Motorcycle aftermarket parts are an integral part of the motorcycle industry, and if you’re a bike owner or seller, it’s important to understand what they are. The aftermarket parts market consists of a wide range of products that can be used to customize motorcycles.
Choosing to develop a motorcycle aftermarket parts business from the ground up is exciting, and it could also be highly profitable.
COVID-19 restrictions were lifted all over the world, and it became apparent that bike owners decided to spend their hard-earned savings on their dream bikes. In 2021, online sales of motorcycle parts and accessories are skyrocketing.
This blog post will help you better understand the aftermarket motorcycle part industry and make informed decisions about how best to use them in your business. We will cover the very definition of aftermarket parts, how they fit with different motorcycles, where you can buy them nowadays, and finally, what it takes to start your online aftermarket parts dealership.
Aftermarket parts belong to the replacement parts group. These are components that replace original parts on a ride that are broken, worn out, or need a replacement for any reason. There are three primary types of replacement motorcycle parts:
- OEM Parts
OEM parts refer to original equipment manufacturer replacement parts. These are components that replace the original ones on a motorcycle, and you can buy them from the company that manufactured your bike. For example, if you own a Honda motorcycle, then the original manufacturer – in this case, Honda – will have the replacement parts available for sale.
OEM parts are the highest in quality because they are manufactured by the same company that designed your bike. However, they can be pretty expensive, and this is why aftermarket parts are a popular alternative.
- Aftermarket Parts
Aftermarket replacement parts are manufactured by third-party manufacturers that don’t produce OEM parts. These aftermarket components replace the original ones on your motorcycle, and they can be bought from places such as online retailers or sites like Amazon or eBay.
Aftermarket components are usually less expensive than their OEM counterparts because they’re manufactured by a different company with no relation to the original motorcycle manufacturer. However, when new, they are also high in quality. Some motorcycle enthusiasts even prefer aftermarket options over OEM parts.
- Used Parts
Used parts are those taken from another motorcycle or salvaged after an accident. They might not be in good shape as a new OEM or aftermarket part, but they are still functional.
The benefit of used parts is that they are usually cheaper and readily available. The drawback is they’re not as new or high in quality, but if the bike owner gets creative with used parts, it can be a great way to save money on motorcycle repairs.
Are Motorcycle Parts Universal?
The question of universality is difficult to answer in the motorcycle industry. Most replacement parts are not universal, meaning they cannot fit on every possible motorcycle brand or model. However, some aftermarket parts are interchangeable and can be used on many different models. These are components such as headlights, mounts, calipers, chains, and sprockets.
Some manufacturers are great at internal standardization, meaning that parts can be easily installed or replaced between different bike models of the same brand. One such motorcycle manufacturer is Suzuki.
Are Aftermarket Parts Fake Parts?
It is a common misconception that aftermarket parts equal fake or counterfeit parts.
Fake parts can be a problem in the aftermarket parts industry, but they are not the same as aftermarket parts. “Knockoff” parts can be found pretty much anywhere – in aftermarket dealerships, but also in catalogs and shops of motorcycle industry leaders.
One key difference between fake and aftermarkets is that fakes have nothing to do with original equipment manufacturers. They may look like OEM parts or be made by a company claiming affiliation with an OEM, but in reality, these counterfeit pieces lack any of the quality or safety features of their genuine counterparts.
The official aftermarket parts industry is, in contrast, a thriving and legal business sector that maintains close ties with OEMs. A motorcycle owner can buy certified aftermarket parts from an authorized dealer for any make and model to update their machine’s looks or replace damaged components.
The best place to buy motorcycle aftermarket parts should be from reputable sellers with customer feedback on their motorcycle products – ideally experienced professionals who offer guarantees.
How to Avoid Fake Motorcycle Parts
It is getting more and more difficult to distinguish a fake part from a genuine one. However, here is a list of things you can consider that will help you avoid purchasing a phony motorcycle aftermarket part.
- Check the price first – If it sounds too good to be true, chances are the part is not genuine. Counterfeiters are after a quick profit and will often offer prices that are a real bargain for what they claim is an OEM part.
- Inspect the packaging – The packaging of a fake part could seem unprofessional or unusual, with spelling mistakes on labels. To ensure the packaging is original, look for original stickers, hologram stickers, and manufacturer’s labels.
- See if the most important parts are included in the kit – An aftermarket part should consist of all the necessary hardware, such as screws, nuts, or bolts. If an aftermarket motorcycle part is incomplete, it’s likely that it is not genuine.
- Check the quality – The materials used to make counterfeit parts will often not be of the same high standards as genuine aftermarket components. These might include cheaper plastic or rubber, lower-grade metal, and inferior paints. If the part you’re holding in your hands is lighter than the one you’re replacing, it could be a fake one.
If any one of these signs (or multiple of these signs) applies to your purchase, then you may be looking at a fake part. Think twice before you install it on your motorcycle.
Should You Sell New or Used Parts?
Whether or not you will sell new or used parts is entirely up to you. There is a market for both of these part types – you just need to be aware of the pros and cons of trading with them.
- Selling New Parts
Overall, it is easier to find suppliers for new aftermarket parts. The aftermarket part market is a thriving industry with many companies, distributors, and wholesalers – you are bound to see more variety in products and prices.
By selling new parts, you are giving your customers peace of mind. They can be sure they are buying a quality product that won’t fail them when it matters. You can also hope to sell new parts at a higher price than used ones.
The downside to new parts is that they will cost more money – sometimes significantly more than used ones – but this can be offset by the fact that you won’t need to spend any time researching or sourcing these items yourself. (You will, however, need to find reliable suppliers for your new aftermarket parts.)
- Selling Used Parts
Used parts tend to be lower in quality, but they can attract quite a clientele. This is especially true if you want to trade in vintage parts. Vintage parts are in high demand in a special group of bike builders and owners that want to find a way to preserve the motorcycle’s history.
Selling used parts can be a great way to make money because low prices attract more people, but it requires more work on your end. You need to search for products and then research them thoroughly before deciding how much you’re going to charge for them.
Do Aftermarket Parts Add Value to a Motorcycle?
The answer is that it depends. Aftermarket parts can make a custom bike look cooler, and they might help with the rider’s performance, but they don’t add much trade value to a motorcycle (unless you’re an exceptional craftsman). They could help sell a bike faster, but not for a better price.
For most people who are buying or selling motorcycles for profit’s sake, there isn’t enough of a return for the work they put in.
Custom motorcycle gear, add-ons, motorcycle accessories, and personalized rides provide emotional value to their owners and riders, but they don’t necessarily provide much monetary value.
This is reinforced by the fact that not many motorcycle insurance policies cover aftermarket parts or custom work.
Starting Your Own Business
Becoming a motorcycle aftermarket parts dealer is not an easy feat. You need to have a plan, some money saved up for supplies and inventory; and you’ll want to be established in your community before starting out.
There are many different ways that one can start their own aftermarket motorcycle part business. Here are the necessary steps you need to take to build a solid foundation.
Finding a Market Gap
One of the most important decisions you will make is what type of aftermarket parts you will sell.
If you’re trying to find a market gap, it’s essential to research what’s out there. What aftermarket parts are being sold the most? What is not in demand, but should be? What is in demand, but there seem to be no retailers to meet it?
Take a look at your competitors. What are they doing? How can you do something different? Something better?
If it seems like there is a gap in the market where no one else is going, then go for it. But be prepared to work hard and respond quickly if your products start becoming popular.
Defining a Budget
No matter your circumstances, there is a way to start an aftermarket parts business. Even though creating a small business can be expensive, you can do things to help your budget.
Consider what type of store you will have. Is it an online store or a brick-and-mortar one? There are some apparent advantages to opening up an online shop: no space, no rent, and the ability to reach a global audience. However, if you are opening up an actual store in person, then there will be additional costs like utilities, insurance, taxes, and extra employees for your business.
If you want to go online, are you developing your website or joining an already established eCommerce market, such as eBay or Amazon? In terms of your budget, you need to consider the costs of both. There are fees for eBay and Amazon, so you want to find out how much those are before making a decision.
You will also need merchant services for your site or store – this is the service that handles payment processing on behalf of an online retailer. PayPal is the most popular one, but make sure you do your research before settling on a final option.
Locating Reliable Suppliers
Without a good aftermarket part supplier, you cannot hope to do good business. You need to know where you can find one.
When looking for a supplier of aftermarket motorcycle parts, there are some points that you want to keep in mind:
- The company should be reliable – this means they will promptly ship your order and provide excellent customer service when needed. There will be no delays (or minimal and foreseen delays) in shipping.
- Their prices should reflect the quality of their products – if you order from a company selling inferior quality aftermarket motorcycle parts for the same price as another company, it will be too expensive to justify.
- Their return policy should be fair – if you cannot return the aftermarket parts that don’t work for some reason, it will be challenging to manage your stock.
- They should have a good reputation – this means they’ve been around long enough and are deemed reputable by their peers.
When you establish a connection with a reliable supplier, it would be best to build a good relationship with them. This will help you in moments of crisis. They might also be open to offering you good deals or discounts.
Dropshipping or Building an Inventory
Dropshipping seems to be a favorite for starter retail businesses.
This is the process where a store owner doesn’t own the motorcycle parts they’re selling. Instead, they sell the motorcycle aftermarket parts through a third-party eCommerce website.
A store owner might create an account with their chosen supplier, get a link to put on their website, and that’s it! The suppliers will handle everything else from there.
That means they don’t have to worry about how much inventory to carry or where to keep the inventory stock. In dropshipping, there is no inventory, no storage space, and no headaches!
However, the downside to dropshipping is that you can’t offer customer support. If the website you’re dropshipping from is down, then your customers will be out of luck too.
Building an inventory for a motorcycle aftermarket parts store might seem to take more work upfront than opening up a shop with just a link, and that’s it!
But if done right, it can save a lot of issues in the long run. Benefits of having your own stock include not being at the mercy of a supplier’s stock levels, no waiting if you run out of stock, and complete control over delivery times.
The downside is that it takes more time upfront to build an inventory. It also means there will be storage space required because you’ll need to keep a bit of everything in stock.
In the end, it’s up to you as an entrepreneur or motorcycle parts business owner and what your goals are for your store.
Do you want to be able to answer customer questions right away? Do you want more control over delivery times? Or do you just not have the time or money necessary to create an actual inventory right off the bat?
These are all questions you need to answer before setting up shop.
Creating a Marketing Campaign
Finally, don’t underestimate the power of good marketing. You can employ many different strategies to attract customers, such as SEO keywords and pay-per-click advertising.
Think about your target audience – what would they be most interested in reading about?
That’s what you should focus your content on. You might also want to provide special offers or coupons for them, such as free shipping and/or a percentage off their total purchase with a code. This will not only make them more inclined to buy from you, but it’ll build brand loyalty and increase the number of repeat purchases.
Getting in the motorcycle aftermarket parts game is not as simple as it might seem. But with the proper knowledge and strategy, you can elevate your business and turn a good profit!
Before your store gets going, you should do a bit of research. Find a market gap and a demand you can easily meet. Define a budget that will work for you (preferably without going too much into debt), and locate suppliers you can work with for a long time to come. Decide whether you want to dropship or build your own inventory. And don’t forget to promote your store and draw consumers to your brand!
In the end, it’s all about making the customer happy. The more they are satisfied, the greater your chances of them coming back to make future purchases and even recommending you to their friends.
MyFitment will be happy to help you build your online motorcycle parts catalogs. Contact us for more information on how to sell motorcycle aftermarket parts. We can do amazing things together!