Ibrahim Mesbah

CEO & Co-founder | RevolutionParts

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.

eCommerce Has Permanently Disrupted the Way New Car Dealers Sell OEM Parts

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Over the past two decades, retail has drastically changed with the rise in eCommerce. Compared to other sectors, the automotive industry has been slower to expand into online sales. Even slower has been the adoption of eCommerce strategies in the parts department. Traditionally, the parts department has relied on customers walking through the door and driving up to the service lane, or in some cases on local repair shops and collision centers ordering parts for their customers. In the past, consumers seeking out an OEM replacement part for their vehicle would have to physically come into the dealership, and parts were looked up in a physical or PC-based parts catalog. As an online presence became a vital component for businesses to flourish, dealerships created their own websites to better serve vehicle buyers and attract new ones, and later they even added new tools to allow customers to book service appointments online. However, the ability to browse parts and order online was rarely integrated into these sites. Even today, in 2022, the majority of dealerships do not provide an online option for consumers to browse or shop for parts, with only a quarter of new car dealerships selling parts online.  Instead, most parts departments continue to rely on old selling methods, including a parts form that online visitors can fill out to request information about a part. This form results in few conversions and is seen by consumers as inconvenient and impractical - even when they receive an actual response from the dealership.  Although only a fraction of dealers are selling online, it is becoming increasingly apparent that this is where the industry is heading, with more dealers adopting parts eCommerce strategies. COVID-19 Solidifies the Importance of Parts eCommerce If the shift in selling online wasn’t apparent before 2020, it quickly became a central strategy for many franchised new car dealerships as COVID-19 hit and the world began to shut down. In the U.S., businesses across the country closed their doors, and consumers went into lockdown. Even in states where stay-at-home orders were not adopted, and areas did not shut down, dealerships still saw a sharp decline in business.  In 2020, parts departments in the U.S.  lost $6 billion  in parts revenue, and new car sales  dropped by 15% .  Many dealerships found relief in their online parts business to combat this sharp decline in business. During the shutdown, many people use the time to repair their own vehicles or begin new projects. This led to a rise in the demand for car parts.  According to a 2020 eCommerce report from RevolutionParts, dealers selling parts online actually saw a  27% increase  in online parts sales, despite the economic challenges.  The pandemic accelerated the shift to online shopping by more and more people. As restrictions lifted and people began to return to normalcy, one habit that most people are holding onto is shopping online. In 2022, over 230 people in the U.S. made purchases online. In the automotive industry, the shift to online shopping has been drastic. Before 2020, only 32% of consumers felt open to purchasing a vehicle online, but this number has since  risen to 61% .  The impact of parts eCommerce doesn’t just impact parts being sold online, it also affects those being sold over the counter. According to Hedges & Company, regardless of whether a consumer purchases online or in-store,  74% of all parts purchases  begin with an online search. This means that people are not just shopping online for a part, but they are researching where they can get the best price, who has the part in stock, and how fast they can get it. If a dealership does not have a way for consumers to conduct this research, the probability of being passed over is high. New Opportunities for Franchised Automotive Dealers and Manufacturers The challenges dealers began facing in 2020 are far from over, as we are now dealing with the fallout of the pandemic and  worldwide supply chain issues  that have threatened the supply and production of new vehicles and auto parts. However, just as dealers were able to combat pandemic challenges in 2020, dealers who are selling parts online are now using these same strategies to mitigate the impact of the damaged supply chain. Creating an online parts business allows individual dealers to expand their customer base and reach parts buyers across the country and internationally. This means complete reliance on the local market has been eliminated, as new online revenue streams have been established, including selling parts through the dealership website, a separate parts web store, or through an online marketplace such as Amazon or eBay. Not only that, dealers can deal with obsolescence or aged inventory challenges by listing parts where they will be searchable by buyers who need them. Manufacturers have also understood the major opportunity eCommerce presents and often provide sponsored solutions to allow dealers to sell their OEM parts online through official parts eCommerce programs. Dealers and manufacturers know that they cannot compete with the aftermarket via traditional methods only. If they do not add their products to the online market, then consumers will no longer benefit from the opportunity to buy their higher quality products, and they will miss out on sales that go straight to aftermarket vendors and resellers. With the average vehicle age continuing to increase each year and the lack of availability of many new vehicle models, owners are looking to buy parts to maintain their vehicles longer and many even make upgrades to older vehicles Offering parts and accessories both online and over the counter gives dealers a multichannel strategy commonly used across industries to attract new customers and tap into this growing segment of second, third, or fourth owners of vehicles who would otherwise buy from the aftermarket.  The online parts market also grows larger every year, presenting new growth opportunities for franchised dealers and manufacturers. Most consumers today incorporate a hybrid form of online and offline shopping habits, meaning the method of selling products strictly over the counter is outdated and will prevent
Mobile Shopping is Impacting Online Parts Sales

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For millions of people, shopping online has become the preferred method, especially over the past two years since the start of the pandemic. However, just because things have begun to look more normal doesn’t mean people are giving up their shopping habits. The rise in online purchases across all retail industries has caused many retailers to pivot their strategy to a fully optimized buying experience. This pivot has not escaped the automotive industry as new franchised dealers turn to eCommerce to drive additional revenue. However, recent data also shows that if dealers want to maximize online efforts, they need to keep the mobile experience in mind.   Don’t Ignore The Data A recent report from  RevolutionParts  that looked at the shopping behavior of over 100 million online parts shoppers showed that nearly 59% of consumers shopped for parts through a mobile device, marking a nearly 5% increase in mobile shoppers from 2020. Mobile users spent an average of $168 in parts orders and made up a little over $204k in total revenue for dealers signed up with RevolutionParts in 2021.  Not only were more shoppers searching for parts through mobile, but they were also purchasing more often, with 1.2k transactions made through mobile compared to 1.1k transactions made through desktop.  Although in 2020, we saw more shoppers searching for parts using mobile. However, 2021 marked the first year more consumers completed their purchases through mobile devices. What Does This Mean For the Parts Department? The dealership’s online parts business needs to be mobile-friendly. This rise in mobile purchases means dealerships will have to include mobile shopping in their online parts strategy and understand their customer’s mobile shopping experience.  Building an online parts business where the mobile experience is lacking will cost the parts department sales. Ignoring the data in the report mentioned above could lead to losing half of the department’s potential online sales. To ensure customers have the best online shopping experience when shopping from their mobile device, you need to make sure that the mobile version of the parts web store meets specific criteria. Otherwise, when a customer lands on the parts website, they may not know how to navigate the site to find what they are looking for, or they may have difficulty inputting their information and checking out. A poorly made mobile version can also confuse mobile shoppers, especially if it is visually unappealing, the text is difficult to read, or links don’t work. When building an online parts business, there are certain qualities you want from the mobile version of the website:  -       Easy to navigate  -       Quick load time -       Text is easy to read -       Visually appealing on a small screen -       Links are easily clickable -       Forms are easy to fill out Ensuring an online parts store is mobile-friendly is a must. A mobile-friendly parts site with these qualities is more likely to increase parts sales and deliver higher customer satisfaction.  Mobile shopping isn’t the future of shopping; it’s already here and growing. If the parts department wants to build a successful online parts business and capture more sales, the data shows that implementing a mobile-friendly shopping experience is a must. Get the Full 2022 eCommerce Shopper Behavior Report The RevolutionParts  2022 eCommerce Shopper Behavior Report  gives parts sellers insight into the behavior online auto parts customers, devices they shop from, how much they are spending, and demographics. To view the full report, visit: https://www.revolutionparts.com/  
Supply Chain Issues and Inventory Challenges For Franchised New Car Dealers

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The automotive industry has experienced a variety of challenges since the beginning of the pandemic, and with ongoing supply chain issues impacting inventory, OEMs and dealers are encountering new obstacles at every level.  New Vehicle Inventory Challenges The current supply chain issues are limiting the amount of new vehicle inventory produced and supplied to dealers. As every dealer knows, this leads to low availability of new vehicles, high prices on new and old vehicles, and a rise in older vehicles remaining on the road.  Issues in the supply chain are also leading to mass amounts of unfinished vehicles being produced and waiting on chips. To combat this, some manufacturers have decided to produce and sell, at a discount, “unfinished” vehicles, with the idea that dealers can install the missing chip components as they become available. Other manufacturers have opted to drop popular features to increase sellable inventory, including rear-climate control, automatic start-stop features, wireless charging, hands-free driving, and HD radios.  For example, according to  Automotive News , Ford will soon begin to ship and sell vehicles missing non-safety-related chips that can be installed at a later date. These missing chips control things like rear-seat heating and air conditioning and auto start-stop features.  With more used cars being sold and some new vehicles being sold “unfinished,” this will mean more, potential dealer-installed options. These missing parts will need to be installed as inventory is available, and older cars will need to be maintained to remain on the road.  The Rise in Used Vehicles Inventory issues are also having an impact on the vehicles currently on the road. Due to the rise in vehicle price and inventory challenges, consumers opt to keep their current vehicles longer or purchase used. This means more used cars are on the road than ever, with the average vehicle age nearing 13-years old. Over time, wear and tear on vehicles lead to more part replacements. They also don’t run as efficiently as newer vehicles and require more maintenance, such as more frequent oil changes. It is estimated that vehicles that are a decade old cost twice as much to repair and maintain yearly than a vehicle that is just five years old. These aging cars represent a great amount of  potential growth the fixed ops side of the dealership as more people will need parts and service as their vehicles age. Roadblocks in Parts Inventory Along with a disruption in new vehicle inventory, there is also a disruption in the supply of automotive parts (more specifically, materials). Dealers and repair shops are struggling to source some of the parts their customers need, resulting in vehicles taking weeks and sometimes months to repair.  The ability to communicate with customers is critical. Be honest with them and let them know if they can expect delay issues on specific parts. If a delay comes up unexpectedly, let the customer know what is happening.  If you are selling parts online, this communication may be easier. Dealers who are selling OEM parts online should be able to have the ability to display what parts they have in stock and which parts they do not. Controlling what inventory a customer can order online prevents customers from ordering an out-of-stock part, lowering order cancellation rates. Currently, many dealers are facing higher cancellation rates due to supply chain issues and inventory shortages. The ability to shop online and expand sourcing options can help alleviate the pressure of getting parts by increasing the odds of finding a part. While your dealership may not have a part in stock, there is a chance that another dealership in the nation may. The ability to go online and shop around for the part can determine how long a car is sitting in a dealership’s service lane.  The same is true for other dealers and repair shops sourcing parts. By creating an online parts business for the dealership, dealers and repair shops nationwide have the ability to source parts from your dealership. Looking Ahead With OEM Parts While not much can currently be done about continuing supply chain issues, OEMs and retailers should focus on providing service to the aging vehicles on the road now, by maintaining OEM replacement parts.  Dealers lack new inventory, and consumers may be hesitant to pay the rising prices; the one thing that remains consistent is the vehicles on the road continue to age. This places more importance on fixed ops and the ability to sell and source parts. To do this efficiently, dealers need to expand their reach by taking their parts business online. By creating an online parts business for your dealership, you become part of a national market with access to millions of more buyers and thousands of more parts sources.       
Parts eCommerce Fuels Revenue Growth in 2021

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Despite the intense economic challenges and supply issues that occurred during 2020 and 2021, dealers selling parts online with an effective eCommerce strategy continued to see an increase in parts sales. RevolutionParts measured the success of dealers selling through with their eCommerce platform to determine the top trends of digital retail in 2021. RevolutionParts found that the average dealership selling online with their eCommerce tools grew their revenue by 13.4% in 2021, making it their most profitable year yet.    New Car Dealers’ Selling on the RevolutionParts Platform  Online Parts & Accessories Sales Growth, (YoY) Dealer Revenue Continued to Grow Online Despite the challenges presented to dealers over the past two years, online parts sales continued to rise. On average, dealers selling through the RevolutionParts platform generated $38,972 a month, a 13.9% increase over 2020, and the average annual revenue per dealer reached over $600,000, adding massive revenue to their parts department.   This increase in sales comes with a new shift in the way consumers buy parts. Not only are they buying online, but year-over-year, more consumers are buying parts from their mobile devices.  In 2020, most people did their online shopping via desktop. However, in 2021 mobile shopping surpassed desktop purchases for the first time, with 49.3% of people using mobile to make their online purchases, which is an 8.4% increase from 2020. This points to the growing importance of targeting parts buyers on the move with a high-quality, responsive web store and a shopping experience that is also mobile-friendly.  This report shows how important it is for dealers who want to continue to grow their parts business and provide a modern customer experience to sell parts online. Parts buyers are shopping online in high numbers from their desktops and mobile phones. Having a successful parts business means meeting your customers where they are.    Get the Full 2021 eCommerce Year-In-Review Report  The  RevolutionParts 2021 Parts eCommerce Year in Review  provides a look into the performance and top eCommerce trends in 2021, including insights from how and when people are shopping for parts, to the top parts and accessories they are buying. To view the full report, visit:  https://www.revolutionparts.com/ebook/2021-parts-ecommerce-year-in-review/
What Dealers Want From Their OEM Programs

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Automotive manufacturers create programs for their dealers to improve operations, drive up sales, and increase customer loyalty. But how successful are these programs in actually driving results for the dealers? RevolutionParts conducted a survey asking hundreds of dealers how effective they thought their OEM programs were and what areas they felt needed the most improvement. As a whole, dealers who adopted their OEM programs generally liked them, which is great news for manufacturers. This means their dealers see value in adopting and running these programs. Currently, OEM programs permeate the entire dealership, but more so in the parts department than anywhere else. In fact, a whopping 84% of dealers use OEM programs in their parts department. The three most significant considerations dealers take into account when deciding whether to adopt an OEM program are:  The overall cost of the program Overall sales impact and life directly from the program The success of other dealerships using this program Although dealers were generally satisfied with their OEM programs, they also reported that they wanted these programs to provide more resources and incentives to help drive their sales more effectively. More than half of them also felt like the program was designed to be more beneficial for the manufacturer than for their dealership. Areas of Improvement for Manufacturers One of the biggest concerns among dealers was program communication. Up to 50% of dealers reported that manufacturers needed to improve communication around their programs to help and provide more employee training and support. Nearly 45% of dealers said that manufacturers needed to expand OEM programs to better reflect current and future business models.  When asked what manufacturers needed to work on, dealers said they wanted:   Easier to use programs (especially for online sales) Higher-quality training for employees Better customer service support Consistent inventory tracking Offer higher-value incentives for dealers to drive sales Improvements made to each of these areas will help dealers improve their eCommerce sales, help them engage with their customers more positively, increase customer retention, and build customer loyalty.  Dealers Want More eCommerce Support Today, most dealers understand that the way people do business is changing, as more people are going online to shop for cars, parts, and accessories, and to schedule service appointments. Dealers today are looking for eCommerce solutions to help them expand their business online and reach their overall goals, an area most dealers feel their programs are lacking.  While most dealers are willing to adopt their OEM programs to support their eCommerce goals, dealers felt that these programs could use some upgrades. This is a big opportunity for manufacturers to change along with their dealerships to offer better eCommerce solutions.  Get the Full OEM Program Satisfaction Survey Results The RevolutionParts OEM Program Satisfaction Survey gives insight into the needs of dealerships across multiple areas of OEM programs, overall OEM program satisfaction, and what OEMs can offer their dealers to help drive their business growth goals. View the full report here .
The Power of Return Parts Buyers

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You probably know the age-old business adage that it’s cheaper to sell to an existing customer than it is to acquire a new one. In fact, it’s about 5x more expensive to acquire a new customer than it is to sell to an existing customer. It’s been reported that increasing customer retention by 5% can yield a 25 - 95% increase in profit for your business. Furthermore, the average success rate of selling to an existing customer is 60-70%, while that of a new customer is just 5-20%.  All customers are important, but not all of those customers are created. Although every vehicle owner is a valued potential parts customer, the difference is between new and returning shoppers. RevolutionParts recently looked at a year’s worth of data consisting of over 100 million unique users. Based on the data, here is why return parts customers are so important: They lead to more purchases They spend more money They bring in additional business Return Parts Buyers Make Up More Than Half of RevolutionParts Web Store Visitors RevolutionParts shopper behavior data shows that return shoppers account for 54.9% of visits, where new shoppers account for a lesser 45.1%. Source: RevolutionParts eCommerce Shopper Behavior Report More than half of web store visitors are return customers; this emphasizes the importance of nurturing customer loyalty through marketing and outreach after the initial point-of-sale.  Return Part Buyers Spend More Money It’s no secret that you want customers to spend more in your parts department, and that is exactly what return customers do. Return shoppers to RevolutionParts web stores spend $65 more per order on average. Once someone makes a purchase from your web store, they are likely to spend more money the next time they purchase a part from you.  Return Part Buyers Convert at a Higher Rate Getting someone to come to your web store costs ad dollars. Once someone lands on your website, your job is to convert them into customers. The higher your conversion rate, the less money each conversion costs you. Return parts shoppers convert at 2X the rate of new visitors, meaning they will take less money to acquire. Return Part Buyers Bring The Customers to You Word-of-mouth is a blessing to your marketing budget. After all, it’s free advertising. Generally, research has shown that return customers refer 50% more people than one-time buyers. When you give customers an affordable, convenient, and reliable shopping experience, not only will they come back for future needs, they’ll tell their friends and family to shop with you too. That means you stand to gain new customers at absolutely no cost. RevolutionParts found that over 5% of gross sales came from referrals. Get the Full eCommerce Shopper Behavior Report The RevolutionParts eCommerce Shopper Behavior Report gives insight into the behavior of new and returning customers, including demographics, the devices your customers are using to purchase their items, and customer traffic sources. To view the full report, visit: https://www.revolutionparts.com/