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Could stock photos be hurting your online marketing efforts?

Often times dealership will showcase their used or pre-owned vehicles with stock photos. Sometimes its because they don't have photos yet, other times its because the vehicle doesn't present well in photos. Whatever the reason, this can give shoppers a very bad impression and here is why!

What Is Happening?

When shopping for a vehicle online, whether that is Auto Trader, Cars.com, eBay, Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace, etc. you will probably come across many stock photos provided by the OEM. These images are especially common for used inventory. These photos may be the same make, model, and year, but they are not the exact vehicle being sold.

There are many reasons that a dealership could do this. some of which may be that they don't have photos or it doesn't present well. A Dealership may not have photos yet because the vehicle is not cleaned or not in their possession. On the other hand, it may simply not present well if it has some damage or is inside of a dark garage. 

Although these situations may make sense to a dealership, it can be misleading and cause for concern to a buyer. 

Why does this matter?

Think about the last time you shopped for a vehicle. Did you see any listings with no images or stock images? What did that make you think about the unit or the seller? As you can imagine, the impressions on shoppers may be less than desirable for a few different reasons. 

If you are using stock photos, those browsing your inventory may think that you don't want to show the actual inventory and may have something to hide about it. In their mind, you may be waiting for them to come in so that you can "smooth talk" them into buying a vehicle that may not be right for them. It basically boils down to a matter of transparency. If you come off as trying to hide something then that leads to a lack of trust from the buyer. So not only does it make your inventory seem suspicious but it also raises red flags about your dealership and your business practices. 

How To Fix IT?

The best way to remedy this is to snap photos before the listing goes live online. Make sure to prep the vehicle first with a quick wash and wipe. Place it outside in bright natural light. This will help it stand out and give shoppers the best view of the vehicle details. Take several steps back to get the entire shot of the car and leave some wiggle room around it so that when different websites crop your photos, it won't cut off any parts of the vehicle. Make sure to get every angle: front, back, left, and right. Get some closeups of any damage or upgraded details. Always be sure to snap a photo of the mileage and VIN as well! 

Consumers are becoming more and more comfortable shopping for and even buying vehicles on the internet. Having accurate photos, price, and description combined is what is driving this movement. 

And remember...

Stock photos don’t sell vehicles!