Creating connections with customers is vital for any business to thrive, whether you are trying to acquire new customers or sell to existing ones. By selling parts online, the dealership can connect to a wider customer base that expands across the country. This can provide additional revenue and help it build loyalty for the dealership and the OEM brand.
The sales department often comes to mind first when we think of establishing connections with customers and building relationships. If a dealership wants to drive new opportunities, it will need to seek new ways to make connections with a broader customer base.
The parts department is often one of the most underutilized departments in the dealership when it comes to making connections with new customers. The dealership can expand its reach to customers nationwide through the parts department, breaking through localization barriers. It can do this most effectively by becoming the center for online sales.
The online parts market is thriving. In fact, it’s expected to reach 22 billion dollars by the end of 2023, according to Hedges & Company. Despite the high demand for online OEM auto parts, most dealerships do not have an online parts business. As a result, many of these dealerships have difficulty establishing a strong network of customers.
Adding online selling channels helps your parts department connect to more customers outside of your local market. Creating an online parts business also opens up new revenue opportunities and helps future-proof your department against local and national economic challenges. Dealerships may also find it valuable to sell through today’s biggest online marketplaces, like Amazon and eBay.
Dealers that relied solely on brick-and-mortar sales took a major hit during the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. According to NADA, parts departments across the United States lost 6 billion dollars in 2020. The business that came through their typical in-person buyers had plummeted.
However, dealers who sold parts online with RevolutionParts saw a 27% increase in online parts sales. When most parts departments were experiencing layoffs, dealers partnered with RevolutionParts were hiring more staff to support their additional sales growth. The flexibility of selling online allowed them to grow their customer base at a low cost.
These dealers were able to increase their business because they were able to make convenient connections with a wide scale of customers. They were also able to provide a safe shopping experience for their customers, helping them establish a trusting customer base that would continue to grow long after COVID restrictions were lifted.
Aside from establishing a parts web store or uploading inventory to online marketplaces, dealers should sell parts through their dealership website. This is valuable for local retail and wholesale customers.
Local consumers can go online to evaluate prices, see availability, and order OEM parts without needing to call or visit the parts department. Offering convenient pickup or delivery options can help further secure business from your local customers.
This can be especially effective for growing your wholesale customer base. Make it easy for them to view your online inventory and more, help them get quotes on prices instantly, and check for part availability without having to pick up the phone. By providing a convenient shopping experience, you help both your department and your customers save time.
Giving local customers a positive online experience can build loyalty for the entire dealership.
Those that purchase parts online will be more likely to return to the dealership for parts installations and other services. Getting that customer to the dealership increases the likelihood that they will return to purchase their next vehicle, leading to more revenue and a higher absorption rate for the dealership.
It’s expected that over 274 million Americans will make online purchases in 2023. If your dealership is not selling parts online yet, you should make it part of your overall strategy to grow revenue, build brand loyalty, and expand your business.
It’s time for dealerships to invest in parts eCommerce to drive connections for their local and national parts buyers.
Ibrahim Mesbah is the founder of RevolutionParts, an eCommerce solution that helps dealers transform the way parts buyers and sellers connect. Before the founding of RevolutionParts in 2013, Ibrahim worked in software development for both Inter-Tel and PayPal. Now, he is responsible for bringing easy-to-use products to life, designing web applications that scale, building and running high-performing teams, and managing large-scale software products. Ibrahim is on a mission to disrupt and innovate the automotive space by creating the most active parts network in North America and has led RevolutionParts to over 1,500 customers with over $1 billion in parts and accessories sales.
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