Article

Parts and Accessory Sales Online: Know What and When To Sell Through Research

March 2008, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

by Rob Chesney - Also by this author

If you’ve thought about selling parts and accessories online but don’t know where to start, consider doing some homework first. If you already sell online, but want to know whether another product can deliver the margins you require or whether the market is big enough to support another seller, searching the history of those parts and sale prices can provide a wealth of data.

Approximately 13 million unique visitors (i.e. potential buyers) visit eBay Motors each month. The site is consistently ranked the No. 1 automotive site on the Web by Nielsen/NetRatings. To be successful, sellers need to understand the dynamics of the eBay marketplace: supply and demand, the effectiveness of listing enhancements, timing, pricing, communication and more. To find out what some of those 13 million visitors have purchased and the average price products sell for, eBay Marketplace Research offers sales performance data for specific products and categories.

Know the Market Before Selling
eBay Marketplace Research is an online tool that provides subscribers with transparency into the marketplace in order to gauge the sales performance of specific products and categories.  The tool includes parts and accessories data with access of up to 90 days of historical listings to help answer questions such as: How many products are typically available? At what rate do they sell? What is the average price of the item?

Research allows sellers to see past sales performance of parts and accessories in order to assess the demand for that product. Then sellers can identify the most profitable products by learning about the demand and average sales prices for those items. In addition, sellers can learn more about advanced information like the sell-through rate, which is the number of items sold versus the number available on the site.

To be a smart online seller, it’s helpful to know what the competition is selling, how they are doing it and if they are successful. Through the marketplace tool, sellers can research other sellers and investigate the potential of eBay sites in other markets and countries.

Formulate Listing Strategies Based on Data
Looking at the average selling price and sell-through rate of various listings of the same product can often point to listing characteristics that yield more successful results. Listing characteristics include what listing features were used, the day and time the auction ends and the listing format.

In addition, noting the titles and descriptions that have worked for the same or similar items can help format a competitive listing. The “top searches” module also lists the most common search terms based on keyword or category. Including these most common keywords within listing titles can increase the exposure of listings to more buyers.

What to Research
Sellers can research various historical data in the parts and accessories category in the United States, Germany and Australia. However, no vehicle information is included.

eBay Marketplace Research is available in three tiers: a fast pass, which offers a two-day subscription of 60 days of historical data; basic, which is a monthly subscription with 60 days of historical data; and pro, which offers 90 days of historical data and advanced filters.

Within the pro tier, advanced filters are available that enable subscribers to see listing results based on a specific seller or within a specific country site. This can assist sellers with benchmarking their sales performance with that of the market and cross-border trade to determine the sales performance of products by country.

Communication is Essential
The golden rule of merchandising online is to always provide as much information as possible.  Research shows buyers are more likely to purchase online when they feel comfortable that they have been given all the information they need.  Providing detailed photos, disclosing even the tiniest defects and offering the full list of compatible vehicles for those parts and accessories will help make your potential customers more confident buying from you. 

Take care also to communicate with each and every prospective online buyer. Answering questions and being open to negotiation will help increase sales, build a reputation as an online seller and ultimately, enhance profitability by encouraging more buyers to bid more confidently.

Web traffic varies daily. In the United States for example, more people are online during working hours than evenings or weekends.  When getting started, it is always smart to set up a few test sales and see which listings receive the best prices. Determining what to sell and when to sell it can help build your dealership’s parts and accessories business online. What the most active and successful  sellers all have in common is they know that the effort required to manage listings online pays for itself time and again in increased profits. 

Vol 5, Issue1

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