The reach of online shopping continues to extend into the automotive world, most notably in the area of online parts and accessories sales. In their most recent industry trend report, Hedges and Company reported that over the past half decade, the parts and accessories market has experienced 12% annual growth year over year. From 2016 alone, the industry has grown 16%, with over $8.89 billion in sales projected through 2017. Additionally, over $4 billion of those online sales will be on mobile devices.
A large part of these numbers is attributed to car-buyers going to third party channels to buy aftermarket parts. The do-it-yourself movement among modern car owners has contributed to Amazon’s aftermarket online retail presence becoming one of the big players competing with brick and mortar stores.
In-store sales are projected to grow just 2.9% in 2017, a stark contrast to the 15% growth experienced by online parts sales. Capitalizing on the growth of online parts and accessories sales gives dealers a chance to harness their current customer base and transfer existing customers into parts and accessories customers.
Installing an online parts and accessories store is the most direct route to reclaiming your customers before they buy from a competitor. The data shows that customers are certainly buying parts, so why should dealers lose those customers to online retailers with no previous connection to the customers?
Capitalizing on this parts movement allows car dealers to re-energize dragging brick-and-mortar auto parts sales. In fact, 70% of all parts, tires, service, and accessory inquiries start online, most within 90 days of delivery, so it’s obvious that auto-shoppers are buying aftermarket parts and accessories for their vehicles. The only issue that remains is why dealerships aren’t pursuing the same opportunities that online retailers like Amazon are.
The advent of social media marketing makes online parts selling even easier, as dealerships can promote their parts stores through a variety of channels, both to current customers and to prospects. Being able to quickly link to a website rather than relying on print media or word of mouth saves time and energy, and it is easily managed by a BDC internet department.
To close the gap between slagging in-store accessories sales and the booming ecommerce market, dealers cannot afford to neglect the nearly nine billion dollars in accessories sales being transacted across the web. Embracing online retail is a dealer’s best option to keep the parts and accessories relationship between car buyers and dealerships, otherwise, say goodbye to your share of 2017’s nine billion in sales.
Authored by Jeff D’Ambrosio
Jeff is an Account Director for Chrome Data’s Parts and Accessories Field Group with the MOPAR eStore as well as other direct to dealer initiatives. Jeff has over 19 years of industry experience with automotive software as a service.