Searchers, Browsers, and Tool Users: How Different Types of Car Shoppers Find What They Need with Dealer.com’s New SRP

Did you know that on average, your customers spend about 60% of their total shopping time online. That’s a lot of time spent researching cars. And this trend is likely to continue (even increase), given current circumstances and social behaviors. But even though nearly every shopper spends time researching cars online, every customer is different. In fact, online car shoppers can be categorized into three main groups: Searchers, Browsers, and Tool-users. And your Digital Storefront should cater to each of these customer type. 

Available this coming fall, our all-new Search Results Page (SRP) experience was built with each of these shoppers in mind. Understanding that different shoppers use different devices–tablets, phones, home computers—and that shoppers approach car buying differently, our new SRP delivers a more efficient inventory search, and helps every type of shopper reach the right vehicle earlier in the shopping process. 

Searchers 

Searchers are confident in what they want, and are frustrated by website experiences that force them into predetermined paths that don’t meet their primary motivations. These shoppers feel empowered by choice and prefer tools that allow them to specify the exact information they want. Searchers make up the smallest number of online car shoppers, as many customers don’t know enough to articulate exactly what they want through a search tool.  

Our new SRP experience caters to Searchers by offering features like auto-complete, suggested searches, free-form or faceted searching, and more organized search information that eliminates negative workflow. In testing, our User Experience Lab found that shoppers viewed fewer vehicles overall with no drop in lead volume. In other words, shoppers worked less to achieve the same result. 

Tool-Users  

A second type of car shoppers, Tool-users, desire a more interactive online shopping experience. They like to set up parameters and manipulate information within a widget. These shoppers are the puzzle-solvers, the gamers, and the high-level explorers of online car research. Tool-users like to learn about cars through the relationships that exist between information on a car dealer’s website and the variables that can be manipulated through that website’s tools. 

With new Tabbed Search Content and Search Facets that allow shoppers to refine vehicle lists quickly and efficiently, our new SRP gives shoppers tools to interact with the car buying experience in a more intuitive way. Tool users favor mobile browsing, and the new SRP design features mobile-minded menus that make interacting with search facets easy for shoppers on-the-go. Interestingly, while designed for mobile shoppers, in testing these facets saw an uptick in use on desktop, suggesting easy engagement on any device. 

Browsers 

Our third group, Browsers, are more casual by nature. They’ll consume whatever information is in front of them at the time, and may wander through different high-level categories of vehicles until they eventually find one that meet their needs. Browsers tend to be learners and explorers, a low-intensity strategy for finding the right vehicle. 

Catering especially to these types of customers, our new SRP experience brings the Photo Carousel feature from the VDP further up into the funnel, and allows browsers to see additional product photos within the listings page. Moving this feature to the Search Results Page provides another layer of engagement to help shoppers find the right vehicle. In testing, 35% of mobile shoppers and 16% of desktop shoppers used the photo carousel feature on our SRP. As a result, shoppers viewed fewer VDPs but there was no change in lead volume, as customers found what they wanted earlier in the shopping process.  

Our new SRP Experience delivers critical vehicle information to consumers more efficiently than ever before. Through mobile-minded tools, multiple ways to search, and a customizable, responsive design, we’ve created an experience that helps shoppers narrow their consideration set and reach the right VDP.  

In designing and building this new automotive digital retailing experience, we wanted to ensure that the right content and the right tools were in place for every type of shopper. We also wanted to ensure that your dealership benefited from a more efficient inventory search that helped shoppers reach the right vehicle earlier in the research process.  

We can’t wait to bring you this no-cost enhancement starting this fall! To learn more about your website’s new Search Results Page and its new shopper-friendly features, visit https://www.dealer.com/explore/search-results/.