OEC Blog

So you’re telling me there’s a chance! Opportunities for parts sales in categories you might not have thought you had a shot in

So you’re telling me there’s a chance! Opportunities for parts sales in categories you might not have thought you had a shot in

When you think of parts sales, you probably don’t think of Jim Carrey’s character, Lloyd Christmas, from the movie Dumb and Dumber, but he has a bit of (valid) advice that you can use at your dealership.

It’s probably revealing too much about myself to say that Dumb and Dumber is one of my favorite movies. In one memorable scene, Lloyd asks his love interest, Mary Swanson, what his chances are with her. When she replies, “one out of a million,” Lloyd briefly appears discouraged, and then he lights up. “So, you’re telling me there’s a chance!” he says, happy to have a shot at true love.

Most of us laugh at this scene since those odds are so low it’s humorous. But Lloyd has a pretty valid point (even if the odds are audaciously small).

Where am I going with this? If you’ve lived in the world of parts sales, you know the aftermarket is capturing way more business from shop and DIY customers than OEM dealerships. You might be fighting the “good fight” to try to win this business away from the competition, or you may have just given up.

Catching the eye of the mysterious “DIY Shopper”

We all know shops would prefer to work with OE parts. They fit better, and there’s less of a chance for returns and rework. Yet, the aftermarket continues to crush the competition in many categories. But why?

With DIY shoppers, it’s mostly an awareness issue, according to the Aftermarket Business World 2016 Consumer Attitude Study. DIY shoppers might have some pre-conceived notions about OE parts – namely that they’re overpriced – or they might not even know they can purchase directly from a dealership. In the study, aftermarket auto parts stores were the top places consumers purchased parts in a variety of categories. Surprisingly, price is not the top influencer in shoppers making purchases – brand name and recommendation take top honors.

In the study, dealerships made the cut, but near or at the bottom. But you do have a chance to be competitive! We know that OE parts are priced competitively and customers are looking for quality. The hard part is in reaching the customer before they decide to go another route.

Before we get into how to reach potential customers, let’s look at a few of the parts categories to see where opportunities exist:


Other parts categories listed in the study had zero purchases from a dealership, so we won’t not focus on those.

Obvious (and not so obvious) ways to reach your potential customers

Television or newspaper ads in your local market could catch some attention. These tactics can capture a large audience who might not know about your dealership or even consider it an option to buy OE parts.

Don’t have the budget to pull this off? How about something free or nearly free? Parts shoppers in the study were also influenced by the internet and email. You can easily reach this group through pricing promotions – just making them aware that you have parts they’re looking for can go a long way! Use your dealership’s social media channels to get the word out (and post frequently!).

Customers who have purchased a vehicle through your dealership can be potential recipients for an email campaign. Purchasing a car is the first opportunity for your dealership to educate your customers on the importance of OE parts. You can use social media for this as well.

Need more ideas? Listen to this podcast we did on using promotions.

There IS a chance to increase DIY parts sales

If you don’t do a lot of DIY business now, have you considered taking your parts business to the next level? Read about the benefits of having an online estore. That will make your chances to compete even greater – and no longer one in a million!