How To Start An Aftermarket Auto Parts Business

Buying online goods and services has become a common practice among many people around the world. While this trend was already well on its way before 2020, with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, it has skyrocketed. In fact, over 2.14 billion people worldwide will be expected to make online purchases by 2021. For those looking to start an aftermarket auto parts business in today’s climate, the eCommerce environment is expected to generate numerous benefits.

That said, the eCommerce component in the automotive aftermarket business is only part of the equation. Aside from having to register your business and all the other paperwork that goes into starting an online auto parts business, there are several preliminary steps that are somewhat unique to such an endeavor. Some of these should be undertaken before actually building your eCommerce website.

Preliminary Steps Before Starting an Automotive Parts Business

As with any other big endeavor, it’s always a good idea to do your due diligence and invest some time in preparation to ensure long-term business success.

Engage With People Commonly Buying and Selling on the Auto Parts Market

The first step in any successful business launch is to do some market research. The best place to start is to talk to local mechanics, repair shops, car enthusiasts, and pretty much everyone that regularly buys and sells car parts. Speak with them about their wants, needs, and pain points. Ask them about their online purchases and how they found the overall experience. Also, ask them about what drives a sale and/or purchase for them. Is it the price, product quality, convenience, or something else? This information will prove invaluable when you are building your eCommerce website and business plan.

Conduct a Competitive Analysis

The next step will be to take a look at your future competitors. Check as many sales channels as possible, including eBay, Amazon, and other third-party aftermarket automotive sites. Determine how these auto parts businesses operate and how they price their auto parts. This way, you will get a better understanding of how you will compete. 

Ask for Quotes From Possible Suppliers

Once you have a good understanding of the general price points that you need for conversion rate optimization to maximize profit, you should contact suppliers and ask them for pricing quotes. If you’re already familiar with the automotive industry, you may already have some suppliers you are familiar with. But it’s never a bad idea to branch out and look for new suppliers. Don’t forget to check their minimum order quantity and determine if it will be sustainable. 

Also, consider sending purchase orders to both third-party and original equipment manufacturers you choose to work with and make sure that their products will fit the quality standards you are looking for. Making sure that you will only be selling high-quality products will work towards ensuring the long-term success of your automotive parts business. 

Final Checklist Before Launch

After you’ve done your due-diligence above, you’re coming close to launching your business. There are, however, several more key considerations before actually launching your auto parts business. These include the following:

  • While some prefer to sell auto parts and accessories to everyone, it’s generally a good idea to niche yourself to a certain demographic. You can focus either your online automotive parts business on catering predominantly to repair shops and mechanics or on end-customers and car enthusiasts. While repair shops will tend to buy more replacement parts, particularly those that are the most prone to wear and tear, car enthusiasts will generally favor more auto parts and accessories used for enhancing and/or tuning up vehicles. By niching your business, you’ll be in a far better position to design your eCommerce website for better customer experience and for conversion rate optimization.
  • When you are describing the auto parts and accessories on your website, really take your time and go as in-depth as possible. This is where fitment data comes into play and will help buyers determine if a particular part or component will actually fit their vehicle and fulfill all of their needs. Don’t forget to also mention whether the part is made by third-party or original equipment manufacturers. 
  • Customers will also like to see how the products look before they actually make a purchase. While this is more often the case with accessories than with replacement parts, such as spark plugs or belts, it’s best to use professional images on all the car parts you will be selling. Many people will try to determine the overall quality of a product based on the images used. Not only that, but unprofessional images could also end up hurting the image of your store. As such, you should use professional-looking images, as they will improve customer experience whenever they visit your online store. 

How to Get Started Selling Auto Parts on Amazon

As one of the largest online car part sales channels, Amazon can provide you with a huge customer base. However, to sell products under the gated Automotive & Powersports product category, you will need to become a Professional seller and get Amazon’s approval. Basically, you will need to already be on a professional selling plan and have a good standing, or have Amazon review your independent website. 

In addition, you will need to ensure that your products comply with local, state, federal, and international regulations. Also, Amazon has several product image requirements, such as white backgrounds, free of inset images, watermarks, or any unauthorized content. 

How to Get Started Selling Auto Parts on eBay

Another must-use option for your automotive parts business is eBay. Over the years, eBay has built a reputation for being an online selling platform where people can buy and sell car parts and accessories, be it used or brand new. It’s pretty easy to sell auto parts on eBay. You will need to create an account, if you don’t have one already, and create a listing for each of your auto parts and accessories. 

You’ll need to select eBay Motors in the Categories section and select Parts and Accessories. As you proceed, these categories will become more and more specific. Yet, being an online auto parts business, the process of adding your entire inventory through traditional means can be a bit time-consuming. Luckily, the platform’s Seller Hub allows you to create and add your listing more easily. By using eBay’s Motors Parts Compatibility, you’ll have access to fitment data. This means that you can either enter compatible vehicles by hand or choose the pre-filled compatibility option. If your product is already in eBay’s database, much of its information will be automatically filled. 

Using Your eCommerce Website 

In the majority of cases, auto parts businesses will start building their eCommerce websites before selling on Amazon or eBay. In any case, the existence of a website will provide brand awareness and the necessary credibility to be regarded as a legitimate business. When you choose your website design, keep in mind that people like to see high-quality images, as well as the ability to zoom in. If possible, offer the possibility to see the product from different angles. As mentioned previously, clear and comprehensive product descriptions will go a long way. 

However, using fitment filters to optimize your eCommerce website will make the difference between a successful and unsuccessful aftermarket auto parts business. While both eBay and Amazon provide some fitment data capabilities, you are completely responsible for this data on your own website. The importance of fitment data in the automotive industry cannot be understated. Whenever a potential customer is interested in a product for their vehicle, fitment data will tell them whether or not that specific component or accessory will actually fit their vehicle and will fulfill all of their needs. 

In other words, fitment data will help you maximize profit, increase overall cash flow, and improve customer experience, conversion rate optimization, and even brand awareness. Whether or not you’re selling on eBay and Amazon, or just using your own website, businesses selling auto parts and accessories should always keep their fitment data complete, accurate, and up-to-date.

To learn more about how to sell car parts online and find about smart fitment data extensions, contact myFitment. myFitment is a powerful, easy-to-use, and affordable solution for the fitment needs of 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!