The online automotive aftermarket industry has increased over the past several years, as traditional brick-and-mortar retailers have been steadily transitioning to online marketplaces. In fact, a McKinsey auto parts and accessories market survey has also predicted a 3% per year increase, at least until 2030. This growth also coincides with how more and more customers are turning to online shopping. Statistics also indicate that online sales of auto parts and accessories in the United States will increase to $19 billion by 2022. That’s up from $12 billion in 2019.
Given these figures about buying and selling aftermarket auto parts online, it should come as no surprise that so many auto parts businesses are looking to invest in the online marketplace. However, 80% of those operating in the industry do not feel well prepared when it comes to the transition. The main reasons involve a lack of strategic focus, skills, insufficient digital resources, and know-how. We hope this article will provide a sufficient knowledge base on how those looking to sell auto parts online will better implement their business plans going forward.
What Auto Parts and Accessories Will You Be Selling Online?
Before you start selling aftermarket auto parts and accessories online, you will also need to take into consideration the actual products you want to sell and why. Are you looking to compete in a larger automotive arena or specialize in specific products? By knowing the products you want to focus on, you will be in a far better position to structure your eCommerce website and other sales channels, to provide a seamless and better overall user experience. This will, in turn, increase your number of sales and reduce shopping cart abandonment and costly returns. By and large, automotive aftermarket products can be classified as follows:
- Exterior Parts and Accessories – This category includes everything from grills, bumpers, hubcaps, rims, tires, wind deflectors, front flips, side skirts, and more. It’s important to keep in mind that these types of aftermarket auto parts are less fragile than internal parts and components, but they will often require bigger shipping boxes.
- Interior Parts and Accessories – This is a broad category of components and accessories that can include transmissions, cylinders, spark plugs, floor mats, window tints, seat covers, dash kits, shifter knobs, molding trims, and more. Unlike exterior components, interior ones will have to be more carefully packaged and be protected with plenty of bubble wrap.
- Tools – Wrenches, jacks, and various other heavy tools can be added to this category.
- Lighting Products – Lighting and LED lights also make up a highly lucrative sector of the accessories market. Brake lights, taillights, turn signals, headlights, trunk lights, halo lights, HIDs, projectors, and more, fall in this category. Not surprisingly, these products are also very fragile and need to be handled with care.
Define Your Automotive Aftermarket Niche to Improve Results
A great way of maximizing your profits when building an auto parts eCommerce business is to focus on specific parts and accessories. As previously mentioned, niching yourself on specific parts will help you deliver better overall shopping experiences. For example, if you develop your auto parts business plan around end customers and car enthusiasts looking to upgrade or modify their cars by themselves, you will want to focus on auto components that tailor to those interests.
If, on the other hand, you are targeting consumers looking to replace and/or repair auto parts and components, it’s a good idea to analyze which car parts are replaced most frequently. In the majority of cases, these will include products such as air filters, brake pads, oil filters, windshield wiper blades, headlight and taillight bulbs, batteries, and spark plugs. Other auto parts that tend to be more prone to wear and tear over time include wheel cylinders, water and fuel pumps, spark plugs, tires, belts, alternators, fuses, clutches, mufflers, and engine sensors, among others.
It’s also important to keep in mind that best-selling online auto parts and accessories tend to change on a monthly basis. That said, there are certain parts that are fairly consistent on the top of the list. Generally, tires, headlights, GPS trackers, inverters, car DVRs, jumpstarters, smart locks, and Bluetooth car kits will almost always be at the top of the most saught-after auto parts and accessories.
Who Buys Auto Parts Online?
There are different demographics that tend to buy auto parts online on a consistent basis. On the one hand, there are wholesale customers, such as local garages and repair shops. On the other, there are retail customers, such as car enthusiasts or one-off buyers. By knowing who your target parts and accessories market is, you will be in a better position to build and design your auto parts eCommerce website and/or other sales channels.
- B2B Customers – This includes different types of wholesale customers such as auto shops, local garages, and other vendors who will sell auto parts to their own customers. The advantages of B2B customers is that they provide you with stability, higher volumes, and lower overall costs.
- B2C Customers – This section of the automotive aftermarket customer base includes car enthusiasts and all sorts of other end users. While B2C customers offer less stability and lower volumes, they can also provide you with a wider customer base. Likewise, with shipping smaller quantities, you will also tend to offer shorter delivery times, meaning that the overall customer experience will generally be higher.
Top eCommerce Auto Parts Sales Channels
When it comes to selling auto parts online, there are several platforms that you can use. Among the most commonly used are eBay and Amazon. In fact, around 70% of all buying and selling of auto parts and accessories in the United States happens through Amazon and eBay. Every month, Amazon sees around 183 million unique visitors, while eBay has around 96 million. Aside from boasting the most buyers and monthly active visitors, eBay and Amazon have dedicated automotive sections. These make the auto parts shopping experience easier for both auto parts sellers and buyers.
Another option worthy of taking into consideration is to create your own online auto parts store. The main benefit of having your own eCommerce website is that you will have full control over it. This means that you won’t have to pay a listing fee every time you post and/or sell something. Likewise, you can price your products however you like. Setting up your own auto parts eCommerce store will also mean that you will be in a better position to communicate your brand and build better relationships with customers. Meaningful relationships with customers will lead to brand loyalty, repeat business, and word-of-mouth advertising.
However, ensuring an effective on-site search is necessary for such a level of customer experience. Yet, this will add an extra layer of complexity to the entire process. Nevertheless, the benefits will be well worth the effort.
The Importance of Fitment Data
Fitment data plays a crucial role in the automotive aftermarket industry. Also known as compatibility information, fitment data helps both buyers and sellers determine whether specific parts and/or accessories fit particular vehicles. It provides information such as the year, make, model, submodel, trim, engine, etc. of the vehicle, as well as similar part data.
If the fitment data is not optimized when you are selling auto parts and accessories on eBay, Amazon, or your own eCommerce website, potential buyers will not be able to find the parts, components, and accessories they are looking for. This will translate into many missed business opportunities, as well as a decrease in the quality of customer experience. Likewise, inaccurate or incomplete fitment data can also result in selling the wrong components to customers. When this happens, you risk ruining your brand reputation and your standing with the online sales channels you use for selling your auto parts. It can also result in costly returns and upset customers.
But when your fitment data is clear, accurate, and up-to-date, your listing will also get a boost in search engines’ page results. This will help expand your visibility with buyers, whereas fitment filters will also increase your search exposure and help your reach more customers. Third-party software, such as myFtiment, will ensure that your fitment data is always accurate, complete, and in the right format for both Amazon and eBay, or your own eCommerce website. In addition, myFitment also helps you identify and repair any fitment data errors that already exist.
To put it simply, myFitment is a powerful, affordable, and easy-to-use solution for your auto parts business. We can help your eCommerce website drive sales and save time and money. Subscribe to our newsletter to stay up-to-date with compatibility innovations from myFitment!