Product Teardown – Turo

Turo is a car sharing platform that I first heard about at the Stanford fall career fair, where an engineering VP and I had a good chat about how their market had grown thanks to the increasing acceptance of “sharing economy” transactions. Now that I’m using the app myself to plan transportation for a future vacation, I thought it would be interesting to take a broad look at Turo’s app. I’ll comment on what I like about the overall layout, some aspects that could be improved, and then do a deeper dive on one possible improvement to the app, along with relevant success metrics.

What I Like

Turo places the “search” feature square and center on its home page. When you open the app, you can search for where you want to go, and start to select cars from there. Since I mentioned looking for a car for a future vacation, it’s important to mention that you can search an airport on Turo and find cars nearby wherever you’re flying in, as well as whether the car owner is willing to drop off the car at the airport for you. Other people prefer to search nearby, looking to take one of the fancier cars listed on Turo on a joyride.

There are five icons on the tab bar: Search, Trips, Messages, Host, and Profile. Moving beyond the Search tab, Trips and Messages are very convenient for keeping track of your rental activity. Of particular note is the “booked” subsection under Trips. It lists the start and end times of the trip on separate rows instead of aggregating them, giving users clear visibility as to when they need to pick up and return their rental cars.

Room for Improvement

Although the top part of the Search tab is good, the rest of it feels cluttered. Underneath the “search” bar are “Top Destinations”, “Recently Viewed”, a link to rent your car on Turo, and, finally, a link to invite your friends to use Turo (shameless plug: if you want to get $25 off your first trip with Turo, feel free to use my link to sign up).

On the other hand, the Host tab is a little too sparse. Perhaps the Host tab would be more useful if I was renting my car out on Turo, but as of current it’s redundant with the link to list your car on the Search tab. Without a separate “Host view” profile that could be toggled between for a user who both rents cars and offers their car for rent, I would recommend keeping the tab, but eliminating the link on the Search tab to remove the redundancy.

Another good addition would be to add a second link to refer users who want to list their cars on Turo, but may not necessarily want to rent a car themselves. Turo is a two-sided marketplace, after all, and the prominence of their Host tab implies that they are very interested in recruiting more people who want to list their cars.

Finally, the Profile tab seems backwards to me. The main tab contains various subcategories that look like they belong at the end of a website than taking up an entire page of a tab: account, favorites, “How Turo works”, contact support, and another link to invite people to use Turo (at this point, I think I can take a guess at one of Turo’s main priorities for the app). At the top, clicking on “view and edit profile” takes you to a more conventional profile page, with an “About” section and your verified info.

Fixing the Profile tab is more complicated. At the very least, I think the main view should be your actual profile, with subcategories featured as a list below the main profile points. However, this could make it even harder to access the “Favorites” section, which features cars you save/”favorite” during your browsing. To fully overhaul the latter part of the tabs, I’d actually recommend replacing the Host tab with a visual-focused Favorites tab, and create a separate “Host view” design that people who host cars on Turo could swap n between with the current, mostly car renter-centric design (depending on their current needs). The swap feature itself could be at the top of the new Profile tab.

My Recommendation: Favorites Tab

I will focus on a renter-centric design, and as such, recommend that the Host tab be replaced with a Favorites tab (with the caveat that creating a second, host-centric design is also recommended with this change, given how Turo’s current design implicitly shows the importance of attracting more hosts). This can be accomplished fairly easily; all that’s needed is to move the already-built Favorites page to an actual tab button instead of leaving it as a subcategory.

I see this as an important change to help Turo get potential renters to convert to purchasing a car rental. Airbnb provides a good comparison here: their app has a tab to easily access saved homes for potential renters to refer to. In my own experience, easy access to homes (or cars) you’re already thinking about helps lead you down the path to actually making a purchase.

Success Metrics

  • X% higher conversion rate
    Ultimately, we want more transactions to occur since it’s mutually beneficial to both sides of the marketplace, and Turo doesn’t get paid until it happens. By using one of the five main tabs to bring cars people are already thinking about to the forefront of their minds, they will be more likely to complete a purchase.
  • Y% faster car rental funnel
    My hypothesis: if people have cars they’ve already “liked” in an easily viewable tab, they will revisit them sooner and move to the end of the funnel (renting a car) faster. Increased funnel flow means that cash is available to Turo sooner, which is always important for a growing startup.

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