Ibrahim Mesbah

CEO & Co-founder | RevolutionParts

Ibrahim has been 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 worked in software development for both Inter-Tel and PayPal before the idea for RevolutionParts was born in 2013. Ibrahim believes that it is time for dealers to transform the way parts buyers and sellers connect. The company is on a mission to disrupt and innovate the automotive space by creating the most active parts network in North America. He has led the startup to over 1,300 customers and $1 billion in part and accessory sales since inception.
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/
Auto Parts & Accessories eCommerce: Amazon and eBay

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It's no surprise to anyone, let alone anyone working in or around a dealership, that the automobile industry is a powerhouse — generating almost a trillion dollars each year in the United States. At about 3.5% of the U.S. GDP, there's no denying the importance it plays, even with online sales alone. The same is true for the parts and accessories portion of this behemoth industry.  Specific to online sales for auto parts and accessories, the year-over-year (YOY) growth is unmistakable. According to the  RevolutionParts 2020 Parts eCommerce Year in Review,  sales through just RevolutionParts have grown 117% over the last three years — and they aren't stopping. Even more impressive, when you look at the totality of aftermarket eCommerce, the growth rate for 2021 is expected to be over 30%, with an estimated $390 billion in sales according to Hedges & Company, a research firm specializing in the automotive aftermarket industry. And when it comes to eCommerce, are there any bigger players than Amazon and eBay? That's an easy no.  Not only are they huge players, but their sales are soaring more than ever, especially during our current era of COVID-19. During the pandemic, many people have been spending most, if not all, of their time at home which gives car enthusiasts ample time to tinker on hobby cars. Or, many people just aren't in the position to purchase a new car, which means an increase in making whatever vehicle they have last longer through repairs and the purchase of parts or accessories. For 2020, that resulted in a dramatic increase in parts and accessory sales. And it's expected to keep climbing.  Big Business of Amazon and eBay Among the many surprises of 2020, one of them was an unbelievable $861 billion in online sales and a YOY increase of 44% for the year, according to the estimates by Digital Commerce 360. Given the stay-at-home directives during the pandemic, people obviously did more shopping online, which gave way to the highest U.S. eCommerce growth jump in two decades — nearly tripling the growth rate in 2019. Even more stunning, Amazon alone accounted for almost a third of all U.S. eCommerce in 2020.  Likewise, eBay's U.S. marketplace had stellar growth rates, with gross-value sales increasing 22% to $37.53 billion throughout 2020. This growth was, in part, due to the addition of 11 million new customers last year, as reported by Digital Commerce 360. Also, it happened to be their highest annual sales growth since at least 2013. Tapping into the Successes of Amazon and eBay  According to Hedges & Company, Amazon is aggressively going after the auto parts market at a claim of nearly $7 billion in sales for aftermarket and OEM replacement parts. With more than 300 million consumers on Amazon, and 46.7% of U.S. online shoppers using it as a platform to start product searches, it's one of the ideal places to find buyers looking to do exactly that, buy. Similar to its counterpart, eBay continues to have impressive sales in the auto parts market. Every minute of everyday buyers are tapping eBay for their auto parts and accessories needs. And the numbers are there to prove it, with eBay itself reporting that throughout 2018 and into the first half of 2019, there were approximately 90 million live auto parts listings. That means, for every second those listings existed, three auto parts sales took place. For the category of wheels and tires, a sale took place every six seconds. That's a lot of parts sold in just the time it took you to get to this point in the article, even for the quickest of readers. eBay also claims that auto parts have been among the top 20 best-selling products to date since June of 2020.  When it comes to dealers looking to increase revenue, the growth of auto parts and accessories eCommerce is a huge opportunity for them to capture consumers online. Dealers selling on Amazon with RevolutionParts alone generated $11,014,300 in revenue in 2020. And for dealerships selling on eBay through RevolutionParts, it was an incredible $38,133,774. As a great complement to their own online store, dealerships are quickly and affordably gaining access to a growing market on Amazon and eBay while successfully increasing their sales volume and revenue. Summary Although both are fantastic platforms for parts and accessory sales, each has its differences and unique challenges to consider. Whether it's   the incredibly high standards for accuracy and customer service, optimizing to get the right traffic, or navigating the tricky balance of pricing and free vs. charged shipping. It often takes more time than many dealerships have available and consideration should therefore be given to enlisting the help of third-party specialists. 
What You Should Pay Attention to When Selling Parts Online

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Online parts and accessories eCommerce is a great source of revenue for many dealers. By moving their parts departments online, dealerships have the opportunity to tap into a market set to hit $20 billion by the end of this year. However, a 2018 Supreme Court ruling could be putting dealerships and their parts business at risk if they do not pay attention. South Dakota v. Wayfair, Inc.  ruled that states are allowed to charge taxes on purchases made from out-of-state sellers, even if the seller doesn’t have a physical presence in that state. What this means for dealers selling online is that if they are selling to customers in different states, they are on the hook for charging taxes to  the states the customers live in . It’s important that dealerships review the collection requirements and collection compliance regulations to protect themselves from unsolicited tax violations. It’s also important to educate themselves on the ways they can simplify taxes with regards to what are called  marketplace facilitator laws . Understanding a nexus To be liable for the collection and remittance of sales tax, a dealer must achieve a nexus in the state they are conducting business. There are a few ways a nexus can be established; however, the two most common are having a physical presence within the state they’re selling to and meeting an “economic threshold.” The criteria for a  physical nexus  can be met by having any of the following within that state: A physical storefront  A product warehouse Storage property within a facility Fulfillment centers On the other hand,   an  economic threshold  is based on a specific volume of transactions or revenue. There are more than 30 states that participate in these laws and many of them have different thresholds. This is why it’s important for dealers to find the least tedious way to monitor nexus compliance. Paying the states that you owe money Once your dealerships figures out the nexus for the states it is doing business or has done business in, you have to register with that state, begin collecting taxes, and remit tax payments to those states. This is where things get tricky. Many states have multiple tax jurisdictions that you might need to register for separately. Additionally, some states differentiate between sales tax, seller’s use tax, and consumer’s use tax on registration applications and tax returns. So, in addition to determining where to register, your dealership has to figure out which taxes it’s responsible for. It might sound like an overwhelming process, but the most important thing to do first is to get registered — collecting taxes without registration  is  illegal. Once the registration is complete, your dealership will have to start collecting taxes immediately. Avoid the risks When selling online, state government entities expect you to not only  charge  sales tax but to collect and remit it as well. Since sales tax is one of the largest income sources for states, they don’t take it lightly. If you fail to charge the correct sales tax to your buyers, they will come for you and expect you to pay that money somehow. This puts your dealership at risk of being audited, which could cost your dealership a lot of money. So, when selling parts and accessories online, it’s important that you are filing all the right taxes appropriately to avoid violations. Find a solution to streamline the process Dealers need the right people on their side when it comes to collecting and remitting taxes if they’re selling online across state lines. However, your internal finance team may not have the time or resources to handle all of the calculating, collecting, remitting, and reporting themselves. That’s why it may be easier to find a vendor that’s experienced with sales tax compliance. For example, RevolutionParts builds and operates online part-selling platforms on behalf of our partners. We are considered a “marketplace” with the legal authority to file sales taxes on behalf of our customers. We make sure that the proper tax is collected, dealers are in compliance with tax regulations, and they have access to all reports distributed to tax authorities. Find your dealership a partner that’s looking out for your best interest. The last thing we want to see is a dealer being audited for improper tax filing! Make sure you understand  the tax laws in the states you sell in , and that your dealership has the means necessary to collect and remit them legally. Sources: 1. Avalara, Sales tax laws by state 2. AICPA, South Dakota v. Wayfair
The Importance of Diversifying Your Revenue Streams at Your Dealership

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Recently, major shifts in the automotive industry have all been traced back to the COVID pandemic. While we could talk all day about the numbers and what it means for dealerships now, what we should be talking about is what dealers can learn from this entire dilemma.  While we’ve experienced multiple recessions, we have never experienced a pandemic in the automotive industry. For dealers coming out of 2020, it’s time to seriously consider diversifying your revenue streams and investing in digital tools across the board. What We’ve Learned from the Drop-in Car Sales It’s no surprise that in a recession, car sales falter. We’ve seen this plenty of times before, and we’ll most likely see it again. What was different this time around wasn’t just the fact that customers were wary about making large purchases like a new vehicle; those who wanted to buy were scared to go into the dealership in fear of the virus. Investing in digital tools  to sell your cars online quickly became the solution. So, now that shoppers know online car buying is a possibility, new behaviors and habits have been created. Car buyers are going to expect this new experience to be the norm from here on out. If your dealership doesn’t adapt to this new buyer behavior, you’ll lose out on car sales. A customer will more than likely go to the dealership that  does  offer them the opportunity to shop and purchase all online. However, this doesn’t mean it’s time to put all your eggs in one basket. Even when the pandemic has passed, consumers will still be concerned about buying cars. Unemployment is still high and job security will continue to be a huge issue for many people. While investing in online car selling is one option of investment, there are places in fixed ops you should be shifting towards as well. Why the Service Department Saw a Decline Historically speaking, the service department has always been recession-proof. Customers prefer to put extra care into the cars they have during a recession rather than buy a new one. But in March alone,  service requests fell a whopping 56% across the US . So, what happened? Social distancing happened. While dealerships and their service drives were labeled an “essential service”, car owners were still scared of the pandemic spreading. They not only stopped coming in for regular maintenance, but they were driving much less.  Many businesses have either made working-from-home mandatory well into 2021, or they’ve decided to go remote permanently. Half the nation is keeping schools, gyms, and bars shut down, and people still aren’t traveling as much as they used to. This has been leading to less mileage on cars and therefore, less maintenance required. Luckily, service requests have gone back up since. But, the fear is still there that this could happen again with a second wave.  While you shouldn’t give up on service, there is another department in fixed ops that has been coming out on top that you should consider investing in. How Many Dealers Found Solace in the Parts Department It’s not shocking that we saw part and accessory sales skyrocket since the rollout of stimulus checks in April. Online part and accessory sales have been a huge revenue stream that continues to grow, and 2020 has been the year where it all blew up (in a good way). With social distancing, shoppers weren’t going to come to your parts counter to order the parts and accessories they needed. For almost everything, consumers have turned to eCommerce to get the products they need, and parts were not left out of the equation. For dealerships using the RevolutionParts platform,  we saw online part sales increase an average of 50%  between June and July 2020 compared to the year before.  DIYers had a lot more time on their hands to work on their project cars, mechanics who work a side business or might have been laid off found a way to provide for themselves, and even your average Joe and Jane found that they could do a few minor maintenance repairs at home. It turns out your garage is a great place for social distancing! Dealers who had already begun diversifying their revenue streams and invested in online parts and accessories saw the reward and the proof they were looking for. Parts and accessories aren’t a revenue stream to be ignored. Where You Need to Diversify & Invest The best option for any dealership right now is to invest efficiently during this downtime. Reevaluate your business model and figure out where you can be diversifying your income and innovate new ways to generate revenue. No matter what department you look at, there has been an increase in online demand — and an increase in demand to do business in different ways. Your customers are online, and digital tools and business models are the keys to building a parts business and dealership of tomorrow. Invest in the proper tools now, and you will start generating more profitable revenue for your business. Sources: 1. https://www.autonews.com/retail/pandemic-accelerates-adoption-digital-tools 2. https://www.autonews.com/service/parts-and-service-pandemic 3. https://www.revolutionparts.com/auto-trends-due-to-covid/