Used car sales are big. Around the world, nearly twice as many used cars are sold compared with new cars, and used car sales are expected to widen their lead in the next few years.
E-commerce is big. Retail forecasts predict online purchases will represent close to 25% of global retail sales by 2025.
Combine the two, and you’ve got one of the hottest markets today. Used car industry transformation is fueled further by digital transformation and pandemic-accelerated shifts in buyer preferences, and bolstered by increasing competition as digital disruptors are joined by major automakers in the quest to transform the purchase process and win market share.
While the road to success in the evolving used car market will certainly have its share of bumps and even potholes, used car retailers, whether entering the market as seasoned automotive traders or tech start-ups, can increase their chances of success by understanding factors that drive buyer behavior in an e-commerce setting and adopting tools and tactics to match.
The longstanding retail model for car sales is undergoing rapid digital transformation, accelerated by the widespread impact of the COVID-19 response on consumer preferences. Everywhere you look, buyers expect high-quality digital experiences and the car-buying journey is no exception. In fact, 80% of car buyers execute the majority of their vehicle shopping digitally.
The used car market is of course far from alone in the process of digital disruption and reinvention. OEMs and car dealers are experiencing a similar digital transformation as the battleground for market share is no longer engineering but customer experience.
In the digital marketplace, the online consumer experience is king. McKinsey made it simple and compiled the top recommendations for used car dealers to adapt and compete in a fast-moving space. Their number one recommendation? Modernize your website experience. Because it turns out that used car buyers put in a whopping 40% more time researching online compared to new car buyers.
Getting the digital experience right is job one, and the industry is rising to the challenge. For example, automotive technology company Cox Automotive is developing an AI-driven used car sales platform.
Digital-first used car platforms are leading the disruption of the used car industry and buying experience. Carvana is well known for its car vending machines. These flagship vehicle pick-up hubs enable a 100% online buying experience that includes virtual car tours. Vroom similarly offers an end-to-end digital purchasing experience.
But whether or not the buying process happens entirely online, the reality of digital sales is that the single biggest factor influencing purchases is product photography. Which in this case of course means vehicle images.
Would you buy a home based on photos of bare rooms? Or worse, untidy, cluttered living spaces? The value of staging homes for virtual as well as in-person viewing is well established. What about staging a car? The answer is a resounding yes. Used car photos that are clean, uniform, and present a professional look and feel can contribute to better results, including more clicks and higher conversion rates across digital channels.
The reality for used car dealers is that effectively staging car photos poses a number of challenges. Taking the photographs themselves requires location scouting and photography skills which are difficult and costly to optimize across high-volume car inventory. Processing car images after the fact to improve image quality, remove/redact information such as dealer brand, and upgrade backgrounds, is painstaking and costly to do manually, let alone at scale.
AI-powered car image processing presents an easy and effective alternative to subpar used car photos or manual retouching. Image.Redact enables you to process large volumes of images in minutes and features seamless integrations to further automate car image processing.
Start processing car images quickly and cost effectively at scale with Image.Redact today.