Whether you’re a motorcycle aficionado who has used parts to sell or an entrepreneur who wants a piece of the motorcycle sales industry, selling motorcycle parts will come with its challenges because competition can be fierce.
However, if you’re prepared to do your research and understand the industry, you could become a lucrative motorcycle parts seller who has gained the reputation for providing the best motorcycle parts on the market. In this guide, we will discuss what you need to do before selling motorcycle parts.
Decide What You’re Selling
When it comes to motorcycle parts, there are three primary types you can sell: used motorcycle parts, aftermarket parts, and original equipment manufacturer (OEM) parts.
Selling used motorcycle parts makes sense if you are a motorcycle enthusiast who has their own bike or bikes. Or you may know a lot of bikers and belong to a motorcycle community, which gives you access to a lot of used parts that you can sell.
Selling OEM parts makes sense if you want to cater to a market that prefers to only buy all-original and brand-new parts made by the bike manufacturer. And if your market is motorcycle owners who like to customize their bikes, you should focus more on aftermarket motorcycle parts.
You can think big and decide to sell different types of motorcycle parts. However, if you’re just starting, it’s best to start with a niche market. This can keep you from becoming too overwhelmed or overstocking on items that will later fill your warehouse and become dead stock.
Determine How You Will Sell Your Motorcycle Parts
Once you have determined what you are selling, you need to decide where you will sell from. Will you be selling your bike parts from a brick and mortar shop where you will welcome customers? Will you have your own warehouse where you will stock your inventory? Or do you intend to get your products from the supplier as orders come in? Do you plan on listing your bike parts on an ecommerce website for buying and selling? Will you create a website and also sell on popular platforms like eBay, Amazon, Walmart, or AutoZone? What method of payment will you prefer? Credit card or cash?
Because you are just starting out, you may choose one channel to focus on for now. Eventually, you can sell across all those platforms to gain a bigger audience.
Scope Out the Competition
To survive in the motorcycle parts industry, you must identify a need and fill it. This means differentiating yourself from the competition. But before you can do that, you need to know what the competition is doing so you can do it better.
If you’re a motorcycle owner, think of yourself as a potential buyer in the physical stores or online shops where you buy your motorcycle parts and accessories. Is there a reason why you continue to buy from the same sellers? Is there something about their product or customer service that you were impressed by and made you want to buy from them again or recommend them to your friends who also own motorcycles?
The reality is that the shops where you have bought motorcycle parts and accessories will ultimately become your competition. It’s not about stealing their ideas but identifying their weaknesses so you can develop a business plan and strategy that fills those gaps. It would also help to ask motorcycle owners what they look for in a motorcycle parts seller.
Do Your Research
One of the main things you want to avoid as a motorcycle parts business owner is dead stock. Dead stock can weigh down your business. The precious space dedicated to dead stock should go to stocks of your top selling products. Because dead stock is just sitting there and not contributing to your revenues, it’s also not helping cover expenses, such as rental costs, utilities, insurance, and so on.
While there are clever ways to get rid of dead stock, your goal should be to avoid it altogether. The best way to prevent dead stock is to do your research and identify best sellers. Knowing which motorcycle parts and accessories are the top sellers can help you avoid overstocking on items that aren’t likely going to sell fast.
A good place to start would be at the top ecommerce platforms, such as eBay and Amazon. eBay and Amazon showcase their best sellers regularly and even categorize them. On Amazon, the best sellers are updated hourly. eBay also lists their best sellers, which you can search by category.
Whether it’s a battery charger, an air filter, or riding gear, you should also be smart about pricing. Do your research to find out what parts go for top dollar and which parts sell for the lowest price. When it comes time to sell, the last thing you want is to underestimate or overestimate selling price.
Be Prepared with Fitment Compatibility Data
Photos of the bikes and their parts won’t be enough; potential customers need to read the product description to determine whether the part is compatible with their motorcycle. Because they don’t have the ability to inspect the bike part in person before buying, you need to provide them with confidence.
Specifying your motorcycle parts with fitment data, also known as compatibility, allows prospective buyers to discover other parts and accessories that fit their bikes. It also gives them confidence to buy the part and worry less about technical issues.
Unlike buying the actual motorcycle, where serious buyers take the precautionary step of meeting the previous owners and test driving before they decide, buying a part for their bike online means waiting until the part arrives to install it. And only when they take their motorcycle for a test ride can they determine the quality and performance of the part.
Many motorcycle owners don’t realize that bike parts and accessories fit a wide variety of motorcycles. Too often, people search for parts using the motorcycle brand, thinking that only parts made by the brand’s manufacturer will be compatible with their bike.
By providing fitment information, you provide a better shopping experience for serious buyers by taking away the guesswork of whether the part fits their motorcycle. And if you’re selling parts online, fitment data will help you avoid costly returns, refunds, negative reviews, and poor ratings.
You can find fitment data from the Auto Care Association, a 50-state network composed of over 500,000 independent manufacturers, distributors, retailers, etc. The association created ACES (Aftermarket Catalog Exchange Standard), the data standard for mapping, managing, and exchanging automotive catalog applications. The standard includes fitment, or year/make/model, and other qualifier statements for automotive, including motorcycles. The ACES file can be used by purchasing a subscription from the association.
Another source for fitment data is fitment data suppliers who sell compatibility catalogs or give you access to their catalogs for a fee. The problem with purchasing these catalogs is that you will need to update them periodically. Because fitment data changes regularly, this means spending time and energy to ensure fitment is accurate and complete.
For busy business owners, third-party fitment data providers are the best solution. Not only do they create ACES and PIES (Product Information Exchange Standard) for their clients, but they also manage the monthly updates to ensure fitment information is always up-to-date and accurate.
Because the motorcycle parts industry can be highly competitive, prepare to do your motorcycle sales research. Understanding the demands of your target market and what seals the deal is key. Decide what types of products and sales channels you will focus on. Finally, before you are ready to sell, you must be prepared to provide clear and complete fitment data, which will not only enhance the customer experience but also increase your visibility.