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Anthony Levine

Anthony Levine Manager | Digital Marketing

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Stock Photos vs Actual Photos on VDPs

Many dealership websites opt for the clean, professional look of stock photos.  While this practice might work well for promotional materials, automotive dealers should try to use actual photos on VDPs (Vehicle Description Pages) whenever possible.

Inventory often needs to make it onto a dealership site before there is time for photos to be taken.  In this case, many will choose a stock photo or a "coming soon"-type image rather than no photo at all.  While this might be an acceptable temporary solution, a dealership should always attempt to get actual photos of their merchandise on their website for all VDPs.

The single biggest "selling" factor on the VDP is the initial photo that loads on the page.  If this photo is a stock photo rather than an actual photo, the customer will only have a generic idea of what the vehicle may look like, rather than how it actually looks in terms of color, condition and features.  When photos of the actual vehicle load, it significantly builds trust with shoppers.  The dealership is showing that they have nothing to hide with respect to the vehicle's appearance.  This is an important hurdle to cross, considering that trust is a major issue that dealerships may face with customers.

Not only should actual photos be used, there should be many photos showing various aspects of the vehicle - something stock photos tend not to do.  For a list of standard photos, see here:  http://zmotauto.com/wpz/inventory-photos-vdp-photo-ideas/

All in all, photos play a vital role in a vehicle sale that begins online.  Are you all still using stock photos or do you have a system in place for keeping actual merchandise photos on site?

Lindsay Kwaselow
There have been multiple studies that prove VDPs with stock photos have much lower conversion rates. Properly merchandising your vehicles online is paramount. The goal shouldn't be focused on more leads. If the shopper can see everything they are looking for in the photos it will result in more showroom ups and less leads. Why have the added BDC expense knowing the lead to sale conversion rate is approx 10%. I would rather focus on the 90%. There have been studies released that customers get "photo fatigue" and actually get tired of looking at too many pictures and so they move on. Photo fatigue comes from lousy shots. Typical dealer photos are simply taken on the lot. I highly recommend differentiating yourself by using a professional photo booth. Use a good photo booth with a wide angle lens and you can hit a lot with 9 photos or more and focus on key options for the rest. That is what we see working the best.
Taylan Yu
autotrader.ca main search won't even pull up new listed vehicles without photos, unless you go into the advanced settings and change to show without pictures. No new pictures = No List Views = No VDP views
mark rask
we use real photos and the results are good

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