5 Signs of a Powerful Parts eCommerce Platform

As the market for buying parts & accessories grows, it makes sense that the ways to sell online will grow, too.

In just the last few years, eBay Motors and Amazon have made massive strides in moving part & accessory sales online. 

eCommerce solutions (like us!) have jumped on the opportunity to reach a growing market. From eBay solutions to standalone parts eCommerce solutions, vendors are trying new ways to make YOUR life easier.

#1 Secure and Reliable Website and Payment Gateways

If your parts website goes down, you can’t make sales. It’s as simple as that.

And sales aren’t the only thing that’s affected!

Constant website outages are:

  • Unprofessional
  • Frustrating to a buyer
  • Hurtful to your credibility as an online seller

When shoppers visit your website, only to find that it’s down, glitchy, or slow, it’s unlikely that they’ll ever come back.

Today, consumers have a small attention span, with recent studies suggesting that it only lasts about 8 seconds. 

If a consumer lands on your website and it is down, chances are they will move on to the next without a second thought and never return. 

Another part of this goes back to a fear of online fraud, and the possibility that the website was hacked. Parts eCommerce solutions have been hacked in the past, leading to lost customer data and stolen credit cards.

Any professional business should have safe and secure payment gateways that keep sensitive information safe.

Make sure to partner with a solution that is reliable and is PCI compliant and uses tokenization to protect customer info.

#2 Accurate Shipping Estimates

From tiny bolts to huge bumpers, parts departments have to deal with items of every shape and size.

Parts can be oversized, odd-shaped, heavy, hazmat, and so on. This can make shipping a nightmare—for your customers and your bottom line!

High shipping estimates will scare away shoppers, while low shipping estimates cut into dealership profits when you have to make up the difference.

Some dealerships end up asking their customers for more money after undercharging for shipping, which just looks bad (but it’s better than taking a huge hit to your margin).

Bad: Shipping based on a percentage of the price

This method isn’t very accurate. Small, pricey products overcharge customers, while large but relatively inexpensive items end up costing way too little.

That said, it does make sense to charge a little more for high-price items to cover the cost of special shipping, like “fragile” items or “require signature” items.

Good: Shipping estimates based on catalog data

This method is much more accurate since this is how shipping carriers naturally calculate their prices. 

Additionally, you should be able to compare carrier prices straight from the order management screen in order to find the best price between USPS, UPS, FedEx, and DHL.

And, of course, this estimate should display to customers in real-time as they add items to their cart!

#3 Customer-Friendly Interface

Confused shoppers do not turn into customers!

Your website must be clean and easy to navigate for everyday parts shoppers. If it’s difficult for parts shoppers to search, they’ll get frustrated and leave.

No matter how great an eCommerce platform’s back-end tools are, you can’t sell to confused or frustrated customers. When you first start asking for parts eCommerce solutions, ask them what about the average conversion rate on the websites they power.

To test this yourself, browse through some parts websites powered by the solution. Pick a part that you want to “buy,” and then go through the process of finding it and adding it to your cart.

You don’t need to actually buy it, of course, but this is a fantastic way to see the store through your shopper’s eyes.

#4 Accurate and Flexible OEM Data

Part & accessory catalogs are absolutely massive, so it’s nearly impossible to find a catalog that’s 100% error-free. Yet, some eCommerce solutions have better data than others, and it can make a huge difference in your online success.

Glitchy catalogs can lead to misunderstandings between you and your customer. If something isn’t labeled properly, a customer may end up buying a part that isn’t what they need.

Being able to edit catalog data is especially powerful.

If you come across an inaccuracy like incorrect dimensions or missing weights, wouldn’t it be nice to add that information yourself? Give the part a quick measure, enter in the dimensions, and send it out. You won’t have to worry about incorrect data for that part again.

But some catalogs are fixed in place, and users aren’t able to make changes. In this case, parts managers would have to estimate the shipping by hand and risk setting the wrong price.

#5 Ability to Customize

This is YOUR parts website. You should have as much control over it as you want.

Whether that’s setting custom pricing rules, adjusting shipping price margins, tweaking the design of your website, or something else, you should always feel in control of your website.

Not only that but setting your own pricing and shipping can play a huge factor in your success. Without control, it’s difficult to set balanced prices that are both profitable and competitive.

With some eCommerce solutions, you need to call and request a change for every little thing, and then take weeks to fulfill your request. Others will just leave you in the dark and expect you to figure out the customizations on your own.

Bottom Line

Turning your parts department into an eCommerce powerhouse is the key to raising revenue at the dealership, and to do so you need a powerful eCommerce platform that allows you to maximize your efforts. 

Once you’ve decided to start selling online, download our free guide, 8 Keys to Successfully Selling OEM Parts Online to learn how you can create a thriving online parts business. 


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