495 Jeep

How One Dealership Turned Online Part Sales into a Success Story

In 2021, 495 Jeep in Lowell, MA, led by General Manager Shah Ghandchi, set out to launch an online parts store, but the journey had a rocky start. The dealership, a family-owned business, faced numerous challenges. “We were stuck back in 1995 selling parts,” he said. 

The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic further pressured the dealership to find alternative revenue streams as traditional car sales declined. Shah observed, “People are hanging onto vehicles now,” he noted, “and with high car prices and interest rates, more customers were looking to fix and maintain their existing cars.” This shift created an opportunity for the dealership to focus on parts as new avenues for income.

Internal Hurdles to Online Success

Transitioning to an online model required a strategy shift and a thinking transformation. “Changing the mentality of the team was one of our biggest obstacles,” Shah noted.

Shah recognized that the old ways of doing things in the dealership were no longer viable. “We were stuck in our ways, thinking that customers would continue to come to the dealership for parts,” he said. He knew that this old approach meant that the dealership wasn’t prepared to meet the needs of modern customers, who now demand more convenient online shopping options—even when it comes to auto parts.

The dealership’s first attempts to launch the online store were also met with technical and operational issues. “We didn’t have the right tools in place,” Shah admitted. The selling tools and a digital platform they were using forced Shah into an uphill battle. The dealership struggled with the complexities of setting up an online store and creating a seamless and user-friendly online shopping experience. “We underestimated the amount of work required to build a functional online store,” Shah shared. This led to a series of incomplete launches that failed to gain traction.

“The next step was to break free from our old habits and embrace a new way of thinking. We didn’t give up after those first few tries. Instead, we took a step back, reassessed our strategy, and made the necessary adjustments.”

Forging Ahead with Teamwork and Modernization

In 2022, the dealership made another attempt to launch its online parts store, and this time Shah knew exactly how to harness his success. “It was just getting the right team in place,” Shah explained—and that’s exactly what he did. That team has helped Shah create a powerful parts-selling machine and now possesses the necessary skills and commitment to embracing change.

Finding his foothold in the digital space also required investments in modern technologies and streamlining operations for an online shopping experience. “We knew we had to create a system that was not just functional but also efficient and user-friendly,” Shah explained. This involved working with RevolutionParts to create a custom website, tap into the complete Jeep parts catalog, set up secure payment systems, and arrange quick order fulfillment.

Tapping into the Power of RevolutionParts

Partnering with RevolutionParts was key the setting up their thriving online business. The platform provided a one-stop shop for setting up and managing their online part store. However, he emphasized the hard work of his talented team in actively maintaining and investing in the platform to see real results. “It’s a fancy toy, but if you don’t have a good team to take care of it, if you don’t stay up to date with it, it won’t work,” he said. 

Shah reminisced about seeing initial success. “Once the team saw the orders coming in, they realized that selling parts online was a viable strategy,” he shared. This tangible evidence played a defining role in building momentum and securing buy-in from the entire team. Since adopting RevolutionParts, the dealership has seen remarkable growth. “Sales are up nearly 300% year-to-date compared to when we first started selling online with RevolutionParts,” Shah noted with enthusiasm.

Adapting to the Amazon Era

In the Amazon era, characterized by quick, convenient shopping and near-instant shipping, Shah set out to align his parts business with heightened customer expectations. That required an end-to-end analysis of internal processes. “We had to look at every step of the process, from inventory management to shipping, and find ways to make it faster and more efficient,” he said. This included adopting new inventory management systems that provided real-time updates and integrating more advanced logistics solutions to expedite delivery times. Shah was able to achieve that with RevolutionParts. The dealership reduced order processing times and improved overall efficiency, leading to a better customer experience. Shah noted, “We recreated a perfectly smooth, fast online shopping experience, just like people are used to with big online retailers.”

Reaping the Rewards of Online Parts Sales

Once Shah and his parts team made their breakthrough, the benefits started rolling in one after another. “It’s a legitimate avenue to sell parts,” Shah said, adding that it allowed them to move parts more efficiently, take advantage of manufacturer incentives, and earn more from aging and obsolete inventory.

Capturing Success on eBay

One of the most impressive aspects of the dealership’s journey was their unprecedented success on eBay. Shah couldn’t hide his enthusiasm when he shared, “We were at a 300% increase in sales from where we were last year.” This milestone was a welcomed outcome of his team’s hard work, commitment to a seamless customer experience, and investment in strategic marketing initiatives. 

Seamless Customer Experience

“People just want to click, click, and buy,” Shah explained. This philosophy was the driving force behind the dealership’s early wins with eBay. They focused on reducing friction at every step of the buyer’s journey through clear product descriptions and competitive pricing while harnessing eBay’s platform’s simplified buying process and familiarity. 

“We looked at it from the customer’s perspective. We asked ourselves, ‘If I were buying a part, what would I want to see? What would make me trust this store over another?’” 

Powerful Marketing Strategies

With RevolutionParts’ guidance, Shah implemented tailored marketing strategies to boost visibility on eBay. They invested in targeted ads and promotions to reach potential buyers actively looking for specific parts. “We didn’t settle for organic traffic. We wanted to make sure that when someone searched for a part we had, our listing was one of the first they saw,” Shah said. This aggressive approach paid off, significantly increasing his store’s nationwide reach.

Customer Feedback and Adaptation

The dealership didn’t stop at just launching the store; they actively sought and responded to customer feedback. “We made it a point to read every review and respond to customer queries quickly. If someone had an issue, we addressed it immediately and used that feedback to improve our service,” the parts manager explained. The results of these efforts were clear: their eBay store saw a dramatic increase in sales and accelerated a growing customer base. 

“It’s about building a brand that people could rely on. We wanted to be known as the go-to place for parts, not just on eBay but across the board.”

Looking to the Future

Shah looks towards the future with uncertainty. With the rise of electric vehicles and the potential for new types of parts to become more prominent, he plans to enter the next automotive era with the same openness and drive he had when he started selling parts online. “If EV continues, it’s going to be EV parts,” he said, noting that the industry was at a crossroads. Despite the uncertainties, Shah views them as an opportunity for more growth in the online parts market. 

Shah’s journey from initial struggles to significant success with his online part store is a testament to his drive, talented team, commitment to customer satisfaction, and openness to powerful modern digital tools. With RevolutionParts’ help, 495 Jeep has set themselves up for a bright future in the online parts market.

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