How Designated Lot Spots Get Your Inventory Online Faster
Let’s face it – in many ways, the automotive space is more competitive now than ever before. From ongoing inventory shortages and supply chain issues to increased options for customers to shop and buy online, it’s more important than ever to get your inventory online as fast as possible, and make sure it’s looking great. It’s way beyond debating that quality photography of your vehicles is critical to stay competitive and drive interest, so what should a savvy dealership do?
One straightforward solution we recommend starts with looking at how your lot is organized for having photos taken, whether you currently shoot your cars with an in-house team member or you use a photography vendor. If the goal is to get photos online faster, keeping cars that need retail photography in one spot (we like to use the term “Designated Lot Spots”) can make a big difference – not only on your overall efficiency, but also to potentially drive down your operating costs.
Organization Will Set You Free
The idea is actually pretty simple. If you designate one area of your lot for storing cars that need to be photographed, there’s never any question what’s ready to sell and what’s not. As cars are photographed and put online, they can easily be moved out to the main sales area and the next batch can be moved in. This kind of streamlining can have cascading benefits for your dealership operations.
In an ideal scenario, this Designated Lot Spot location would be an area of your dealership where customers aren’t actively shopping, so everything can stay organized and cars can be moved in and out efficiently. That’s an important aspect of making a strategy like this work: having a functional and simple method of inventory tracking makes sure your photographer is able to lean on the dealership itself for the needed level of communication, as opposed to tracking cars down themselves.
Run The Numbers
Another important point to consider comes down to costs, and cost savings. Not only will a more organized and efficient approach to the location of cars that need photos save your team time, it can also save you the inherent cost of having a car that’s ready to shoot but nobody on the lot knows it. If a car is retail-ready and sits on the lot for even 1-3 days before being shot and loaded up on the web, that’s lost revenue and sunk operating costs that this approach can avoid. That’s especially true in the low-inventory reality we’re all dealing with.
We know this goes without saying, but the costs of keeping a car on the lot unsold can add up quickly. From the initial cost of the vehicle itself to the overhead of maintenance, storage, and security, every single day a car sits on the lot without being sold is money out of your dealership’s pocket. And in today’s competitive market, with slim margins and fierce competition for buyers, that’s money that could be better spent elsewhere.
To DIY, Or Not To DIY
We mentioned above that this approach can work whether you’re a DIY-photography shop or you partner with a vendor. Many vendors like Redline offer a hybrid offering, which could be the best of both worlds if you find yourself on the fence between DIY/in-house photos or working with a vendor.
We all know that photo and video creation can both be labor intensive. If you’re able to make your vendor’s life and operations easier and more efficient (which you will with a Lot Spot approach), you can usually get a better deal on your lot services. Your vendor pays their photographers just as you pay them, so it’s entirely possible to spend less on photography if a vendor doesn’t have to spend time walking the lot to find cars to shoot. So that’s a mutual benefit to consider.
Any good Lot Services provider should understand the logic of this approach, but the really good ones will also understand it’s not always feasible to do in a real-world scenario every day. Not every lot is built the same, or necessarily has the space needed to make it work. That’s why at Redline, we still offer our standard vehicle photography services, but highly recommend the Designated Lot Spots approach wherever possible, as it saves everyone time and money, and gets your cars online faster.
As we’ve seen, there are a number of efficiencies in organizing your lot to make photography and video capture faster and easier, whether you use a vendor or you shoot in-house. There are also significant financial benefits to saving time and keeping better track of what your photography needs are, and a designated lot-spots approach can help you do just that. If you’re looking for an Automotive Merchandising partner who understands the ins-and-outs of lot services (and we should after 15 years of experience), let’s talk and see how we can help you drive more sales today!
Redline is dedicated to helping modern dealerships engage, communicate with, and cater to modern, tech savvy car shoppers. Our unique proprietary suite of products and services optimizes and redefines how automotive dealers reach, retain, market, and sell to customers — front end, back end, all ends.