Are you taking real photos of your inventory? If you’re not, you really should be according to a recent Cobalt study that found that vehicles with stock images had much lower click-through rates compared to vehicles with real photographs. When the goal of your website is to capture shoppers and get them to submit actionable information to your BDC people, getting them to click through is essential. You simply can’t accept a low CTR.
One of the major pitfalls of stock photography, regardless of the industry you’re in, is that “your competition could very well be using the same or very similar images.” This is a great point brought up by Ford Saeks in his article about ‘real’ vs. stock photography, and especially relevant when trying to differentiate from your competition. Cobalt found that shoppers in their study felt exactly this way, stating that shoppers were “left with the impression that those vehicles were ‘all the same.’” With pricing tools like FirstLook and Vauto, dealers are selling similar products for about the same price; you have to find other ways to stand out. When you’re able to do this, you’ll see your CTR rise and be able to leverage more value from your online presence.
The key is staying relevant to what you’re selling. This means effectively communicating the value of the vehicle you’re selling. Nothing can do that better for a particular vehicle than images of the actual thing, not cookie-cutter photos that all look the same. This doesn’t have to mean poor-quality images, though.
Purchasing a vehicle is a major financial investment, so if you want people to choose your used car over someone else’s, you have to show them what they’ll be getting themselves into— literally.