Digital parts sales have become one of the biggest new opportunities for dealership profits in the past couple of decades with more and more traffic and business coming from online sources. Taking advantage of these online sales can bring your parts department to new heights of profit, expanding your reach and connecting with new buyers. In the case of dealerships that already have a strong online sales department, support can be the difference between continued success or ongoing breakdowns in service. Today we’ll break down both how to get your online parts sales soaring as well as how to support this new branch of your operation for long-term health.

Getting started 

To begin a venture into online parts sales, it’s important to identify your long-term goals. Are you hoping to simply bolster sales by selling miscellaneous extra parts or is there a specific category of inventory that you’d like to offer? Deciding this before launching online sales can be crucial for adapting your inventory to support the new demand as well as preparing for successful shipping of fragile parts vs more hearty items. 

While having your own eCommerce website can allow you to sell without giving a cut to the marketplace provider, there are associated costs with creating and maintaining a dedicated marketplace and attracting traffic to said website. If you’re wanting to dabble in online sales before diving in fully, we recommend using sites like Ebay or Amazon Marketplace which have the traffic, infrastructure, and ease of use. Even if you choose to have a dedicated sales site, you will likely still want to list all items on these marketplaces to generate new business relationships that can then be directed to your sales site in the future. Companies like Revolution Parts can simplify your operation by offering services that help you manage all online parts listings as well as your digital online store. 

Increasing sales

Once you’ve identified your target market, long-term goals, and online sales platform, you can then shift focus to increasing the amount of business coming from online sales. While most dealers tend to assume increasing sales is a matter of marketing, in our experience, supporting a thriving online parts sales business comes down much more to inventory management than anything else. After all, it doesn’t matter if you have an endless stream of online customers if you don’t have the stock to fulfill the orders. We’ve seen a lot of operations increase online sales only to struggle to support and sustain the new business. By giving your Parts Managers the tools they need to create a data-driven inventory, you can shift focus to supporting and growing your digital customer list and increasing customer satisfaction to drive sales upward. 

Support for success

That leads us to the last part of this journey: how to support your online endeavor and guarantee your ability for upward mobility. Between manufacturer programs, special orders, ever-changing DMS settings, and employee management, Parts Managers are climbing an uphill battle to get stock orders right and fight obsolescence on their shelves, much less adapt their inventory for the demands of the ever-complex online demand. Even in operations that don’t do online sales, Parts Managers are stretched thin and often undermined by over-complex DMS’s and poor reporting. Shortages have only added to this. To start, you may want to consider hiring some support. While the hiring crisis has made it difficult to find good employees, Wrenchway creates an easy way for dealerships and body shops to post job opportunities and be matched with the right fit. On the technical front, getting your inventory proactive and data-informed is essential for ongoing success. PartsEdge is your dedicated inventory optimization partner. Designed by a Parts Manager and a DMS specialist who saw the gap between the demands on Parts Managers’ and the lack of resources to get everything done, we take all the guesswork out of DMS management and sourcing setup and optimization and, as a result, our clients see on average a 20% drop in total inventory, 15% less idle inventory, a 50% increase in ROI, and a 20% increase in parts sales. That means more of the inventory you really need for online sales without all the mess. We’ve been helping Parts Managers make their inventories work better for over 20 years and our testimonials speak for themselves. Want to learn more about how PartsEdge helps Parts Managers and their teams? Send us a message.