and utilize in our operations.

Please find the insights below and points-of-note for your photo/video ( IMAGE-ination ) merchandising:

Begin with a view of your current vehicle photo/video images of new and pre-owned vehicles on your website.

  • Would you find the image(s) inspiring?
  • Do you connect with the story your image is trying to tell?
  • Are your images consistent?
  • Do they all angle in the same direction?
  • Are there the same number of images for each vehicle?
  • Does the image order provide exterior, interior, features, benefits, etc.?
  • Do you have video of your vehicles?
  • Do you offer video in Spanish? ( or other languages? )

If you have found that you have areas above which do not connect with you as the dealer ( the marketer ) of your vehicles, then ask yourself – do they connect with your in-market buyers?

As we accept the responsibility to inspire our in-market buyers, do we need to enhance our photo/video ( IMAGE-ination ) merchandising? If so, where do we start?

Then ask yourself this question: Did we ( did I ) look at our images on our websites at all or nearly enough? If this applies, then create accountability measures:

Empower a leader within your management team to ‘own’ this responsibility.

  • We ( I ) would like to review our on-line vehicle photo merchandising each week
    • Complete a five minute spot-check of the Search Results Pages ( SRPs ) with a random audit of three new vehicles and three pre-owned Vehicles Details Pages ( VDPs )
  • Have them ask themselves the same list of questions from above:
    • Would you find the image(s) inspiring?
    • Do you connect with the story your images are trying to tell?
    • Are your images consistent?
    • Do they all angle in the same direction?
    • Are there the same number of images for each vehicle?
    • Does the image order provide exterior, interior, features, benefits, etc.?
    • Do you have video of your vehicles? ( new vehicles ‘and’ pre-owned vehicles )
    • Do you offer video in Spanish? ( or other languages? )
Download Vehicle Photo Merchandising Standards
Download Vehicle Merchandising Standards Here

Once you have placed this commitment into effect, now you will need to develop a process and determine standards which are consistent for each and every new and pre-owned vehicle you have in your inventory.

In our operation, we have developed ‘our standard’ and we look it over each and every week – please note: in looking this over every week you will find ( as we have found ) there are vehicles which do not rise to the needed standards. Even the best organizations need consistent quality checks and reviews.

Our standards represent the one and only way we use vehicle photo merchandising for our new and pre-owned vehicles:

 

  • The specific angle is required to ensure our vehicle direction on our VDP pages points directly to our Calls-to-Action ( CTAs ): Phone, Form Fill and Price.
  • We utilize a ‘Watermark’ with our Trust Mark as well as the brand name + website URL to ensure we implant the image and brand recognition with our buyer’s. This is especially important when our vehicle inventory and images are shared on external websites other than our own ( Classified Listings, etc. ) as well as for our marketing efforts outside of our direct websites.

Once you have these standards in-place:

  • Provide the copies of this listing and order of images to your photo/video ( IMAGE-ination ) merchandising team.
  • Allow them a 30-day period to re-merchandise the photos of every new and pre-owned vehicle in your inventory.
  • Your weekly review with your accountable leader of photo/video ( IMAGE-ination ) merchandising should be completed in less than 5 minutes.

Start by checking if your SRP pages are in alignment? ( You can see it with one scroll of your screen on either a desktop, tablet or mobile device ).  Remember – you are evaluating new and pre-owned vehicles.For example:

NEW VEHICLES:

 

PRE-OWNED VEHICLES:

Used Vehicles Photo Merchandising Standards

Then continue with an audit of your VDP pages:

  • Do we have Video of our vehicles?
  • Do we offer video in Spanish? ( or other languages? )

For example:

NEW VEHICLES:

New Vehicle Photo Merchandising

 

PRE-OWNED VEHICLES:

Used Vehicles VDP Merchandising

You are now on your way to a developed and scalable process.

You have a consistent photo/video ( IMAGE-ination ) merchandising standard from which to inspire our in-market buyers, enhance your vehicle marketing efforts and increase the direct-actions of phone calls, form fills and chat conversations.

IMAGE-IN the possibilities!

Thank you all – we send to you and your teams our very best.