Going online allows you to significantly expand your customer base and auto parts stores are not an exception. There are multiple ways to buy a car, parts or potential substitutes and it’s really challenging to compete with giants like Amazon or eBay. Here’s our take on what can be possibly done in order to make your car parts store more efficient.
The problem: Car parts search
There is an average of 14,000 parts in a car (and it may go up to 30k) so it’s a quite a problem to look up some parts for your particular car brand and model. Offline stores usually have around 5k parts in inventory and people tend to flock to marketplaces, especially online aggregators like Amazon, that provide more options with detailed descriptions.
Looking it up all by yourself is even more challenging as you have to dig into catalogs, VINs and diagrams (like this one for BMW’s clutch control system):
Dealing with VIN collisions and documentation gaps only complicates the process and leads to buying excessive parts, wasting your time and having your car immobile. Eventually, most of us skip online marketplaces, go to straight to an offline store and pay extra.
Solution: Cheaper and easier
In order to be successful, stores should aim at improving search and keeping prices relatively low. One way to solve this issue is to hook up cross reference database that highlights potential substitutes – parts from one vehicle that will interchange with another. It’s really important to have all the latest updates with high quality pictures and detailed description so that way your sales numbers go up. Stores usually delegate this task to third-party vendors (like Parts Cross Reference) that manage and update cross reference databases via APIs (Application Programming Interfaces). This way stores can focus on growing their client base.
Providing offline-like services and consulting is easy – you just have to hook up an online-chat tool or special request form on your website where customers can input necessary description so that your consulting to support team can hit them back with good options. You don’t have to expect anything like this from giants like Amazon so there’s a room for growth with your cheap and easy service. Clients are going to just love this.