OEC Blog

Shop concern of the month: The impact of Amazon

Shop concern of the month: The impact of Amazon

If you would have predicted an online bookstore would shake up the Aftermarket parts market, I’m not sure I would have believed you. Yet here we are, 24 years after Amazon began in Jeff Bezos garage, and repair shops are facing the harsh reality and feeling the impact of this online parts ordering goliath.

As a consumer, Amazon delivers. Two-day shipping with a focus on me, the customer? Sign me up. But as a business owner, the tune is a bit different.

Amazon has definitely shaken up the Aftermarket. And while both dealers and Aftermarket retailers clearly see the monetary threat of a successful online retailer, independent repair facilities are seeing some different issues.

Blurring the line between DIY and DIFM

With a highly-respected online retailer like Amazon, Do-It-Yourself (DIY) customers see a new avenue to purchase parts. For Do-It-For-Me customers (DIFM), they see an opportunity, too.

Believe it or not, some DIFM customers are trying to save a few dollars by buying repair parts they believe their vehicle needs on Amazon and having them shipped directly to their preferred repair shop, without first checking with the repair shop who will be doing the repair. Seems like an expedited way of doing things, right? Not exactly. Here are a few issues shops are encountering:

  • Customers buying the wrong parts.
  • If customers buy the wrong part, it has to be returned creating repair delays, and additional costs
  • Customers not buying all the parts needed.
  • Some shops are not comfortable with the quality of parts purchased, and fear reliability will fall on the shop if the part fails.
  • Shops don’t have the capacity to store the parts customers are ordering.

How to help your shops

There are a few ways you have the upper hand over Amazon – which can be to both your and your shops’ benefit.

  • If you aren’t already, make sure you have an online presence for shops. Making your inventory as readily available as Amazon can help shops show their customers that the best parts online are actually local. If you’re not online, RepairLink can help get you started.
  • Tell your shops you always have the right parts – and right now. Make sure your parts availability is up-to-date and ensure your dealership is always the first click when Amazon issues arise.
  • If you’re on RepairLink, you likely can compete against Amazon prices. RepairLink has six OEMs with promotional part programs to compete on the main issue of pricing. Shops can explain to their customers that the best-priced part doesn’t have to be from a brand they’ve never heard of.
  • Create a promotion where you will match or give a discount to the same parts on Amazon. Shops can relay this to their customers and get the right parts, they’ll use OE parts, and you’ll get the sale. Win-win-win.
  • Embrace retail eCommerce. You know DIY customers are shopping online, so why not give them the opportunity to buy your parts? It can be easy and profitable to sell parts directly to online consumers with ecommerce platforms like ConsumerLink Pro.

Will Amazon continue to shake up the Aftermarket? Absolutely. The mere basis of the company is to continue to be ever-evolving. Learning how to adapt and grow will have to be the inevitable goal of both dealers and shops alike.