Most independent repair shops use a Shop Management System (SMS), like Mitchell1, R.O.Writer or something similar. They also use parts procurement systems, like RepairLink Shop, that integrate with their SMS. But what about franchised dealers?
If you’re a dealer, you likely use a Dealer Management System (DMS), a similar concept to what shops use. So the simple answer to who should use an online parts procurement system, is YOU! You need a parts procurement system to capture online OE part sales – and there are more opportunities than you think.
Selling online provides you a new revenue stream
We know you rely heavily on the phone, along with occasional faxes, for your parts orders. But did you know that 52% of shops purchase parts when your parts department isn’t open? That means you’re missing out on a significant amount of sales. Selling online means you’re open 24/7, can receive orders any time and can have orders ready to be filled when you arrive in the morning.
If you sell your OE parts online, you get even more opportunities for selling parts on top of the phone orders you already receive. So don’t put all your eggs in one basket, a.k.a. the phone.
Displaying your inventory online can save a phone call or two
With DMS integration with a parts procurement solution like RepairLink, you can have your inventory updated every single day. You know how important inventory is to shops. Making it easy to see your inventory on the screen will give your staff (and shop staff) time to focus on more important tasks, like fulfilling orders.
Miscommunication on parts requested goes way down
If you don’t currently use a parts procurement system, your shop customers likely call and tell you what part numbers they want, or they may describe the parts they need. It’s your counter staff’s job to make sure they heard it right or that the customer said it right. And unfortunately, that doesn’t always happen correctly. Making your inventory available online eliminates most errors and much of the back-and-forth phone calls with your shops.
Selling online gives your shops the whole picture
Shops call you for specific parts. Many times, they forget parts affiliated with the parts they called for. Some part procurement systems, like RepairLink, show illustrations and diagrams of the parts – all the parts they need.
Selling online will not damage your current customer relationships
If you think that by selling online you will lose the relationships you have with your customers, think again. Many of our dealers tell us their shop relationships are not remotely tarnished by offering their parts online. Their phone conversations change from several part availability calls to one order confirmation call. However, phone calls will not completely disappear by selling online.
Think about your own buying habits and what drives your purchasing behavior. 82% of buyers are influenced by a manufacturer’s online presence¹, so it’s not really an option to neglect your online presence anymore. For your parts department (regardless of size), this means you need to be where your buyers are. And your buyers are using online parts procurement solutions, like RepairLink.
¹Hedges & Company, 2016.