How to Combat COVID-19 in the Parts Department

Amidst the COVID-19 news and instability, you might be wondering how to minimize the effects to your dealership’s Parts Department. We have some answers for you.

How do I compete when people are social distancing & self quarantining?

Consumers are still shopping but they’re not leaving their house to do it (with the exception of a trip to the grocery store to stock up on toilet paper, bottled water, and non-perishables). People may be quarantining themselves in their homes but that surely doesn’t mean they’re not online shopping.

Since the first week of March, parts and accessories have seen a 42% increase in online sales. Many have been using their time at home to work on and modify their vehicles, and the best way to reach those parts buyers is to be online, where literally all of them are right now.

OEM supply chains are taking a hit. How could I possibly succeed by selling online?

It’s no secret auto manufacturing across the globe is in a state of disarray. Automotive News says, “because of the effect of the Coronavirus pandemic on supply chains, auto dealers are bracing for parts shortages that could make for unsatisfied customers throughout the year.” The silver lining is that aftermarket retailers will also experience parts shortages.

OEM sellers may have an opportunity to capture a greater share of the parts and accessories market while the aftermarket is vulnerable, gaining plenty of loyal customers along the way. If dealers want to stay competitive, they need to step-up their game and make it easier for customers to buy parts by making them available on an online store.

How can I get customers back in my service drive?

One dealership reports that their “customer floor traffic has been down 30% while the service department has seen a 40% drop in business due to the outbreak.” Fewer cars through your service department means fewer part sales. Dealerships have been making it simple for customers to get their cars serviced by picking up and dropping off vehicles at their customers’ homes.

An Opinion article by Automotive News suggested, “Auto dealers, in particular, should consider some new business practices — perhaps implementing a temporary pickup and delivery system in the service department for housebound customers to get their vehicles maintained while they’re quarantined.”  You can increase customer traffic and satisfaction by changing the way customers access them. Not only will this keep the service department running, but it could also result in a boost in customer loyalty in the long run.

Dealers like Paragon Honda have supported this strategy for months. According to a statement on their LinkedIn profile, “Direct to consumer is the only way to meet the needs of today’s customers. Paragon’s customers expect more from us, the Paragon service team lead by Anthony Petito has responded by providing best in class service.”

Dealership traffic is slow right now. Why should I start selling online now?

With fewer customers coming into the service and parts department of your dealership, you have the bizarrely perfect opportunity to update your parts department with modern tools—like adding a parts web store. You have newfound time to select an eCommerce provider, build your very own web store, and train your parts team to take on this new way of selling.

Remember, consumers are stuck at home with their digital devices, so it’s the perfect time to get your parts department in front of them with a web store, eBay store, or Amazon store. David Steinberg, Foureyes CEO recommends dealers, “Leverage online shopping trends. A portion of the virus’s economic impact will be due to lower productivity from people working from home, where they’re more likely to waste time on activities like shopping online. But there is an opportunity for automotive where inventory is online.” 

Coronavirus is scary and the future is uncertain, but Parts Departments that tap into the online market will be the ones that float to the top of this global pandemic.

Are you ready to launch an online presence for your parts department? Schedule a demo to see how easy it is to get started. 

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