Article

Your Part In Online Sales: Parts & Accessories Find New Homes Online

December 2006, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

by Rob Chesney - Also by this author

Most dealerships have already learned how to use the Internet to help their customers compare, select and purchase their new cars and trucks. The savviest dealers have gone beyond the showroom to find additional profits on the shelves of their parts departments – through direct sales of parts and accessories to customers online. These dealers have found that expanding their online commitment to the backroom can improve financial performance and expand relationships, as customers increasingly turn to the Web to buy parts and accessories.

Today, parts and accessories are being sold online by manufacturers, dealers, distributors, retailers, liquidators and small businesses run by entrepreneurs. According to Forrester and Shop.org’s The State of Retailing Online 2006 report, the automotive and automotive parts industries online were worth more than $13.1 billion of revenue in 2005, and projected revenue growth from 2005 to 2006 is 22 percent.

Dealers are finding real success listing closeouts, overstocks, returns, scratch-and-dents and large wholesale lots online. Many have found a simple and profitable venue after they’ve exhausted their return credits but still have closeout and excess items remaining. They are quickly turning aged inventory and components that otherwise would have languished for months in the parts and service department into easy sales dollars. At the same time, they’re attracting new customers who return repeatedly for parts and accessories and thereby become prime prospects for vehicle sales as well.

All told, selling parts and accessories online lowers overhead expenses, increases revenue and turns over inventory much more rapidly than previously expected. Dealerships in particular have gained extraordinary results selling online, leveraging third-party sites like eBay Motors to reach millions of prospective customers and drive up profits. The results speak for themselves – at any time on eBay Motors, there are approximately one million parts and accessories available for sale, and a part or accessory sells every single second.

Making the Most of Your Online Merchandising

The key to building successful online sales is developing your own unique combination of the three things your online customers want most: an established and professional seller, knowledgeable and accessible customer service, and thorough and available information.

Meeting these basic demands of online buyers is the first step to profitable online sales. eBay Motors recommends that every dealer take care to use the same marketing and branding efforts online as they would on the sales floor. If possible, dedicate a person or team to manage online sales and provide the necessary customer support.

How Your Buyers Search

Most buyers find the items they want by entering terms into a search engine, either on the site or a general search engine such as Yahoo or Google. Consider the following points when writing descriptions for online listings:

  • Include as many key words as possible in the title of the listing. Listing titles like “Rebuilt Apex Ceramic Brake Pads Ford Focus SVT 2002-2004” provide more information and draw in more buyers than generic listing titles like “Focus Brake Pads.”
  • Include the condition, make, model and year(s) for the part or accessory in the title, since this information is entered routinely in consumer searches.
  • Be clear, specific and accurate. Avoid hard-to-interpret abbreviations. Misspellings can cause search engines to skip over your listing since a misspelled word doesn’t match the correct word that the prospective buyer may enter.
  • Use your experience – what words you would enter if you were searching for the item? Do your own search for items like yours to see which combination of key words works best and have yielded the highest prices for completed items.

Good photos are critical to your listing. To attract the highest volume of buyers and the highest prices:

  • Place the item’s photo at the top of the listing, where it will be seen immediately.
  • Keep the photo file size under 50 kb to accommodate different computer speeds.
  • Provide multiple photos and a variety of angles. Buyers want to see as much as possible.

Buyers online are searching for as much information as possible. Providing many details in your listing’s description will help establish you as a knowledgeable professional, build consumers’ trust and reduce the number of questions your customers will ask before committing to a purchase. In addition to make/model/year, include the item’s condition and other details in short paragraphs or bullet points, pointing out specific dollar savings or exceptional product features.

Your Options When Selling Online

A number of selling formats are available on eBay Motors, each of which fit different buyer needs.

· The traditional auction listing format allows prospective buyers to bid on each item, selling to the highest bidder.

· A “Buy it Now” listing allows the seller to offer each item at a fixed price.

· A “Best Offer” listing allows buyers to send offers to the seller, who can then select the best offer and complete the sale. Best Offer also allows buyers and sellers to negotiate and reach a price that is acceptable for both.

Clearly state your policies for:

  • Shipping terms and conditions, including all available shipping methods and the shipping price.
  • Payment options, including online payment services such as PayPal, credit cards or other payment methods you accept.
  • Warranty information, to help overcome buyer resistance to purchasing an unseen product online.
  • Return policy, one of the major concerns of online shoppers.
  • Sales tax information, where applicable.
Regardless of the type of online sales channel you choose, expanding your parts and accessories business on the Internet is a fast and profitable way to maximize your sales. Selling parts and accessories online can become the front door for lead generation, maintaining customer relationships and substantially higher profits.
 
Vol 3, Issue 10

Your Comment

Please note that comments may be moderated. 
Leave this field empty:
Your Name:  
Your Email:  

Blog

On-the-Point

Jim Ziegler
Fasten Those Seatbelts

By Jim Ziegler
With a major slowdown imminent, Da Man says it’s time to ditch those new-age theories and get back to the basics.

Objects in the Rearview Mirror

By Jim Ziegler
The past is right behind us and the future is coming fast. The Alpha Dawg plots a course for your store’s success and shares advice for Elon Musk, Johan de Nysschen, and pre-owned managers.

The Big Talent Drain

By Jim Ziegler

A Faster Horse

By Jim Ziegler

Opening Observations

Over the Curb