The shift in sales from brick-and-mortar to the online platform is a disruption in itself. According to Salesforce, even if the consumers wish to buy offline, 85% of them consider conducting online research first. Talking of the automotive eCommerce business, where cars will continue to follow the “Research online buy offline” model, auto parts are embracing the “Research online and buy online” model.
The auto industry—which includes sales of cars, light trucks, auto parts, and accessories—represents 23.7% of all US retail sales, making it the largest retail sector – eMarketer
Thus, here comes the opportunity – Build an eCommerce platform where consumers can discover, research, and buy auto parts in a synchronous and easygoing fashion.
The automotive retail business model can bring along expected revenues. And, with competition like A-Z of Amazon, this could be your USP (unique selling point). All you would have to do is to put effort into building trust while staying relevant.
The proof that it will work out is already there. When we searched quora threads for “Should I buy auto parts online,” the results were quite optimistic.
So, do you wish to proceed with this auto parts eCommerce business idea? If yes, here is everything that you need to know.
Is Selling Through an Intermediate Good for your Automotive eCommerce Business?
Most businesses have been selling through Amazon or eBay just to avoid the inflated costs that go into building a distinctive online store. But, honestly, you are sharing a fragment of profit with another eCommerce platform, and that is not something favorable.
Why would you give them control over your automotive eCommerce business when you have an option to establish your own platform. And, in this era where multi-channel eCommerce solution is getting attention, the stakes of making your presence count are high too.
A relatable example – We helped Euro Car Parts, UK’s largest car parts supplier to build a multi-channel eCommerce solution and a dedicated content management system to manage their product catalog. The solution not only helped them in optimizing the website speed but also helped them organize their data in a single, manageable repository. You can hover onto the case study link provided at the end of this post to know more.
Building an Automotive eCommerce Business – What Does it Take?
When building an automotive eCommerce business, several customer journey touchpoints need to fall in place. What are they? Let’s find out.
1. A Delightful Overall User Experience
A good looking and neat eCommerce platform is the first thing that a visitor notices. The overall design should look welcoming and attractive to make visitors stay. The great strategy would be to keep track of the latest UX design trends and implement the ones that look promising.
That done right, make sure the user can easily browse through the categories, view the product details, and add it to the cart. Anything that makes the visitor abandon the cart should be avoided. Whether it is the ability to alter the cart, add the address, or to enable a secure payment gateway, every touchpoint of the customer journey should be given consideration.
2. Product Filters – Year, Make, Model, and Warranty Info
When an individual visits an auto parts eCommerce website, they already have in mind what they are looking for. You just need to understand their need without them having to explain much. This is possible by infusing the right filters on your product pages.
Make sure the year, make, and model and warranted related filters are in place. You could also try something like what Euro Car Parts has been doing. Their automotive eCommerce platform supports an embedded filter, wherein a visitor can find authentic auto parts by just entering their vehicle registration number. This is what the interface looks like.
Also, focus on making the discovery journey a 3-4 click task, before the results get displayed on the page. Or, you could also try implementing a recommendation system that can present existing customers with auto parts that are related to their past purchases.
3. An Easygoing On-Site Search
Do not miss out on embedding an on-site search bar if you wish to create a delightful experience. The better the search experience, the more are the chances of customer retention. The simplest of strategies that brands have been embracing nowadays are – Chatbots. You can easily leverage this technology to make for an overall engaging experience.
Whenever a user lands on your automotive eCommerce website, the chatbot pop-up should act as a virtual assistant that guides them through. Or, a better strategy would be to build a Facebook Messenger bot for your business, owing to its overwhelming popularity.
4. DIY Videos
Businesses are leveraging video content to drive overall user engagement. Especially when you are selling auto parts, it would be good to offer an option of a ‘DIY installation’ video demo for installing the spares parts. It would be like killing two birds with one stone, i.e., your authenticity as a business would escalate along with being valuable in turn.
72% of customers would rather learn about a product or service by way of video – Hubspot
The great part is that you can use these videos for email nurturing and social advertising alike. The acceptable formats for videos include; .mp4 and .webm. Here is a complete comparison of the two to help you make a data-driven decision.
Additionally, you can also use YouTube/Vimeo plugins on your website. They will not have a huge dent on the website speed, which is a critical factor to consider.
A Google search trend for “how to fix a radiator,” shows how eagerly people wish to learn more about these DIY tricks.
Videos are a sure shot way to turn all the eyeballs on your eCommerce store. Try and make it all worth it by seeking help from an experienced eCommerce development agency!
5. Diving into the Mobile-First Wave
Online sales of auto parts & accessories purchased from mobile will be over $10 billion by 2021 – Hedges & Company
Having a responsive automotive eCommerce solution both for desktop and mobile devices is what will get you a competitive edge in the market. Since Google has introduced the mobile-first indexing, the need to optimize the mobile eCommerce experience has become even more important.
Therefore, to make for a stellar mobile-experience, optimizing your platform for mobile is a must. You can either hire an in-house team or partner with an experienced custom eCommerce development company that is proficient with building credible mobile experiences. From making your mobile website fast, visually attractive, and responsive to adding a minimal click navigation journey, everything will be covered to equate for great customer experience.
Choose the best eCommerce platform to start with while keeping in mind all the key aspects mentioned above. It is the right time to invest in the automotive eCommerce business, which is expected to bloom in the near future.
Vehicles will continue to be on the road, and so will the need for auto parts. Get going with building your brand presence online and see the tides turning in your favor. All you need to do is put your best foot forward.