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Do New Car Photos Really Make a Difference from Stock Photos? – Automotive Marketing Professionals

Do New Car Photos Really Make a Difference from Stock Photos?

ADM Forum Question Posted by Kim Essenmacher

I have to ask this question because each seminar, webinar and research study that I have read is stating this to be the case. It increases VDP’s, time on the site and in turn increases sales.  Here is a study from KBB:

Shoppers Want Actual New Vehicle Photos, Not Stock Photography on Dealer Web Sites

According to a new study conducted by Kelley Blue Book Marketing Research among in-market car buyers, 90 percent of vehicle shoppers would prefer to view actual photos of new vehicles currently on the dealer’s lot than view stock photography of a vehicle they are interested in buying.

When it comes to purchasing a used vehicle, viewing photos of the exact vehicle, its options, condition and mileage help a potential buyer make a purchase decision. But, when it comes to buying a new vehicle, in-market shoppers say they want to have that same luxury; seeing photos of the exact vehicle on a dealer’s lot before driving to the dealership. Today, most dealerships use stock photography of new vehicles provided by the manufacturer to showcase current model-year vehicles.

Recent market research shows nearly 70 percent of today’s new vehicle shoppers are turning to the Internet for new vehicle research. Nearly half of these shoppers visit at least one dealership Web site during the research process, making the information found on the dealer’s Web site crucial in garnering a new customer. In fact, 74 percent of vehicle shoppers say they are more likely to visit a dealership if they are able to view a picture of an actual vehicle currently available on the lot, rather than stock photography. What’s more, 53 percent would be more likely to buy that particular vehicle from a dealership offering actual photos of in-stock vehicles.

CDMdata Inc., a Kelley Blue Book Company, offers products and services that aid dealers in easily marketing both their new and used vehicles online with photos. CDMdata’s DigitalLot® Solution is a device that collects vehicle information by scanning the VIN, takes multiple photos of the actual vehicle and then uploads all of the information to the dealer’s Web site (and up to 150 retail Web sites) with the simple push of a button. The DigitalLot Solution can take up to 32 photos of each vehicle, and the in-depth VIN explosion allows consumers to instantly and accurately view all of the detailed information about their prospective new or used vehicle. For dealers who prefer to have someone else doing the book-in work, CDM Dealer Services provides a company representative to come to the dealer’s lot to upload the information and photography for them.

“The online automotive shopping and buying process must continue to evolve, and the DigitalLot Solution is a critical tool to help dealers improve their relationships and build more trust with online shoppers,” said Mike Romano, chief operating officer for CDMdata, Inc. and vice president of dealer strategy for Kelley Blue Book. “Whether using the solution for new or used vehicles, the DigitalLot quickly and easily automates the process of uploading dealers’ online inventory, allowing them to ultimately sell more cars faster.”

About Kelley Blue Book (kbb.com)

Kelley Blue Book’s kbb.com is America’s most used and trusted vehicle pricing, values and information resource. The top-rated Web site provides the most up-to-date pricing and values for thousands of new and used vehicles, including the New Car Blue Book® Value, which reveals what people actually are paying for new cars. Since 1926, car buyers and sellers have relied upon Kelley Blue Book for authoritative and unbiased information to make well-informed automotive decisions. The company also reports vehicle prices and values via products and services, including the famous Blue Book® Official Guide and software products. Kbb.com has been rated the No. 1 automotive information site by Nielsen//NetRatings and the most visited auto site by J.D. Power and Associates eight years in a row. No other medium reaches more in-market vehicle shoppers than kbb.com; nearly one in every three American car buyers perform their research on kbb.com.

SOURCE: Kelley Blue Book

CONTACT: Robyn Eckard, +1-949-268-3049, reckard@kbb.com, or Joanna
McNally, +1-949-268-3079, jmcnally@kbb.com, both of Kelley Blue Book

Web site: http://www.kbb.com/

 

However, the largest dealer group in our state doesn’t use custom photos. My GM is afraid that if customers see new car photos that the customer won’t think that they can custom order a vehicle and we will lose sales!

I told my GM if he is worried about losing custom photos, we could put in the comments “Call if you don’t see what you are looking for?”

Also, how do we know that new car photos wouldn’t help increase the largest dealer group’s sales?

 

I am still trying to figure out which is the best way to go?

Any thoughts and additional research is appreciated.

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Ralph Paglia Replies to Forum Question Posted by Kim Essenmacher: 

this is a similar question to “should we put our inventory online”, which was quite the debate up until about ten years ago… There is no question about the effectiveness of actual vehicle photos versus stock images. all the research shows anywhere from double to 4 times the lead volume on inventory with photos versus stock images when half the inventory has one and the other half is the other.

Honestly, this is one of those irritating issues that is a qualified for me on whether or not I want to work with a dealer or group… If they have not yet progressed to the point where the acknowledge that actual vehicle photos work better than stock catalog images, then they probably haven’t switched to broadband from dial-up yet.

Now, with that said there are alwys the economic considerations… let me explain. If you sell a brand of new vehicles where demand dramatically outstrips supply and your biggest problem is how much to mark up new vehicles above MSRP, then do not bother incurring the expense of taking inventory photos. heck, for that matter, save electricity and don’t turn on the lot lights at night!

I have done the “actual vehicle photos” comparison at several stores. This is where we run a 3 month test by taking actual photos of all new vehicels that have a stock number ending in an even digit and do not take photos for new vehicles with stock numbers that end in odd digits.  Having done this “test” at at least 6 dealerships over time, rarely do we get to the end because the cars with actual photos get all the leads and phone calls.  Then, when people start showing up on the showroom with the VDP printed out and in their hands, the whole thing turns into a big joke… Sort of “No shit Sherlock” actuial photos work better than catalog images… Again, the only debate os about the expense and the work flow.

Actual photos of new vehicles make almost as big a difference in lead volume as they do for used cars… Ever try advertising used cars with stock photos? It rates a Twitter “EpicFail hash tag.

Real photos generate more leads than catalog images. Can you tell which one of the following images is real… and which one is Memorex?

The new 2013 Chevrolet Avalanche LT Black Diamond and 2013 Chevrolet Avalanche LT Black Diamond inventory images above are from the same dealership and for two different vehicles of exact same model and trim… Also, consider that “Real videos” generate more leads than “Real Photos” alone… Real Photos generate more leads than “Stock Images”… get the drift?

However, before incurring the expense of implementing real photos of new vehcile inventory, there is a genuinely valid question that should be sincerely and realistically answered first: “Does your sales department effectively convert leads into showroom visits and sales?” Because, if the dealership is deficient in handling customer inquiries, and does a poor job of converting leads into sales, and/or does a poor job of converting traffic to the showroom into sales… Then don’t waste time and money on inventory photos. You have more serious problems to deal with.

via Automotive Digital Marketing Professional Community

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Dealer Management Systems: Dominion DMX News and Information – Automotive Digital Marketing Professional Community

Dominion DMX Dealer Management System News and Information:

With Dominion Dealer Solutions putting together a credible offering in the way of Dealer Management Systems (DMS) American Car Dealers now have more choices.  Although there have been numerous start-up attempts at penetrating the lucrative Automotive DMS business, many of which have failed, the new Dominion DMX suite of dealer management solutions may provide both a product and a company to back it up that dealers will feel more confident when considering alternatives during their next DMS contract renewal cycle.

 

Automotive News published an article on Sunday December 2, 2012 about the new Dominion DMX announcement as follows:

Dealers Get New Management System Option

Dominion-Microsoft product battles giants ADP, Reynolds

Automotive News December 2, 2012

Dominion Dealer Solutions, a major dealership software company, is launching a dealership management system to challenge heavyweights ADP Dealer Services and Reynolds and Reynolds.

 

The product, built on Microsoft’s newest business and accounting platform, is the first significant new DMS offering in more than a decade. The venture was unveiled Sunday.

But the partnership faces a daunting challenge making inroads against Reynolds and ADP, which have rolled out new products in recent months and hold dealerships tight with long-term contracts.

DMS is the main operating software for dealerships, helping to manage everything from payroll and accounting to inventory and desking, which itemizes the costs of vehicle deals.

Microsoft, which provided the underlying Dynamics AX Windows-based software for the new product, independently tried to enter the DMS business around 2006. That development never took off, though, said David Graff, Microsoft director, U.S. manufacturing industry. “We kind of got ahead of ourselves,” he said.

The new suite of software, called Dominion DMX, will host data off-site — in the cloud — which should save dealerships computer-maintenance money and hassle.

Dominion DMX will be priced similarly to products offered by ADP and Reynolds, said John Reed, vice president of Dominion DMS, a new Dominion unit.

ADP and Reynolds often charge more than $5,000 monthly per store in service fees.

Reed, 47, is a former Microsoft director of automotive retail who participated in the company’s canceled DMS program.

He said Dominion’s new DMS will have its own dedicated sales force. Microsoft, which will receive user licensing fees from the partnership, also intends to show it at industry events and through other marketing channels, Graff said.

Dominion, with annual sales of more than $100 million, has been a longtime vendor to dealers for Web sites, customer-retention software and digital marketing services. It sells to about 11,000 dealerships.

Dominion President Robert Berndt said, “We see this becoming one of our core products.”

But the new product faces a battle against ADP and Reynolds, Berndt acknowledges.

ADP and Reynolds each hold about a 40 percent DMS share of the nation’s nearly 18,000 new-vehicle dealers. Moreover, various small DMS vendors aggressively seek new customers, often with low prices, including DealerTrack, Auto/Mate Dealership Systems, AutoSoft Dealership Management System and Quorum Dealer Management Systems.

Switching DMS vendors disrupts operations as employees learn the new system, said Paul Gillrie, vice president of Paul Gillrie Institute, which helps dealers negotiate with software vendors.

“The learning curve is about nine months. That’s when employees stop complaining about the new system,” said Gillrie, who is based in Tampa, Fla.

Other barriers to entry include long dealer contracts of five years or more and the complexity required to integrate a vendor’s software with auto manufacturers’ computer systems, Gillrie said. That integration is needed for vehicle orders and for factories to track inventories, parts, incentives and other business dealings.

Gillrie added that DMS vendors are selling into a market that has shrunk from about 22,000 franchises to 18,000 today.

Dominion’s Berndt said the new partnership expects a deliberate launch.

Dominion is piloting the system at a dealership in January, he said. And it will make a major promotional push of the new product at the National Automobile Dealers Association annual convention in Orlando in February.

Berndt said 2013 will be a ramp-up year with many more installations expected in 2014. He declined to predict how many dealers would buy the product over the next two years.

Dominion started working on a DMS with Microsoft about 18 months ago, said Morgan Wheaton, Microsoft dynamics director, global partners. The platform used for the DMS, Microsoft Dynamics AX, is a comprehensive suite of accounting, inventory and customer-retention tools. Dominion then customized the software for dealerships and supplemented it with functions such as desking, finance and insurance, service management and parts inventory.

Because the new DMS is built on a Microsoft platform, it will fit easily with other Microsoft products used at dealerships, including e-mail and linking phones with data bases, known as telephony, Berndt said.

The new system also will be enabled for mobile use, allowing salespeople and managers to access data from outside the store.

Dominion prepared for the Microsoft venture with the August 2011 acquisition of a small DMS vendor in Alabama, Automotive Computer Services.

The company, which was absorbed by Dominion, has 400 dealerships as customers, including 100 General Motors dealerships.

Reed said Automotive Computer Services gave Dominion the expertise to work with Microsoft — it uses a Microsoft Windows format — and it has integrations with virtually all auto manufacturers operating in the United States and Canada, except Volkswagen.

Dominion plans to continue offering to dealers the software of Automotive Computer Services, known as Dominion Access, even when Dominion DMX rolls out, Reed said.

Dominion Access, with fewer capabilities than Dominion DMX, costs much less at about $1,500 to $2,000 monthly per store in service fees. Reed said it still has a market among smaller stores and dealers looking for a basic system. 

 

You can reach David Barkholz at dbarkholz@crain.com. — Follow David on Twitter and

Read more at the source: http://www.autonews.com/

Thousands of videos like this on Automotive Digital Marketing Professional Community

 

From the New York Herald Online:

Dominion Dealer Solutions and Microsoft Establish Strategic Relationship for Next-Generation Dealer Management System

New DMS based on Microsoft Dynamics AX to drive enhanced customer experience and operational efficiency for automotive dealers and manufacturers

 

NORFOLK, VA.— Dominion Dealer Solutions and Microsoft have established a strategic relationship to collaborate and create a next-generation Dealer Management System (DMS) based on Microsoft Dynamics AX. The two companies are combining the powerful foundation of Microsoft Dynamics AX with Dominion Dealer Solutions’ extensive automotive retail expertise and assets into an industry leading solution that will enable automotive dealers and manufacturers to enhance customer experience, increase revenue and profit and drive operational efficiencies. The solution will utilize Microsoft Dynamics AX, along with Microsoft server solutions and tools and the Windows Azure platform to take advantage of the efficiencies and flexibility offered by Microsoft’s public cloud offerings.

“Our strategy with Microsoft Dynamics AX is to provide a robust platform for game-changing solutions like the new Dealer Management System from Dominion,” said Christian Pedersen, General Manager of Microsoft Dynamics AX. “The power and flexibility of Microsoft Dynamics AX enables partners like Dominion to rapidly and cost-effectively develop line-of-business solutions that drive accelerated business value for their customers.”

 

“Combining Dominion’s experience crafted through relationships with over 11,000 rooftops and Microsoft’s technology will result in a tremendous, forward-looking Dealer Management System,” said Robert Berndt, President of Dominion Dealer Solutions. “The automotive DMS market has been dominated by large, legacy systems that severely limit the ability of dealers and manufacturers to meet customers’ expectations and differentiate themselves from their competition. Our relationship with Microsoft gives us the capability to meet the needs of the market, and more, on day one. Dealers who use our DMS will experience flexibility they never dreamed possible, and they will be positioned for the future of automotive retailing.”

The relationship between Microsoft and Dominion is part of Microsoft Business Solutions’ strategic Global Independent Solutions Vendor (ISV) program, resulting in collaboration in R&D, marketing and sales. Dominion selected Microsoft Dynamics AX as the platform for the DMS, which offers the combination of industry leading ERP capabilities required for a DMS, along with rich integration and custom development capabilities that are ideal for a meeting the dynamic needs of a rapidly evolving retail market.

“We are excited to welcome Dominion as a member of the Global ISV program,” stated Doug Kennedy, Vice President of Partners for Microsoft Dynamics. “Their long history of delivering value for their customers aligns directly with our goals for the initiative.”

The new dealer management system will be initially rolled out to new vehicle dealerships in the United States, starting in Q1 2013.

 

About Microsoft Dynamics

Microsoft Dynamics solutions empower your people to be more productive and your systems to last longer and scale as your organization grows, while enabling you to derive the insights necessary to respond quickly in an ever-changing world.

 

About Microsoft

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.

 

About Dominion Dealer Solutions

Dominion Dealer Solutions helps car dealers attract, retain, and service customers for life. Dominion Dealer Solutions’ marketing performance system includes: lead generation, mobile apps, reputation management solutions, web-based customer relationship and lead management tools; custom digital marketing tools including websites, SEO, SEM, digital advertising, specialized data aggregation; and inventory management analytics including market reports. Every OEM and more than 60 percent of auto dealers nationwide utilize the Dominion Dealer Solutions’ technologies to solve their marketing challenges. For more information, visit our website, like us on Facebook,Pinterest or YouTube, or follow us on Twitter.

 

About Dominion Enterprises

Dominion Enterprises is a leading marketing services and publishing company serving the automotive, recreational and commercial vehicle, real estate, apartment rental, employment, parenting, and travel industries. The company’s businesses provide a comprehensive suite of technology-based marketing solutions including Internet advertising, lead generation, customer relationship management, website design and hosting, and data management services. The company has more than 45 market-leading websites reaching more than 17 million unique visitors monthly. Millions of For Rent®, Employment Guide® and HotelCoupons.com® publications are distributed across the U.S. each year. Headquartered in Norfolk, Virginia, the company has 3,300 employees in more than 145 offices in the United States, Canada, England and Italy. For more information, visit DominionEnterprises.com

Media Contact:

Dominion Dealer Solutions

Peyton Hoffman

Media & Industry Relations

757-351-7271 (office)

757-748-4533 (cell)

Peyton.hoffman@drivedominion.com

 

From the Drive Dominion Blog:

Introducing Dominion DMS

Dealer Management System (DMS) solutions provide the core technology infrastructure for every dealership. As the retail landscape has evolved, DMS products and providers need to evolve as well.

To embrace this opportunity, we have acquired Automotive Computer Services (ACS), including their current ACCESS product and their deep DMS expertise, augmented our team, and partnered with Microsoft to develop, market and sell a next generation DMS, Dominion DMX. Together with the Dominion Dealer Solutions family of solutions and services, we now offer full, end-to-end solutions for your dealership.

Our new DMS business will be known as Dominion DMS. It has two DMS products: the existing ACCESS DMS product (now Dominion ACCESS) and DominionDMX, the new product based on Microsoft Dynamics AX.

With our entry into the DMS space, Dominion wanted to celebrate its addition with a new icon. If you notice, each of our icons represents our former business units: 

  • Blue for Customer Solutions – formerly Autobase, AutoRevenue and AVV
  • Orange for Website and Marketing Solutions – formerly Dealerskins & XIGroup
  • Red for Inventory Solutions – represented by Dealer Specialties & Cross-Sell. 
Our new icon is green and features a stylized ”x.” The green is a nod to the former ACS ACCESS brand, and the “x” symbolizes innovation. The “DMX” suffix of our new product, DominionDMX, represents a departure from existing DMS solutions. It signals that our new product not only supports today’s technology but also redefines ‘DMS’ as the basis for current and future innovation. In the months to come, you will learn more about our DMS product line. For now, you can visit drivedominion.com/dms for more information.

 

Source: http://www.drivedominion.com/introducingdominiondms.blog

 

From the PRweb Press Release:

Dominion Dealer Solutions and Microsoft Establish Strategic Relationship for Next- Generation Dealer Management System

New DMS based on Microsoft Dynamics AX to drive enhanced customer experience and operational efficiency for automotive dealers and manufacturers.

Norfolk, VA (PRWEB) December 03, 2012

Dominion Dealer Solutions and Microsoft have established a strategic relationship to collaborate and create a next-generation Dealer Management System (DMS) based on Microsoft Dynamics AX. The two companies are combining the powerful foundation of Microsoft Dynamics AX with Dominion Dealer Solutions’ extensive automotive retail expertise and assets into an industry leading solution that will enable automotive dealers and manufacturers to enhance customer experience, increase revenue and profit and drive operational efficiencies. The solution will utilize Microsoft Dynamics AX, along with Microsoft server solutions and tools and the Windows Azure platform to take advantage of the efficiencies and flexibility offered by Microsoft’s public cloud offerings.

 

“Our strategy with Microsoft Dynamics AX is to provide a robust platform for game-changing solutions like the new Dealer Management System from Dominion,” said Christian Pedersen, General Manager of Microsoft Dynamics AX. “The power and flexibility of Microsoft Dynamics AX enables partners like Dominion to rapidly and cost-effectively develop line-of-business solutions that drive accelerated business value for their customers.”

 

“Combining Dominion’s experience crafted through relationships with over 11,000 rooftops and Microsoft’s technology will result in a tremendous, forward-looking Dealer Management System,” said Robert Berndt, President of Dominion Dealer Solutions. “The automotive DMS market has been dominated by large, legacy systems that severely limit the ability of dealers and manufacturers to meet customers’ expectations and differentiate themselves from their competition. Our relationship with Microsoft gives us the capability to meet the needs of the market, and more, on day one. Dealers who use our DMS will experience flexibility they never dreamed possible, and they will be positioned for the future of automotive retailing.”

 

The relationship between Microsoft and Dominion is part of Microsoft Business Solutions’ strategic Global Independent Solutions Vendor (ISV) program, resulting in collaboration in R&D, marketing and sales. Dominion selected Microsoft Dynamics AX as the platform for the DMS, which offers the combination of industry leading ERP capabilities required for a DMS, along with rich integration and custom development capabilities that are ideal for a meeting the dynamic needs of a rapidly evolving retail market.

 

“We are excited to welcome Dominion as a member of the Global ISV program,” stated Doug Kennedy, Vice President of Partners for Microsoft Dynamics. “Their long history of delivering value for their customers aligns directly with our goals for the initiative.”

 

The new dealer management system will be initially rolled out to new vehicle dealerships in the United States, starting in Q1 2013.

 

About Microsoft Dynamics

Microsoft Dynamics solutions empower your people to be more productive and your systems to last longer and scale as your organization grows, while enabling you to derive the insights necessary to respond quickly in an ever-changing world.

 

About Microsoft

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.

 

About Dominion Dealer Solutions

Dominion Dealer Solutions helps car dealers attract, retain, and service customers for life. Dominion Dealer Solutions’ marketing performance system includes: lead generation, mobile apps, reputation management solutions, web-based customer relationship and lead management tools; custom digital marketing tools including websites, SEO, SEM, digital advertising, specialized data aggregation; and inventory management analytics including market reports. Every OEM and more than 60 percent of auto dealers nationwide utilize the Dominion Dealer Solutions’ technologies to solve their marketing challenges. For more information, visit our website, like us on Facebook, Pinterest or YouTube, or follow us on Twitter.

 

About Dominion Enterprises

Dominion Enterprises is a leading marketing services and publishing company serving the automotive, recreational and commercial vehicle, real estate, apartment rental, employment, parenting, and travel industries. The company’s businesses provide a comprehensive suite of technology-based marketing solutions including Internet advertising, lead generation, customer relationship management, website design and hosting, and data management services. The company has more than 45 market-leading websites reaching more than 17 million unique visitors monthly. Millions of For Rent®, Employment Guide® and HotelCoupons.com® publications are distributed across the U.S. each year. Headquartered in Norfolk, Virginia, the company has 3,300 employees in more than 145 offices in the United States, Canada, England and Italy. For more information, visit DominionEnterprises.com.

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