Online marketing experts say dealers who post used cars on Internet selling sites should include lots of vehicle photos because consumers like those.
They are not the only ones. Dealers buying vehicles wholesale also want to see a generous number of pictures accompanying the online listings.
“You can't give me enough photos,” Jordan Dopke, general manager of Kelley Auto Sales in Phoenix, AZ, says at a recent National Remarketing Conference.
When shopping online for cars, he wants the photographic equivalent of “a complete vehicle walk-around.”
He buys lots of cars, “more or less in bulk,” from various sources, including other dealers and car-rental companies posting their inventories on marketplace websites. “I'll buy 200 cars at a whack.”
“Pictures are everything to us,” Dopke says.
Well, not everything. “I love the condition reports,” he says. Vehicle history reports are helpful, as well. And he will regularly phone dealers, asking questions about the condition of posted vehicles.
“Honesty and consistency are big things for me,” he says. “Burn me once, you're done. Price means nothing after that.”
The Internet allows him to buy used vehicles nationwide. He recently got 150 Jeeps from a New England seller.
But transporting vehicles cross-country to Phoenix can become a hassle. That's because some vehicle-transport firms miss scheduled delivery dates, he says.
“Within 300 to 400 miles (480 to 640 km), you can get a car delivered quickly,” he says. “Beyond that, it's tough. To me, if you say it will take a week, it should be a week.”
Vehicle-transport delays also can frustrate sellers, says Chris Little, who oversees used-car operations for the Hendrick Automotive Group, an 86-dealership chain based in Charlotte, NC. “There is a lot of money just sitting around when you are waiting 10 to 12 days for cars to be picked up and delivered,” he says.
Vehicle transporters can encounter unexpected snags “but it is important to communicate that to customers,” says Jeff Grandstaff, general manager of ShipCarsNow.com in Auburn Hills, MI.
“If the plan is to deliver a car next Tuesday, we've got to work that plan,” he says. “If we are over-promising on sales and under-delivering on operations, we've got to tighten that up.