Starting any kind of business is never a walk in the park. There are some serious hurdles that you have to overcome and some factors that you have to pay close attention to. The good news, however, is that once you decide to get into any business that you want, the fact that you have taken that space to take on the challenge is all you need to push yourself forward. One of the many business ideas that could work in the current environment would be an online auto parts shop.
We are going to explore all the things that pertain to selling auto parts online, what you have to do to get things running, the challenges you should expect to face and what to do to overcome them, and any other information that will help you set a successful online shop for auto parts like car lights. If you have been thinking of opening your own store, then stick around to the end and learn a few tips to get you started.
Deciding to open an online store is just a single step; the real work begins when you start taking care of the initial investments that will get things running from the ground up. The following are some of the things you have to do in order to increase the chances of success for your auto part online shop.
Identify Your Niche Market
One thing you should never risk doing is trying to take on everything at once. The sheer number of vehicle types that exist cannot allow you to be a jack-of-all-trades as that will stretch you thin. You have to focus on one niche and perfect your trade to the point where you are the go-to person when someone starts looking for a particular car part.
If you chose to go with sports cars, then stick to sports cars and don’t start stocking up on heavy-duty car parts. As far as identifying your niche goes, try restructuring your target market based on the following identifiers.
OEM vs. Aftermarket Parts
OEM refers to original equipment manufacturers, and they refer to car parts that have been manufactured by the parent company that makes the vehicle whose parts you are planning to supply—for example, selling Toyota car engines that have been made by the Toyota company. Aftermarket parts, on the other hand, refer to the parts that are manufactured by third-party parts companies that can be used in a wide range of cars.
Making a choice between these two will give a good idea of how you can create your own niche.
Classic Car vs. Modern Car Parts
You can also choose to either go with classic car parts or modern car auto parts. If you chose to go with the former, that means you will be supplying auto parts to a specific group of people since the number of people that own classic cars are not that many. But the margins are higher since classic car parts are rare and expensive.
Going with modern car parts is a better option if you value selling quantity over quality. You will never run out of customers, and although the parts are cheaper, you will be making a lot of sales since modern car owners outnumber classic car owners many times over.
Investigate Your Competition
There are more than enough car owners in the world for any auto part shop to make money from, but that should not be the excuse you use when starting your own online enterprise. It pays a lot to keep tabs on your competition as that is one of the best ways of knowing what sells and what doesn’t. The following are some of the reasons why knowing what your direct competitor is up to is doing.
- It helps you to know and understand what your competitor is up to and the moves they are about to make. The last thing you would want is to be caught flatfooted spelling outdated things when your direct competitor is a step ahead of you selling what is on demand.
- It gives you an edge over them by allowing you to predict where the market is going and beating them to the finishing line. All it takes is being the first to unveil a new product, for instance, and all the customers will come flocking to your shop.
- It helps you formulate a better marketing strategy that will take advantage of your competitor’s weaknesses. This is something that can only be pulled off if you have your proper research on them well in advance.
Find the Right Auto Part Suppliers
This is an extremely important part that can either make or break your business. Quality is important when you choose to go into the auto parts selling business because these are cars you’re dealing with and the lives of people are at stake. For this reason, you have to make sure that you land the best auto part supplier you can find to gain access to genuine car parts and accessories.
There are four major sources that you can narrow down to when it comes to auto-part suppliers; these four include the following.
Online Auto Suppliers
These are bulk suppliers who display their products online through a huge online platform. Most usually have their products grouped in bulk and can only be purchased at certain numbers. If you choose to go with online suppliers, make sure you do thorough research to verify their authenticity. This can be done by reading reviews and asking people who may have done business with them before.
Auto Parts Factories
The best option by far is making the trip directly to the factories that deal with the manufacture of the auto parts that you intend to stock in your online shop. The advantage of doing this is that you are afraid of getting brand new products that are straight from the assembly line. You are also subjected to good discounts when you buy in bulk, and if you are a frequent customer, you can even have them branded if you are sourcing from Aftermarket parts.
Automotive Trade Shows
Attending a trade show for cars is another great way of sourcing auto parts for your enterprise. This allows you to know where the market is headed since auto shows usually display only the latest products. If you are interested in selling newly unveiled products the moment they drop into their market, then make it a habit to attend as many auto shows as you can.
An online auto parts shop is just like any other business and just because you save rental space for a physical shop doesn’t mean that you avoid the due process. You have to follow the usual protocols that any normal business enterprise would follow. Some of the things you have to include are the following,
- Company Registration: This will require you to provide all your details and any other person who may be involved in the enterprise in any capacity. If you plan to hire employees or set up a warehouse, all these details and more have to be indicated in the company registration form.
- Tax ID: You have to remit your taxes since you are a business. The tax details make it easy for the tax regulatory body in your location to keep tabs on what you are up to. This is one of the things that usually get people caught up, later on, leading to prosecution due to tax avoidance crimes. To run a successful online auto parts shop, you must get all your affairs in order before registration.
Choose an Online Selling Platform
To run an online shop, you have to make a choice between using third-party websites or starting one of your own from scratch. There are a number of free options that you can choose to go with, and they are explained briefly below.
- eBay: eBay has been around for a very long time, and it has been used by many people to sell all kinds of items. All you have to do is to register an account with eBay, link it to a PayPal account for payments, and you will be ready to start selling your auto parts within minutes.
- Amazon: Amazon is another global online platform that is open to everyone who wishes to start selling anything they want. Just like eBay, you only need to set up an account and the relevant payment details and start uploading images of what you are selling for display.
- Your Own Website: This would be the best option to go with as you will not be limited by anything. Opening your own ecommerce website gives you more control over what you can do. You can make customizations by adding your logos and getting a unique domain that clearly spells out the type of auto parts that you are dealing with. Linking this with your social media pages will boost your online presence and increase your sales better than anything else.
Price Them for Profit
Pricing is another sloppy slope that can either make or break a business and this is where scouting your competition is important. Every product usually has a ballpark price tag in the market, one that every player uses. However, you have to think of your profits and price your products in accordance with the amount you bought them for. If you are dealing with OEMs, then your potential customers have to be made aware of that fact.
One standout feature of online shops is that the prices come fixed. People buy what they see, and there’s no way for them to get in touch to haggle over the price. Therefore, make sure that the price you set makes sense both of your profit margins and to the customer’s ability to afford. You will come across many people who will raise an issue with pricing no matter how low you may go. The bottom line here is that you have to leverage everything you have on your end to make sure that you get the upper hand.
This is why it is important to create your own niche first and create a reputation for being the sole supplier of a particular auto part. It will be harder to put a dent in your pricing if this becomes the case, as people will have no other choice.
Add Functions to the Website
There are thousands of online shops that are selling auto parts, and this means you have to stand out if you ever hope to make an impression. Websites are not easy to run, but there are some functionalities that you can add to make sure that visitors are able to navigate the website without any problems. Some of these additional functionalities may appear mundane at first, but they will go a long way in making your online shop user-friendly. Consider adding the following.
- Car Part Number Search: Rather than scrolling through hundreds of pages just to find something, create search options that allow people to simply key in the number or name of the particular part to find it immediately. This is a little convenience that your customers will appreciate.
- Allow Direct Orders: Add an ordering functionality that allows people to add unlimited orders to their baskets before checking out. This will give them a good idea of the prince, something that most online stores don’t have. To make things even easier, add as many payment options as you can since people tend to use all kinds of options that they feel are more secure and convenient for them. This level of options is what makes your website stand out among the thousands that may be competing for the same customers as you.
Information is everything when running an online shop. Unlike a physical store where a customer can walk in and ask questions and get answers immediately, customers using online stores are usually on their own most of the time. They may choose to call the number supplied or send the email, but most times, the call never gets through, and the email response may take too long. Consider adding the following to your website.
- Product Descriptions: These range from short briefs and short sentences to long and detailed paragraphs that properly describe what the auto part in the store does and the best features next to a clear image.
- Auto Parts Images: An online shop that doesn’t have images of the products it is selling is nothing more than a blog page with words. The main essence of an online store is to cut down the trips that people make to the physical store. Therefore, they have to see what they are planning to buy in detail. The images used should be clear, and it should show all the angles to help people make the right decision.
- Review Pages: Although review pages can go sideways, having them next to the product is a show of confidence as you are essentially telling your customers that they are free to say how they experienced the products they just purchased from you. Seeing reviews before buying is a good way of instilling confidence in a potential buyer, and this will greatly boost the reputation of your online store.
Promote Your Online Store
The biggest advantage of running an online store is that you have a lot of tools at your disposal that you can use to promote it far and wide without having to dig deep into your pockets. This is what has made it possible for stores that are opened today to have the capacity to compete with those that have been in the game for a long. The following are some of the tools you can use to promote your online store and attract more people.
There are a number of things that you can do to increase engagement for your website through the use of various Google Adfs tools and campaigns. There are over 13 campaign types that exist that you can tap into to increase the ranking and performance of the online store you are using to sell auto parts. This ranges from Youtube Ads, Search ads, Google Display Networks, among many others that can help you keep track of how the online store is performing.
Social Media Platforms
Social media has changed how businesses handle their online presence, and if you have an online store for auto parts but lack a social media page, then you are killing your chances of success. People spend a lot of time on social media, and the best way to get their attention is by linking your online store with all your social media pages. Keep sharing information about auto parts that are in stock every day by posting links that will then redirect people to the store, increasing traffic and chances of someone buying something go up significantly.
Challenges of Running an Online Auto Parts Store
Convenient as they may be, running an online store for auto parts comes with its own sets of challenges. Just because most of the transactions are done on a virtual platform doesn’t mean that it is all easy. The following are some of the challenges that you should expect to run into once you set up your auto parts shop.
Online Identity Issues
A properly online store usually requires the customer to create a login account with the details that they will use for all their purchases. However, there’s never any guarantee that the details entered by an individual are legit. This opens up the door to fraud, and there have been a good number of cases where identity theft was used to steal money from businesses without their knowledge. This could become a problem for orders that require cash on delivery leading to massive losses for your business.
To counter this:
- Be on the lookout for signs of suspicious activities from the customer’s end.
- Limit cash-on-delivery transactions and opt for advance payments.
- Use cyber security options to bolster your website.
Shopping Cart Abandonment
This is the biggest and the most annoying problem that online stores have to deal with. It is the equivalent of someone filling up their cart at a physical store and leaving it in an aisle, adding more work to the workers. Shopping car abandonment happens about 85% of the time for most online stores, and this can be solved by the following.
- Make the checkout process less tedious.
- Use chatbots to keep the customers busy with answers to questions they may have.
- Optimize your store for mobile shopping.
Return and Refunds
At some point, you will have to deal with refunds and returns. This could be due to many reasons, one being delivering a faulty item that requires a replacement, or at other times, you may simply be dealing with a very problematic customer. The best way to deal with this would be to try the following quick solutions.
- Be very transparent about the return and refund policies. You should have them displayed on the online store where people can see them clearly.
- Provide your customers with options in case something goes wrong in order to continue having them on your customer list.
- You should keep in mind that refunds and returns are all part of customer service. Avoid getting agitated over it and address their concerns as calmly as you can.
Even when you are the first person to open an online store for auto parts in your locality, eventually, someone else will get into that space and offer some competition. This is part of any business, and you should simply find ways to counter that the right way. Consider the following tactics to ensure you remain on top.
- Improve your online store and make it more user-friendly and engaging than your competitors.
- Rtuy lowering your prices and add some benefits on top to attract the attention of potential customers.
- Offer discounts and offers once in a while to attract new customers from your competitors.
- Source your auto parts from the best of suppliers to counter your competition by selling high-quality parts that people will not be able to resist.
Every website gets attacked by malicious hackers all the time. Considering the amount of data that these websites have from their customers, they are usually prime targets for hackers. This could lead to bad business since no one will want to do business with your shop if there’s a risk of their details getting into the wrong hands. Consider the following solutions.
- Secure your servers with the best security tools available.
- Make regular backups of other data
- Update your online store regularly
- Introduce mandatory two-factor authentication for your customers
An online store for auto parts is a grand idea that could make you good money if you execute it well enough. There are countless other tips that you can research to better get how to best approach it. For more information on auto parts and where to source them, check out our website and have all your questions answered by our team of experts.