“The old gal is done for good this time,” you think as your 2005 Chrysler Sebring drives down the road on a flatbed for the 4th time this month.

Its time to buy a new ride.

So the first thing you do is open up cars.com, carguru or one of the hundred other online services designed to help you find the perfect new car. You start scrolling through the results when a gorgeous new Mustang catches your eye. Click. White with black interior, V-8 engine, Sport package. Exactly what you want. Case closed.

But you missed something. Something that would have saved you a thousand bucks if you noticed it.

You didn’t see the identical Mustang at a rival dealership, which cost less, because it had no pictures. All that showed up was a little stock photo of a red convertible ‘stang, and in your excitement, you skipped right over it.

But it’s NOT YOUR FAULT! It’s the dealerships fault.

Nowadays, doing some online research before buying a car is not just what a few smart buyers do, but instead, it’s what nearly 100% of buyers do! So as a dealership, not having an excellent online presence is the absolute WORSE thing you can do. 

Having a good presence starts with something extremely simple: take pictures of ALL the inventory! Just like in our hypothetical situation, people are naturally drawn to the cars that have real pictures to show the car exactly how it is. When the dealership just has a stock photo, it is easy to just skim right over it.

Additionally, many dealership websites have listings with stock photos that come on to the website automatically before the cars even arrive. Going to the dealership to look at a specific car that is not even there is very frustrating. Having pictures of the cars is “proof” that they are indeed on the lot and ready to be bought. 

Unfortunately, not having pictures of all the cars is a misstep that we see many dealerships do. They spend generous amounts of money on marketing, but one of the best things that can be done is to hire a photographer. The cost will more than make up for itself with the customers that are attracted to your dealership instead of your rivals.

Or, hell, just step outside and take a couple pics with your iPhone. That’s far better than nothing!

Having photos is good for both the customer and the dealership, so what is there to lose?