​Why Dealers Should Sell OE Parts Online

Retail ecommerce is a newer area for dealers and, as we all know, change can be hard.

Dealers ask us all the time if selling their OE parts online to consumers is a good idea. It is an understandable question. Retail ecommerce is a new area for most dealers and, as we all know, change can be hard. Here are a few reasons why you should consider selling your OE Parts online.

Capture a New Audience
One of the main reasons to sell parts online is to capture a new audience outside of normal wholesale. You have a captive audience with your collision and mechanical parts. This system is firmly in place because you have local body shops and repair shops that are already buying parts from you. But what about the general public that wants OE parts?

There are literally millions of customers out there searching for car parts online. Capturing this new audience means increased revenue for your dealership. The great thing about this new audience is they can be from anywhere in the country. You are no longer only competing locally, although you may choose to do so; now, you can position yourself to compete nationally. This can be a powerful way to sell OE parts because pricing trends exist for different parts in various areas of the country. You have an opportunity to follow these trends regardless of location.

Who is this new audience? It's the “direct to consumer” market segment, which is comprised of DIY (do it yourself) and DIFM (do it for me) customers. DIFM sales are growing fast as people discover they can save money by ordering parts themselves.

eCommerce is Growing Rapidly
According to research from Hedges and Co., online parts sales will surpass $10 billion in 2018 alone, and it is only growing from there.


Dealers are Letting the Aftermarket Dominate
The aftermarket is capturing more than 90% of those sales because most dealerships don’t compete in this space. Most customers have only ordered aftermarket parts because dealerships haven’t made their online presence known, nor have they made it convenient for customers to buy OE parts. However, modern ecommerce solutions are making it much easier to start selling parts online. As a result, dealerships are starting to make their presence known in the ecommerce space.

Is it easy to sell parts online?

Ok, so you know you’ll be able to capture a new audience and you know the industry is booming, but you might be wondering if you will have the time to develop and maintain this new revenue stream. The answer to the question “is it easy to sell parts online?” is not a yes or no proposition.

Before modern technology and ecommerce platforms, selling in this space would be extremely complicated. You would need a deep understanding for web development, industry trends, search engine optimization and search engine marketing. Nowadays, with the right ecommerce solution, most of this stuff is handled for you.

That being said, we do not recommend you treat your retail ecommerce technology as a ‘set it and forget it’ solution. We find that the top performers are very engaged with marketing goals, pricing and shipping adjustments and industry trends. Learn more about how top-performers sell parts online here.

Can you make money selling parts online?

If you do things the right way, the answer is yes. We don’t know the stats for other ecommerce platforms, but with our solution, ConsumerLink Pro, we have some dealers selling over $20,000 worth of parts per month online. We also have other dealers selling $0 per month.

The main reason that second group of dealers aren’t selling anything is because they are not marketing their parts effectively. Beyond that, the unsuccessful dealers have not optimized their margins and shipping rates.

Read more about why marketing is the most critical thing you can do to sell parts online here.

One more thing to keep in mind

Selling online is a great opportunity for your dealership to start selling more parts, but you have to go into it knowing it is going to be different from the wholesale business you are used to. Different is not a bad thing, different just means a new mindset.

You are selling the same parts from the same inventory, but because you are competing online instead of within your local market, it brings a unique set of challenges you may not have faced before. In the end, if you partner with a trusted ecommerce solution, selling online is a great opportunity because you will establish part sales in a new market segment!

Create a huge revenue stream for your dealership and open up your parts department to a completely new set of customers.
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