In 2021, the size of the light-duty automotive aftermarket industry in the United States is estimated to be around $290 billion. Online sales have been steadily increasing over the past year (somewhat due to the COVID-19 pandemic). The eCommerce segment of this industry is valued at $18 billion. The online demand for vehicle parts is through the roof – it’s a great moment to consider starting your own automotive parts business.
Multiple online channels are available for aspiring auto parts sellers. You can choose to design and develop your website with an eCommerce platform, or you can open accounts on an already established online marketplace such as eBay or Amazon.
These two platforms offer the benefits of instant access to a vast customer base, access to their vehicle compatibility lists, and perks if you become their top automotive seller. eBay, in particular, is a multi-vendor eCommerce marketplace that boasts over 187 million active buyers! The percentage of those that shop for vehicle parts may not be high, but this is still an exciting customer pool you can take advantage of.
Before you decide to branch out to eBay, you might first want to read through this complete guide to eBay auto parts. Read on to discover the top-selling auto parts on eBay, how high the fees are, and what type of software you should look for.
Best-Selling Auto Parts on eBay
Not every vehicle part type is in demand – some are more sought-after than others. If you’re not making as many sales as you’d like, perhaps you should consider offering parts and accessories that sell out fast.
These three categories offer a good overview:
- LED products and lighting – Most (if not all) vehicle lights perform amazingly well on eBay Motors. Examples include headlights, taillights, fog lights, trunk lights, license plate lights, light bulbs, brake lights, etc.
- Tires and wheels – Wheels and tires are a relatively self-explanatory category of parts. Keep in mind that suspension parts are also high in demand. Potential customers on eBay regularly search for shocks, struts, lift kits, and leveling kits to use when replacing wheels and tires.
- Exterior parts – Lastly, upgrades and replacement parts are incredibly popular. External parts that belong here include wiper blades, steel bumpers, aftermarket upgrades, replacement grilles, side mirrors, and similar components.
The trend that becomes obvious here is that parts that wear and tear easily are more in demand. Which stands to reason – tires are more often replaced than an entire engine.
That being said, the above-listed categories are not the only ones that sell out fast on eBay. They may be at the top, but there are other product types you should take into consideration, such as:
- Air filters
- A/C compressors and control systems
- Alternators and generators
- Car battery accessories, such as chargers and jump batteries
- Cylinder heads
- Clutch kits
- Crate engines
- Replacement decals, stickers, and emblems
- Upgrades and dash kits, such as carbon fiber dress-up parts
- Disc brake pad parts
- Exhaust system parts, such as cat-back systems and mufflers
- EGR system components
- Floor mats
- Filters and fuel pumps
- Ignition system parts, such as spark plugs, plug wires, timing kits, coils, and distributors
- Keys and keyless entry fobs
- Manuals and automobile literature
- Performance chips and programmers
- Seat covers
- Vintage auto parts and accessories
The eBay marketplace offers statistics on how frequently certain product types are sold. This summary will provide further insight into eBay Motors’ top-selling parts:
- One air intake unit is sold every 1.5 minutes
- One high-performance exhaust is also sold every 1.5 minutes
- One wheel or tire part is sold every 6 seconds
- Nine complete engines are sold every hour
Additionally, the demand for electric auto parts is drastically increasing. Charging stations and electric batteries are also lucrative product categories.
eBay Fees and Subscriptions
eBay has three main types of fees for its online sellers:
- Insertion fees – Depending on the product category, an eBay member can expect to create a certain number of listings for free. This is usually 250 listings per month, though the number may vary. If you wish to create more than 250 listings, you will need to pay an insertion fee (or listing fee) for each one above this number.
- Final value fees (FVF) – Final value fees are selling fees that apply whenever you sell an item on eBay. The FVF represents a percentage of the total sale price. Just like above, the percentage and fee amount depend on the listing category.
- Listings upgrade fees – Insertion fees and FVF are mandatory. Alongside these, there are also optional listing upgrade fees. These upgrades include putting up one listing in multiple categories, listing on international eBay sites, the right to upload more than 12 photos per product, and more.
Fees and subscriptions are two completely different things. Fees are deducted from your online sales regardless of whether or not you have an eBay Store. Subscribing to an eBay Store, however, is optional. You don’t have to subscribe to one if you want to sell products in this marketplace, but it does come with many advantages, such as:
- Saving money on insertion fees – every Store plan has a specific number of listings they offer for free each month.
- Branding your eCommerce business – the opportunity to set up a homepage for your store, customize your web address, and more.
- Gaining access to Promotions Manager and Promoted Listings.
eBay Store offers various plans for their vendors. The Start Store subscription is the least expensive, beginning at $4.95 per month. If you want more free auction-style listings, and fixed-price listings and more benefits, the plans can go up to $2,999.95 per month.
eBay sends you an invoice for your subscription and fee payments once a month.
Auto Parts Fees
Now that you have a general idea of how eBay fees work, the question that remains is: what is eBay’s seller fee on auto parts?
Auto parts and accessories belong to eBay Motors, a subsection of eBay dedicated to various vehicle types and their components. Most auto part listings belong in two eBay Motors categories:
- Automotive Tools & Supplies
- Parts & Accessories
The first 250 listings in a month in these groups are free. After that, vendors are expected to pay an insertion fee of $0.35 for each listing above 250.
Final value fees are also low compared to other eBay categories. If all items in one sale cost less than $7,500, the total sale fee is 12.55%. If a portion of the sale is over $7,500, then the price for that portion is 2.35%. Additionally, $0.30 is applied to every order on top of these percentages.
Keep in mind that eBay’s fees are independent of the costs of the payment system you’re using. For example, PayPal has its own set of fees applied to every transaction – every time you receive money on your PayPal balance. These charges are also essential to check when calculating potential profits from your business.
Vehicles vs. Auto Parts Fees
eBay Motors also supports sales of entire vehicles (light-duty, heavy-duty, and motorcycles). Fees for selling vehicles are different from those applied to auto parts sales. When researching eBay’s fees, don’t confuse the fees for vehicles with the fees for car parts. More than one aspiring online seller thought it wasn’t worth selling on eBay due to this misinterpretation.
Aside from all the fees described above, there are additional final value fees you might be charged with.
- International fee: Sellers with an address registered in the United States get charged with international shipping fees in two cases: if their order has to be delivered outside the US and if the buyer’s registered address is outside the US even if the order is delivered within the country. The international shipping charge is 1.65% of the total sale. Whether or not you will offer a global shipping option to your consumers is entirely up to you – you can choose not to if you don’t want these additional fees. (However, shipping internationally may have more pros than cons, overall.)
- Dispute fee: If you are found responsible for a disputed amount, you will be charged a dispute fee of $20.00, excluding sales tax.
There are also fees for violating eBay’s terms and conditions.
- Trading outside of eBay: eBay doesn’t allow trading outside of its platform (meaning arranging to sell or buy an item on sale on eBay – outside of eBay to avoid eBay’s final value fees). If you offer your contact details or ask a potential buyer for theirs with the clear intent of buying or selling an item outside the platform, you will be charged with additional FVF. These FVF apply even if the item you attempted to sell outside of eBay doesn’t sell on eBay.
- Failure to meet seller performance standards: eBay’s seller performance expectations dictate that their vendors must meet the minimum seller performance for the United States by the 20th of every month. Furthermore, a vendor must not have a high rate of return requisitions marked as ‘item not as described.’ If a seller doesn’t abide by this performance standard rule, they will be charged with additional FVF.
It bears mentioning that the fees incurred as a result of violations have no maximum amount. Other fees have a maximum cap they cannot go over. The last two described in this section are not capped – in theory, eBay can fine you however much it wants for not following their terms and conditions.
Auto Parts Listing Software
Opening an online auto parts shop on eBay requires a lot of work. You need to have fitment data of all your products in the proper format, keep it updated and maintained, and ensure that your customers are getting the best possible shopping experience.
To help you with this, you may want to look into product listing software. This application will automate many of your operations, so you don’t have to do them manually anymore. This will free up your time to deal with more pressing issues and focus on expanding your business.
But what is the best eBay auto parts listing software? How can you know what to look for?
There is a large number of features you can choose from. Here are some of the most important ones to consider when looking for the right software solution for your eBay store.
For an auto parts online business, fitment data is a vital business asset. It needs to be accurate and complete, so it doesn’t lead to any loss of sales.
That being said, even the most accurate fitment databases need to be continually updated and maintained. The automobile industry is fast-paced, changing in a blink of an eye. New vehicle configurations get released, and old ones get eliminated from the market almost daily – and your fitment information needs to keep up with it all.
If your fitment data isn’t regularly validated, you risk facing two main problems:
- As old configurations are removed from the market, all parts and accessories tied to those configurations become invalid. This means that your customers won’t be able to look them up in your store anymore – you don’t have an accurate catalog anymore.
- Your data isn’t connected to the new vehicle records. If your fitment information has “holes” in it, it will drive customers away because they won’t find what they’re looking for in your parts and accessories listings.
This is why it is imperative to find a software solution that regularly validates your fitment data. You won’t have to spend an excessive amount of time checking it yourself – the application will ensure your fitment data has no holes and that it doesn’t go spoiled.
If you decide to do some bulk edits on your fitment data, it would be best to export them from your software solution in a spreadsheet file. Look for a software option that offers various report functions, such as presenting product information in the YMM (year, make, model) format, presenting a list of products without fitment, compatible vehicle part matches, and more.
Fitment Data Conversion
Most marketplaces (online and offline) in North America require their sellers to provide fitment data in line with the ACES and PIES standards. This includes Amazon and Walmart.
However, eBay is different. eBay Motors doesn’t support ACES data but needs it in eBay’s standard called the Master Vehicle List (MVL). Typically, transferring one type of data to another requires a bit of coding and a more tech-savvy individual—vendors who do not usually have to rely on a software developer of some kind.
The need for this conversion is the very reason why you should look for a software option that can quickly and easily transform ACES data into MVL data and vice versa. This only applies if you wish to branch out to multiple online marketplaces simultaneously, but it’s good to keep in mind.
The software platform you invest in should be integrated with other applications you’re using (such as an auto parts inventory management tool, email management software, and similar), as well as the eBay platform.
Fitment data can be submitted to eBay Motors only in the MVL format as described above, as well as only through their API (Application Programming Interface). To communicate with the API, it is best to find software that can do this on your behalf, seamlessly integrating with eBay’s API so that your fitment data can be immediately available online.
At last, don’t underestimate the importance of reliable customer service. If possible, opt for a software provider that offers prompt and practical answers to any problems that might arise during your use of the software. Look for email support or, even better, live chat support. That way, you know that you won’t have to wait long to resolve a software issue and continue working smoothly.
Selling auto parts on eBay isn’t as simple as one might expect. There are various factors to consider, not least of which are the types of products you will offer and eBay’s fees for creating the listings.
The best-selling auto parts on eBay include wheels and tires, exterior components, and all sorts of lights and light bulbs. eBay’s fees are not the highest, but they can add up if you don’t take advantage of some eBay Store subscription features, such as a specific number of free listings per month. When calculating the costs, remember that eBay invoices you for all the fees and payments only once a month. Also, don’t forget to consider additional fees that your payment system (such as PayPal) might charge.
To ensure the best customer experience, look for good listing software. It will help you validate your fitment data regularly, provide reports for bulk edits, convert ACES data into MVL data and back, and integrate nicely with eBay’s API and other software applications you may be using.
If you’re feeling a bit overwhelmed with all this new eBay information, don’t hesitate to contact MyFitment. We would be glad to help you untangle your thoughts and get you started the right way on this profitable online platform.