Best PracticesJan 9th, 2024

Parts Shipping: Increase Customer Satisfaction and Loyalty


Maintaining a great customer experience is every dealership’s top priority, whether they are in-store or online customers. Customer satisfaction in the Parts Department builds trust for the brand and encourages customers to return for future auto needs. Plus, happy customers are likely to recommend the dealership to others, improving the dealership's reputation through word-of-mouth.

If your parts department sells online, customer satisfaction needs to remain top of mind. One way to do this is by focusing on shipping. Shipping is often your business's last touch with an online customer, so make it count.

The successful delivery of auto parts plays a pivotal role in shaping customer satisfaction and loyalty. Dealerships can enhance the customer experience through efficient shipping practices, focusing on timely delivery, secure packaging, comprehensive shipping protection, and transparent communication, ultimately building trust and a positive reputation for the brand.

The Role of Timely Delivery in Customer Experience

When a customer orders a part online, they expect it to arrive on time, with the average parts buyer expecting their item to be delivered in 2.5 days, according to ecommerceDB (ECDB). This illustrates the importance of timely delivery for today’s online consumers.

Imagine this scenario. You, the parts buyer, are fixing your car and need a part quickly, so you go to an online parts seller and place your order with them. They tell you the part will arrive at your doorstep in 1-2 business days. You may lose trust in the parts store if it fails to deliver the part within the window of time as promised. On-time delivery of auto parts is crucial, as many customers are waiting for these parts to fix a vehicle. Not being able to do so in a timely manner can negatively impact the customer, aside from just being unsatisfied.

While there are elements of delivery that are outside of a dealer's control, such as carrier delays, the dealer can ensure the part is shipped on time.

In addition, if you have a local customer order a part from your dealership online or if they call the parts department directly, you should offer same-day delivery. Most customers have become accustomed to Amazon’s speedy delivery, which in some locations can deliver purchases in just a few hours. Whether using your own fleet driver or a crowd-sourced driver through services like Uber, allow your customers to choose how fast they want their order to be delivered.

Packaging and Handling: Ensuring Product Security

In addition to ensuring timely shipping, dealers also play a critical role in guaranteeing the safe arrival of packages. Auto parts range in size, shape, and weight. Some are fragile, while others are bulky. It is vital to know how to package these parts for their safe shipment.

Dealers should use durable materials and ample cushioning in packaging to secure the part inside. Techniques such as corner guards can also help safeguard heavier items and demonstrate your parts department's commitment to their quality. This can impact customer perception and confidence.

When a customer receives a damaged part, it can hurt the dealer's reputation, even if that damage happened after it left the warehouse. This can lead to dissatisfaction and the loss of customer loyalty.

Shipping Protection and Insurance

Unfortunately, unexpected incidents can occur despite careful packaging.

According to the 2022 Package Theft Annual Report, last year saw more than $2.4 billion in estimated losses due to theft, affecting more than 49 million Americans. When the shipping and handling process goes awry, it can have a negative impact on the seller. In fact, 84% of customers are unlikely to return after a bad experience.

While this may be unavoidable, there is still something dealers can do about it: provide customers with an option to purchase shipping protection or shipping insurance. This approach enables easy resolution of issues related to damaged, lost, or stolen packages for customers. Shipping protection helps cover the costs these incidents incur and can make it easy for customers when something goes wrong. Allowing customers to add shipping protection can boost consumer confidence during the purchasing stage.

Just because a customer may experience an unfortunate situation where a package is lost, stolen, or damaged doesn’t mean it has to affect how that customer perceives your business. Instead, it is how that situation is handled by the business they bought the part from that makes all the difference.

Transparency and Communication During the Shipping Process

Improving customer experience during shipping also involves keeping customers informed throughout the shipping process. Dealers can do this by providing tracking information, allowing the customer to see when their part was shipped, where it is in transit, and when they can expect it to be delivered. This also alerts the customer of a delay so they may plan accordingly.

Customer satisfaction can be improved by providing tracking information and communicating with them about their orders through text or email. There is a strong rise in tracking notifications via SMS messaging, which your dealership may want to consider for future operating processes. You also want to be sure that you can provide customer support if that customer has any questions about their delivery.

Customers trust a business more when they know what's happening with their order. This trust is essential for keeping customers returning and fostering growth in the dealership’s parts business.

Bottom Line

As the final touchpoint in the online shopping experience, shipping plays a crucial role in shaping customer perceptions and loyalty. Dealerships can enhance the customer experience for online buyers by prioritizing timely delivery, ensuring secure packaging, offering shipping protection, and maintaining transparent communication. These practices build long-term trust and a positive reputation for the brand. Ultimately, a dealership's commitment to excellence in shipping can turn one-time buyers into loyal customers.

    Ibrahim Mesbah is the Co-Founder and CEO of RevolutionParts, which transforms the way parts buyers and sellers connect.

    A technologist, founder, and CEO, Ibrahim is passionate about marketplaces, payments, and eCommerce. Having spent the last decade leading the RevolutionParts platform, which has powered more than $3 billion in parts and accessories sales. 

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