The online sale of automotive parts and accessories has seen a massive rise over the past five years, with traditional brick-and-mortar retailers turning to the online space.
According to Statista, this trend is only set to continue, with the online automotive aftermarket market projected to nearly triple by 2027. This shift is aligned with the growing trend of online shopping.
Although the growth rate may not match that of fashion industries, the already substantial $56 billion market presents a viable investment opportunity for existing automotive parts stores.
However, a McKinsey market survey found that 80% of industry players feel ill-prepared, mainly due to a lack of strategic focus, digitisation resources, and skills.
So, who’s ready to take their business online and sell auto parts? To be ahead of the game, it’s crucial to understand your target audience. Various groups buy auto parts online, including wholesale buyers (e.g. local garages), retail consumers, and auto shops. Utilising tools such as Google Analytics can help you analyse your current user demographic. If you don’t have a website, market research is available to help you understand the behaviour of automotive aftermarket shoppers.
Knowing your audience is key to successfully selling car parts online. For example, if you’re a B2B wholesaler, you may sell parts to small vendors who then sell to customers, or purchase them from an auto parts wholesaler like Frontech to then resell to consumers. This can result in stability, lower costs, and better volumes, leading to higher sales for your business. On the other hand, selling directly to end consumers (B2C) can provide the advantage of potentially offering faster delivery times for smaller quantities.
Find the right channels to sell
The automotive industry can benefit greatly from an omnichannel approach to online sales.
We’ve put together the four best channels to consider when selling auto parts online:
Your Own E-commerce Store
Having your own e-commerce store offers complete control over pricing, branding, and customer relationships. You won’t incur extra fees per sale, as you might on eBay and Amazon.
Building an effective online store is easier with platforms like BigCommerce, where you can create a customised website without any coding, drive sales with responsive templates, and provide a personalised shopping experience.
eBay is a great platform for selling auto parts, especially rare parts. With 160 million users worldwide, it’s a popular place for auto parts sales with over 110 million active listings.
eBay doesn’t charge active subscriptions and offers 250 free listings per month, making it accessible for small businesses. The platform also provides tools to help simplify adding fitment to your listings.
Amazon’s marketplace allows small businesses to reach a larger audience. However, selling on Amazon requires a professional selling plan and referral fees. Automotive and power sports are also restricted categories with specific rules in place.
All Three Channels Combined
With a multichannel e-commerce platform like BigCommerce, you can sell your products across all three channels, eBay, Amazon, and your own store, without any additional development work. The platform provides simple integration with eBay and Amazon through its app store.
Building the right car parts e-commerce site
The quality of a customer’s experience on your website plays a significant role in their decision to purchase auto parts and the functionality offered by your e-commerce platform can greatly impact your sales. Consider the following features when selecting an e-commerce platform for your auto parts business:
A customer’s car model can heavily influence their product search. Ensure your platform has a user-friendly interface that allows customers to easily identify their vehicle and filter the displayed products to show only relevant options. Consider offering vehicle identification options such as VIN lookup or manual selection.
Provide a hassle-free shopping experience by implementing faceted search, which allows customers to quickly filter products by specific features. This enhances the customer’s shopping experience and can increase conversion rates.
Retain customers by offering loyalty programs that reward repeat purchases and referrals.
Add personalisation to your website and improve real-time customer support with chatbots.
Ease the checkout process by offering a variety of payment gateways such as Apple Pay, PayPal, and financing options that eliminate the need for customers to enter long forms.
Consider incorporating a B2B e-commerce model to service mechanics and local businesses. Look for e-commerce platforms that offer dedicated B2B applications, such as BigCommerce.
What to do before launching a car parts e-commerce
Once you’ve got the basics in place and your website’s ready to go, it’s time to launch! Before you do, we’ve put together a few tips that you should take into consideration
Identify Your Niche
Think about your target audience and the specific market you want to cater to. For example, you may want to focus on selling parts for Honda Civics from 1993 to 2013.
Conduct research to find areas where you can differentiate your store from others.
Choose Reliable Suppliers
Look for reliable manufacturers that have a good reputation and align with your values. This can be useful in finding old parts to sell, as some car companies have been using the same suppliers for years. At Frontech, for example, we offer brake pads and shoes that you can resell to your customers.
Provide Detailed Product Descriptions
Describe each product in detail, including the quality and whether they are OEM or third-party manufactured. Keep in mind that the quality of car parts can impact passenger safety, so be thorough in your description.
Invest in Professional Imagery
Provide high-quality images of your products to give customers a clear idea of what they’re buying. Professional images will enhance their overall experience when browsing your store.
Looking for support? Don’t hesitate to reach out to the Frontech team today for a friendly chat about how we could help you.