OEC Blog

Take a look at the 'new age' part selling industry

Take a look at the 'new age' part selling industry

“Synthetic oil, check. Filter, check. Gasket, check, Drip pan, check. Rags and wrench, check. As you already probably know I`m in my garage changing the oil on my truck. I’ve done this time and time again and could probably do it with my eyes closed. The only difference is ever since my local parts store closed, I end up buying these replacement parts online and having them shipped to my house. I’ve had a lot of good experiences ordering online for other things but never thought of doing it for auto parts until now. I was amazed by how easy it was to find the exact parts I needed and the convenience of never having to actually leave my home…”

Sound familiar? Convenience, availability, selection and confidence are the main reasons shoppers are buying auto parts online. The online auto parts market grew to over $7.4 billion dollars in 2016.¹ That`s more than double since 2011.² As new tech-savvy generations evolve, we are, more so than ever, geared toward a changing parts selling economy — pun intended. If you aren`t jumping on the bandwagon just yet, you might want to consider what you’re missing out on by not taking the leap.

Turn your puddle into an ocean

Online selling provides an additional channel for new revenue opportunities. The truth is, a lot of consumers aren’t aware it’s even possible to buy parts from a local dealership parts department. By putting your parts department online, you’re opening your selling door 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to shoppers who normally find their parts elsewhere in their online search. And while you’re catching customers in your local pond, you’re actually fishing in a much larger ocean. An eCommerce car parts ocean that is expected to grow by 15% in 2017 and 2018.¹ Getting online gains customers from nearly anywhere looking for the part they need, which you just happen to be selling. I’m sure you want to get the boat out of the dock and into open waters now, but first let’s get your tackle box ready with some shopper expectations and how to capture this “online market.”

Supply what your customers already demand

Whether you want to admit it or not, we live in a world where you can buy almost anything online. The parts industry is no different, and the ecommerce industry needs more OE suppliers, plain and simple. Today’s shoppers expect to be able to order parts from their couch at home on a Sunday night and have those parts delivered to their front door.

What do you need in your tackle box to start fishing for new parts sales?

  • Choose a great online website with marketing services. The saying “If you build it - they will come” does not always apply to ecommerce retail websites. The website can look great but you’ll need a marketing plan of how to get customers to find you, buy from you, and keep coming back. Do some competitive research before purchasing because not all estores are built alike. Make sure you choose a solution from a company that knows your business and understands the industry. Ask about what type of Marketing Services/SEO are offered to complement your estore and capture traffic.

    Ultimately, be conscious of your expectations. It might take only a few short weeks to get set up and get started, but it might be a month or two before customers start visiting your website and purchasing.
  • Sell fast-moving parts and set prices competitively. You’ll want to offer parts that you know customers will buy and sell them at prices that aren’t out of this world. Understand that consumers have a significantly larger marketplace when shopping online, so you have to be competitive. Seasonal promotions like a discount on AC components right before the warmer months hit, or coupon codes offering 5% off the purchase, can help capture first time buyers.  Free shipping is always a crowd pleaser if you can manage it.
  • Support and expertise. If you’re like a lot of dealers, selling online is a completely new venture that you may not have the time or expertise to manage on your own. Ensure that whatever ecommerce solution you choose comes with your own account representative who will be there with you from the beginning and help you along the way.

Dealers that are growing their parts departments by selling online are catching a lot of sales they didn’t know were out there. Are you next?

Want to see how an ecommerce solution works? Check out ConsumerLinkPro to see how it’s done. 

¹Hedges, 2017
²ACA, 2017