How to Decide Which Auto Parts to Discount or Promote

It goes without saying that shoppers LOVE getting a sweet deal on something. It encourages them to buy, meaning a happy customer and a sale for you.

But the discount also means you earn less money on that part overall. If you’re not careful, you might end up accidentally selling parts for less than you’re earning back!

You need to find the right parts to discount, so you can still be profitable. So how do you figure out which parts those are?

1. Look at your overstock, aged, and obsolete parts

Trying to get rid of a part? Discount it!

With aged inventory, sometimes it’s simply a case of “something is better than nothing.” Even if you sell an aged part at a loss, it’s much better than selling to the wholesaler for literal pennies.

Give those aged and obsolete parts a nice, juicy discount. If they haven’t sold after a week or two, increase the discount more.

Don’t forget to work with your marketing agency on this too. If you’re trying to move specific parts, they can run ads for the exact parts you’re trying to sell in order to increase the chances of finding a buyer.

2. High-margin parts

The obvious answer is to discount the parts that are typically marked up enough that they can take the hit. Often this includes accessories!

Ideally, your parts eCommerce solution lets you set up category-specific promos. This way, you can set up a discount that only applies to the parts of your choosing—namely, accessories.

A good trick is to spy on your competitors. See what popular parts websites are charging for those high-margin parts, and then create a promotion that prices your inventory around the same or a little lower.

3. Look at fast-moving parts and things you can buy in bulk for cheap

If you can buy an entire pallet all at once, the bulk price can save a LOT of money.

Some dealers will buy a pallet of windshield wipers or oil filters, since they know they can sell them quickly. By buying them for a lower cost, you can discount them more than usual and still come out ahead.

RELATED: 7 Tricks for Speeding Up Inventory Turn at your Parts Department

4. Think about the time of year

Themed promotions based on season is a great way to tap into your shoppers’ needs right when they realize they need it!

For example, discount some winter parts and accessories just as the snowy season approaches, and continue to run promotions during those winter months.

Since there’s an increased need during that time of year, it’s a perfect strategy to draw in extra shoppers. The discount might lower the profit on individual orders, but an overall increase in volume will make up for it.

Other ideas:

  • Standard car inspection parts for Back to School (oil filters, air pressure gauges)
  • Camping/Outdoors accessories in the summer (roof racks, floor mats)
  • General Holiday promotions (Labor Day, Father’s Day, 4th of July)

5. Research Top Selling Parts data

What are the hottest parts on the market? Listen to the data!

When you can see first hand what sells best, then you know you’re making a smart choice.


Discounts bring in sales, and sales are the name of the game. But if you discount the wrong parts, it could end up just hurting your profits!

Deciding on exactly how much to discount is an entirely different conversation. At the very least, make sure to use some common logic! If your parts are priced at Cost + 10%, then you won’t get anywhere with a 10% discount!

You can always set up failsafes. For example, in order to qualify for a $15 discount, the shopper has to place a $150 order. Click here to get some example coupons you can offer.

If you make educated decisions about it, sales can help you undercut the competition and get more sales! Give it a try.


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