Digital Debate: New and Used SRPs — To Separate or Not to Separate

By | August 27, 2018 | Automotive Marketing

One of the first landing points on your site for many car shoppers is the homepage. That means it’s important to drive them to your SRPs with as little friction as possible so they turn into a lead.

Your homepage search widget is a great way to do that, but a surprising debate has sprung up around this topic: Should you list your New and Used SRPs separately or should you combine them?

Some marketers leverage the widget to send shoppers to all inventory, both new and used, in order to serve as many vehicles as possible for browsing. Others separate the search widget into new and used SRPs so car shoppers have more control over their browsing.

Then there are third-party sites, like AutoTrader and Cars.com, that add to the debate by combining most of the new and used VDP traffic from multiple sites. This potentially makes it tougher on consumers and may even inflate new car VDP traffic.

So who has the right idea? Ask your customers.

Here’s How Potential Car Shoppers Actually Feel

You can’t make strategic decisions without understanding how shoppers behave. We’re currently preparing to conduct a full audit to look at on-site shopping data to support our claim that people prefer SRPs to be separated by New and Used. Until that information is analyzed, we thought it would be fun to poll our office to help further the debate.

We asked a basic question:

“In an attempt to understand shopping behavior, would you prefer that the homepage search widget go to New and Used combined on the SRPs (All inventory) or New and Used SRPs broken out separately?”

The poll received a unanimous answer: Break them out separately

Here are some of their responses about why they prefer new and used to be separate:

The Visionary

“It’ll take more time to get to where I want to go. I most likely already know which one I’m interested in. If I were interested in both, I’d still want it split up because I’d go to New first and then go to Used, since I’d want to see if the New vehicles were a viable option before going to Used. I think in general having it broken up is also a mental thing — I view them as separate in my head, so I’d also like to keep them separate while I’m searching to avoid any confusion.”

The Planner

“I would already have an idea of my price range and what type of car would fall into that, new or used. So when I go to search, I know which type of car I’m going to be searching for, I don’t need to see all of their inventory. If I click on an option that says ‘new inventory’ I only want to see only their new inventory since that was my original intention.”

The Always-er

“We are Used Car People. We always buy used. Since I know my family would not be swayed to buy new, even with great financing options, I would not want to do an extra click to filter out the new cars while looking for used inventory.”

The Decider

“I recently bought a new car so I spent a lot of time looking on dealer sites to find the specific model in inventory. I would’ve hated it if when I selected ‘4runner’ on the widget it showed both new and used. That would require the extra step of then filtering the SRP to see just new models. I don’t want to see both if I’m seeking new because there’s clearly a reason I’m not choosing to buy used, I’d prefer the option to distinguish between new and used.”

Our people have spoken. Stay tuned to see if our data aligns with the poll. Until then …

Audit Your Homepage to SRP CTR

Because we don’t make major changes until we have the data to prove our claims, many of our partners still combine New and Used SRPs. There is, however, a lot of value that you can get from auditing your homepage to SRP clickthrough rate.

Since you want to get car shoppers to your SRPs with as little friction as possible, you want to understand how effectively you’re doing that. How? By checking how your numbers stack up against our benchmarks set by the data of a nationwide network of dealers.

If your numbers are …

  • Below the benchmarks, change the format of your search widget
  • At the benchmarks, A/B test the widget
  • Above the benchmarks, consider how you can do even better

No matter what, you can still drive more car shoppers down your sales funnel.

Interested in Getting Data-Driven Insights From Our Other Audits?

We conduct dozens of audits across our network of dealers. This supplies our teams with the information they need to best serve our partners.

If you’re interested in what else we’ve learned about automotive digital marketing, we’ll be happy to talk. Reach out to us today.