Frequently Asked Questions

What is Dealership Photography?

Dealership photography, also known as lot services or inventory photography, is the process of a lot services expert taking photographs of a dealership’s current inventory of vehicles on the lot. This includes new and used vehicles, whether pre-recon (pre-reconditioning) or those that are ready for sale. 

The most important element of quality dealership photography is an understanding of what dealerships need the most to properly promote the cars they have in stock – and that’s something we’ve been experts in for over 15 years. Redline can show you the difference between good and *great* inventory photography as well as the impact it can make on your bottom line.

What is the difference between good and bad vehicle photography?

“Good” vehicle photography is just that – half-decent pictures of the cars you have for sale. Nothing special, nothing that attracts attention from a wide audience of potential buyers. What makes a *great* photo involves ensuring the proper angle, background, reflections, and details on a car for sale, highlighting all the things a potential buyer wants to see. In short, good photography is easy- great photography takes a deep understanding of what customers want, and how to entice them to visit your dealership. 

What makes Redline's vehicle photography great?

We take photos in the same way a salesperson sells a vehicle. We take the time to highlight all the crucial selling features, and make sure to show the condition of the vehicle in detail so customers know what to expect when they visit a dealership. We also thoroughly train our photographers to minimize background distractions by capturing vehicles at optimal angles (including what’s in the background, reflections, and shadows). In short, we make sure your photos are perfect every time.

What are missing photo reports?

Missing photo reports are either digital or printed breakdowns of the photos that were taken, those that couldn’t be taken (generally with an explanation as to why), and anything else pertinent to a dealership when a photographer visits to take vehicle photos. When done well, missing photo reports should make sure a dealership understands the status of all their vehicle photography, with an action plan to make sure all vehicles in a dealer’s inventory are properly photographed and put on the web to drive traffic. 

What does time-to-market mean?

The term “time to market” refers to the amount of time that passes between when a dealership acquires a vehicle in their inventory, and when it is presented to potential customers either on the web or in a dealer’s lot. This is a critical element to helping dealerships sell their vehicles quickly and maximize their revenue from those sales. 

Communication and prioritization are key to getting cars online fast. As experts in the dealership service space for over 15 years, Redline highly recommends exterior-only pre-recon photos as well as thorough communication with sales management, detail departments, and photography in order to accomplish optimal time to market. Our approach to vehicle photography is to ensure the quickest time to market while maintaining the highest quality photography possible to help our dealer partners sell more vehicles.

What does pre-recon mean?

The term “pre-recon” refers to the state of a vehicle prior to reconditioning, cleaning, and servicing of a pre-owned vehicle.

How do dealerships use video to market their inventory?

Over 75% of auto shoppers say that online video has influenced their shopping habits or purchases. The most successful dealerships understand that their customers are driven to know as much as they can about a vehicle before they visit a dealership, and video is the best possible way to share that information. By taking and promoting high-quality videos of vehicles as quickly as possible, dealerships are able to promote their inventory to potential buyers and drive higher sales faster than ever before.

What is Redline Video?

Redline video is a software tool that allows anyone to capture high-quality multi-clip inventory videos. Collecting inventory videos improves the amount of time potential customers spend on a dealership’s website, as well as providing a powerful boost to a dealership’s SEO, or search engine optimization. High-quality video of vehicles in a dealer’s inventory can be one of the most powerful marketing tools available to drive traffic and sales.

How does video impact SEO?

SEO, or search engine optimization, is the process of improving your website in specific ways, driving better visibility in search results on platforms such as Google, Bing, etc. when someone searches for the products or services you provide. Video is an important element of SEO – through the promotion of quality vehicle videos both on your site and on platforms like Youtube, your website will show up higher in search engine results, which means more traffic both to your site and to your lot. 

How does video help drive more sales?

Customers of every kind want to know as much as they can about a product before they buy. This absolutely applies to vehicle shoppers, and the most successful dealers provide as much information about their inventory as possible on the web. High-quality vehicle videos remain a powerful tool for dealerships to provide this information and promote the vehicles in their inventory to potential buyers. In short, vehicle videos help your customers see and learn more about the cars you have available, which drives more traffic to your site and to your dealership.

What is SMS Lead Generation?

SMS Lead Generation is the process of generating leads from potential customers by using vanity text words by promoting them on a dealer’s lot (often on vehicle stickers, printed materials, etc.), on the web, and on third-party sites to drive engagement. These vanity keywords are usually a combination of letters and numbers (e.g. “car123”). 

When a customer sees these codes on any kind of marketing material, they send a text message to the appropriate number (usually the last 8 digits of a vehicle’s VIN). They’ll then receive an immediate response that provides details and information about that vehicle directly on their mobile device. 

This helps keep them engaged with your dealership and your inventory, while also allowing you to follow up with them as you see fit to help drive a sale. Since Redline’s SMS Lead Generation service is tied directly to your CRM, you’re able to collect the prospective customer’s name, cell phone number, the vehicle they’re interested in, and often additional information like their age, address, and even gender.

What is a vanity textword?

A vanity textword is a unique, static text code used in marketing to provide potential customers easy access to information on vehicles and dealerships alike, and the client easy access to customer information which facilitates lead generation.

How does SMS Lead Generation drive more sales?

SMS Lead Generation extends the capacity of a dealership’s digital and traditional marketing efforts, including the opportunity to generate leads from a window sticker on a vehicle. Using vanity textwords, which allow a potential customer to receive details about a particular vehicle right on their mobile device, dealerships can seamlessly collect their contact information to help drive higher sales. 

SMS Lead Generation allows for leads to be generated via inventory photos, social media, third-party aggregators (such as, etc.), on your website, and even through traditional media like hangtags, posters, placards and more.

Does SMS messaging have a high cost per lead?

Not at all! In fact, SMS leads tend to be significantly below-average cost per lead for dealerships (our research has found anywhere between and $4-6 cost per lead, which is much cheaper than most other marketing channels).

Does Redline’s SMS Lead Generation integrate with my CRM?

In almost every case, yes – in fact, it’s a requirement for Redline’s SMS Lead Generation to do what it does best. This is because when a customer sends a text message through, your CRM will be fed the customer’s contact information (as well as some demographic information, where applicable). Your team can then follow up with them in a number of different ways to help drive them toward a vehicle sale.

What is Redline Digital Backgrounds?

Redline Digital Backgrounds is a service that accomplishes the same goal as a traditional photo studio for a dealership – namely, to provide consistent backgrounds for all the vehicles you take photos of. The difference is that a virtual photo studio requires none of the real estate and upfront cost of a traditional studio. Digital backgrounds are expertly applied to your vehicle photos to keep the look and feel consistent, but without drawing the viewer’s eyes to the background needlessly (which can happen when backgrounds are done poorly).

How are Digital Backgrounds different from a traditional photo studio or photo booth?

The main difference between a traditional photo studio and a digital background is the physical space that is occupied. Both provide consistent backgrounds, however a physical photo booth also requires significant real estate within a dealership – which also means less space to actually sell cars to potential customers. Unlike a traditional photo studio, Redline Digital Backgrounds can easily change backgrounds with unlimited options, and the cost to get started is significantly lower than a traditional photo booth.

How much does a dealership photo booth cost?

The cost of a dealership photo booth can be significant! In many cases, a dealership could be looking at an investment of $40,000 or more to establish a booth within their lot. Traditional photo booths also require regular cleaning and periodic maintenance – so the costs can add up over time. 

What is the benefit of using Redline Digital Backgrounds?

There are several benefits to using Redline Digital Backgrounds rather than a traditional photo booth. The first and most obvious is the reduced cost – traditional photo booth setups can cost $40,000 or more, and that’s before adding in upkeep and maintenance. With a digital background solution, your cost is $2-3 per photo, depending on editing and added effects. No other upfront costs are needed. 

Additionally, a traditional studio setup requires a good amount of space in your dealership, which means less room for inventory to sell. A digital background solution doesn’t require any more space than you already use. Another benefit to a virtual photo studio is flexibility, as you can quickly and easily change out backgrounds to suit your needs (and even seasonality). Doing that with a traditional studio could add tens of thousands of dollars to your operating cost. 

What is Redline Inventory?

Redline Inventory is a fully-integrated dealership service platform that allows dealers to get their vehicle inventory online quickly and seamlessly. The platform is also proprietary to Redline, meaning all of our automotive merchandising services are directly integrated, from video and SMS lead-generation to our Virtual Photo Studio, and everything in between. The Redline Inventory platform allows us to provide top-tier customer support and several other new features such as digital missing photo reports, digital invoices, and more.

Does Redline Inventory work for dealerships with multiple locations?

Yes! The Redline Inventory platform allows dealerships with multiple locations (also known as “rooftops”) to manage all of them in one place, simply by selecting the location from the main menu. This eliminates the need to navigate through several steps just to manage day-to-day tasks for multiple locations.

Does Redline Inventory work with other Redline services?

Yes! Because the Redline Inventory platform is proprietary to Redline, all of our other services – from Redline Video to Redline SMS Lead Generation – are seamlessly integrated. This makes the workflow for any dealership that much easier and more efficient.

What kind of customer support does Redline Inventory provide?

Because Redline also provides physical lot services, inventory photography, and vehicle data collection, we holistically support both data capture and data distribution. This means we have a better understanding of both than most vendors who cater to one side or the other – that’s the benefit of working with an automotive merchandising expert with over 15 years of experience working directly with dealerships. Our customer support team is dedicated to providing the highest-level of service and support to our customers, ensuring quick response times and issue resolution.

What is OEM Verified Inventory Data?

The term “OEM verified inventory data” refers to VIN-specific options, packages, colors, and features listed for each vehicle on your lot. This information is critical for customers to see as they are comparing options and shopping for a new or pre-owned vehicle. Redline Inventory uses OEM verified inventory data to ensure your vehicles are listed properly on your site, and as many features as possible are photographed. 

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