Does this sound familiar?
Your parts department just found the wrong part was ordered for a customer, so it sits on the shelf. Another customer doesn’t show up for their appointment at the service lane, so the part goes back on the shelf. A customer orders a part for pick up but never arrives, so the part goes back to the shelf and they all start collecting dust. It’s easy to end up with an obsolescence issue if you don’t have a focused strategy in place to keep parts from sitting on the shelves for too long.
It’s unlikely that a customer will waltz up to your parts counter and need a part that’s been sitting on the shelf for a while, but that’s only because you’re selling to a limited market. If you could sell on a national level, you’d have a much higher chance of finding the customer you need.
If your dealership has an obsolescence problem, the good news is that an eCommerce platform is an easy fix. You don’t have to be tech-savvy to run a parts web store or put your inventory on today’s most popular online marketplaces, either. As long as you work with a solid eCommerce solution that offers you full support and training, you’ll feel in control every step of the way. So what are the steps to launching a successful parts eCommerce strategy to address obsolescence?
Assess Your Resources and Goals
Do you just want to eliminate obsolescence, or do you want to aggressively grow your parts department’s revenue? You can decide to start small and get used to handling more orders, or you can scale quickly. Set the pace that’s best for you and is based on your internal resources. This will help you determine which options are best for you when going digital.
The main ways to go digital are:
- Replace your parts request form with a user-friendly parts and accessories catalog to empower customers to find and reserve parts
- Sell parts on your existing dealership website
- Create a separate custom parts website to sell nationally
- Sell on marketplaces like eBay and Amazon(another great option for getting rid of obsolete parts)
Find a Parts eCommerce Solution That Aligns With Your Goals
If you evaluate your resources and still aren’t sure which channel is right for you, then you can go to an eCommerce provider for guidance. They provide the online parts and accessories catalog, shopping cart, order processing, shipping tools, and more. They’ll also handle every step of the website setup and implementation, so you don’t have to worry about the technical details.
Since the quality of the eCommerce solution is critical to your success, it’s worth your time to research your options. Look at sample sites and even view a demo if you can. You can find an auto parts eCommerce checklist below with 50 questions to ask vendors and helpful tips for evaluating eCommerce solution providers.
Configure Administrative Settings
If you pick an eCommerce provider with a reliable support team, you’ll be guided through every step of the process. They’ll guide you through things like shipping methods, tax settings, payment gateways, and other back-end settings that are necessary to run an online parts business.
If your eCommerce solution isn’t able or willing to help you out, then you might want to reconsider who you’ve decided to partner with. This is your first indicator of how the support team will work with you in the months or years to come.
Set Up a Parts Store
You have multiple options when it comes to selling online, and if you want to do it well, it’s best to sell through as many channels as you can.
Set Up Shop on eBay
A marketplace like eBay is the perfect place to make the sale on your “obsolete” parts. With a user base of over 182 million people around the world, there’s someone out there who needs that dusty old part on your shelf.
When selling on eBay, first set up a business account on PayPal. After that, you can go through the steps of registering for an eBay business account, linking to PayPal, and filling in all the necessary information, like tax rates.
Once you’re ready to go, you can create listings manually or sign up with an auto parts eCommerce eBay solution that will make the whole process much faster and easier. The RevolutionParts eBay solution handles all the grunt work with bulk listings, accurate shipping calculations, advanced pricing, and more.
Obsolete parts are some of the best car parts to sell on eBay. Some dealerships have even been known to buy out obsolete inventory from other dealers, then resell it themselves on eBay!
Start Selling on Amazon
You can also sell on Amazon! Amazon is a giant online marketplace with over 300 million active users, including people looking for OEM parts and accessories. As with eBay, you can instantly upload your entire inventory, including obsolete parts, to your Amazon store. Just head over to their sign-up page to register for an Amazon Seller account. After that, simply list your products and wait for customers to make a purchase.
If your parts department is already partnered with RevolutionParts but not selling on eBay or Amazon, talk to your account manager to learn how you can get started. With RP, you can instantly list your entire inventory, have your listing fees waived, and manage all orders from all of your selling channels from a single dashboard.
Start a Parts Web Store
The time it takes to set up a new parts eCommerce site really depends on where and how you’re selling. If you’re plugging your new online parts store into your existing site, then you won’t have to do much in terms of customization. However, if you’re starting up a standalone website to sell nationally, then your eCommerce solution will create a custom logo and website design for you.
You can get your parts website up and running faster if you give them something to work with! Of the offered templates, which one do you like the most? What color scheme do you want? Check out competitors’ websites that you like and determine the basics of what the best designs have in common.
Start Selling Auto Parts
Once your parts website is live, the orders will start coming in. It’s up to you to fulfill and ship these orders! Make sure you’re prepared with some packing materials on hand.
Remember, this is your chance to clear your shelf space of those obsolete parts! It’ll also help you avoid obsolescence in the future. Drop the prices for the parts you want to get rid of, and with the right marketing strategy, they’ll be off the shelf in no time.
Make Parts Marketing a Priority
Marketing is absolutely essential if you want to dominate the online retail sphere. Even if it’s as simple as a Facebook account or an email list, you need some way to let customers know that your parts website is open for business.
If you want to rank with the top competitors, write original product descriptions to boost organic traffic to your parts website. Additionally, you can set up paid ads through Google. Advertising with Google is another powerful option that’s not too difficult if you know what you’re doing—and it’s great for advertising your low-priced, obsolete auto parts.
An online revenue channel will rapidly grow your market share and profit. The best part is, that it doesn’t require a ton of technical knowledge to get started. When it comes to online advertising, you can choose to invest as much or as little time as you want. Of course, you can always hire a marketing service to do all that for you, so you can focus on selling auto parts.
Setting up your parts department for sales success is easier than you think. By taking these steps, you can help reduce and eliminate obsolescence in the parts department. If you’re still unsure about the process, read through our “Parts Manager’s Guide to Beating Obsolescence,” to dive deeper into how these tools and steps can help you grow your parts business today!