Not bound by the limitations and cost of traditional photography, AutoGraph allows dealers to digitally merchandize the vehicles they have in transit as well as the ones ordered, in addition to the vehicles on the ground at the dealership.
According to Stevenson, data suggests that 60 to 80 percent of the average dealer’s vehicle inventory is either in transit or being built at the plant because of the limitations stemming from COVID-19 and the widespread chip shortage impacting the industry.
“A dealer on our system has 100 percent of their full inventory online, not just what’s on the lot. And … right now, that’s hugely significant,” Stevenson said.
In a more normal sales environment, in which 30 percent of a dealer’s vehicles might be offline, eVN estimates that an average dealership might miss more than $2.5 million in annual revenue by not having all of its vehicles digitally represented.
“If it’s proper-quality images versus stock images … that leads to far more follow-up by the customer with the dealer on a vehicle,” Stevenson told Shift. “About three times as much lead generation comes from those quality images versus stock images. Frankly, it was fine 20 years ago, but you know the technology has moved on massively since then, and customers expect high-quality imagery.”
AutoGraph — which is being used by General Motors and Ford dealers — is also capable of delivering the computer-generated images of the VIN-specific vehicles for syndication, providing dealers with the same high-quality visuals for their third-party media and advertising platforms. Using a nonconfidential portable version of a manufacturer’s build data, AutoGraph also allows for the quick update of a vehicle spec if it happens to change during the build.
This year, eVN plans to roll out short-form videos that include rolling footage of the vehicle. They will be able to feature the vehicle in different environments, in the event a dealership wants to customize the background scenery based on the store’s location.
The video product, said Stevenson, takes AutoGraph one step further in engaging consumers in the growing digital retail space.
“Something like two-thirds of interactions with dealer websites these days are via mobile devices and apps, so this stuff has to be sharp and consumable,” he explained.
“My point is that content is what’s really, really going to drive this. You can’t get away with showing customers an approximate image and saying, in effect, click here to buy this vehicle.”