The Future of the Your Parts Department: Dealerships in a Post-COVID World

We knew the day was coming when the automotive industry would move online, but we never thought it would happen with such urgency. As businesses, plenty of dealerships might have had plans to slowly ease themselves into the digital world. But as Mike Tyson once said:

“Everybody has a plan until you are punched in the mouth.”

The global pandemic has punched dealerships in the mouth. Going digital can no longer be just a vision or small part of your dealership’s growth plan. It’s now the new standard price of entry into a consumer’s thoughts when they consider buying, leasing, or servicing a vehicle. 

Dealerships’ future survival will no longer rely on physical inventory or traditional parts counter and service drives. The future success of dealerships will be enabled by leaders who can deliver cars, parts, and services through a customer-centered platform. That being said, innovations brought forth from 2020 will strengthen your business and determine your success.

The Future of Your Parts Department

In one way or another, we’ve all felt the blow of the economic crisis. The automotive industry witnessed a historical collapse of new car sales in April 2020 due to the pandemic, and experts predict a loss between 1.2 million and 1.6 million in retail sales through July.


of dealers felt like they were not prepared at all for COVID-19


dealers expect a 10%-20% decrease in revenue for 2020 because of COVID-19

Just a year ago, the idea that your buyers would be purchasing vehicles solely online for almost the entire first half of 2020 would have been ridiculous. Now, it’s a significant portion of U.S. car sales and the channel is growing. It’s not only what customers want — it’s what they expect.

Customers are becoming more technologically savvy than ever before. The “On Demand” economies are now at the forefront because of stay-at-home orders. As a result, consumers have found themselves able to maintain their way of life with goods and services delivered directly to them.

But while car sales might be dropping, a motivation to care for the cars we do own has emerged from the ashes. The fears of infection from the coronavirus have created a new role in society for the automobile.

“Once just a way of getting from one place to another, the car has been turned into a mini-shelter on wheels, safe from contamination, a cocoon that allows its occupants to be inside and outside at the same time.”

– NY Times, Together, Alone: The Car as Shelter in the Pandemic

In a world with new dangers, there is a renewed appreciation for our cars as a place of safety. To keep themselves secure and comfortable, customers need instant access to parts and accessories from dealers. At RevolutionParts, we can see the truth of customer demand for ourselves. 

Once stay-at-home orders spread across the US, our platform saw a dip in online parts and accessory sales for dealers using our platform. But, shortly after the stimulus checks and tax refunds came in, we saw a drastic increase in online sales. Parts departments started seeing orders drive up. The online parts industry saw record numbers in May compared to the year before, and we are expecting this momentum to stick.

What You Can Do to Prepare Your Parts Business For Future Success

In order to prepare your Parts Business for success in the future, it’s time to start selling parts and accessories online. Consider these 5 major areas of your business:

  • Customers
  • Value
  • Competition
  • Data
  • Innovation

Ask yourself what is being done in these five areas to be more adaptive, more insightful, and more valuable to customers. Selling online with an eCommerce partner like RevolutionParts helps you:

  • Reach more customers
  • Offer buyers a modern parts-buying experience
  • Dominate your local competition with a hotshot delivery service
  • Understand the data surrounding parts eCommerce
  • Constantly provide your buyers with a modern purchase experience

Start planning and building a roadmap that will boost revenue for your parts department. Dealers who are aggressive now will see added volume and added cash flow. Those embracing the future of the parts department will emerge winners, and the transition from a physical parts counter to an online presence will make your dealership stronger.

Feel confident that your current or future eCommerce provider has everything you need to be successful and profitable with our Parts eCommerce Evaluation Checklist:

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