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Here is a way the dealer body can effect and manipulate the default listing order of high to low by price on sites like Autotrader and Cars.com. As you probably know, Autotrader and Cars.com default listing of vehicles in a search result page are sorted by highest price to lowest price (other than the packages that Autotrader offer like premium listings). I have been told by their reps that one of the reasons they do this is if they were to list the vehicles low to high based on price then consumers wouldn't have any reason to look past the first couple of pages. That makes sense for their marketing purposes but I believe dealers and consumers would benefit if they were listed a better way.
One of the ways I believe the default order should be is by listing them nearest to the zip that the customer puts in. Both the consumer and the dealers would benefit by this order and I believe these site would get more buy in from the dealerships and here is why. If I am a dealer and I know that if a customer does a search in my direct market and my cars would show up before competitors in other markets, I would believe these sites would benefit me more. And from a consumer perspective, I would love to be able to see local offers on vehicles before I have to travel too far to get a good deal on a car I am shopping for I would more than likely give them a chance. Another way a default sort order would benefit the dealers and consumer would be by odometer. If the dealer, or consumer is comparing similar vehicles that have the same equipment or options then the mileage of the vehicles will be the next driving factor on which on is a better deal. If I am a dealer with nice low mileage vehicles I would want the consumer to see my vehicles first, or if I am a consumer looking at vehicles that are in the same price point or make/model search, then mileage would be the next thing to consider.
The dealer body (the reason I am saying dealer body, is that the fact that the more dealers that do this strategy the better it will work) can manipulate the high to low price default by pricing their vehicles at a Flat Price. And what I mean by Flat Price, is to price their vehicles at a flat number like $18,000 instead of $17,998 and here is why:
The more dealers that price their cars at a flat number like, $10,000, $15,000 and so on the more the dealer body can manipulate how these sites put in order to cars listed for sale. These two ways of listing vehicles, 1. By closest to the zip and/or 2. By lowest mileage are the 2 best ways that the customer and dealership benefit from because it’s a win win for the dealers and the consumers.
There are tons of other reasons why you want to Flat Price a vehicle. I would never price a vehicle at $19995 again.