The demand for auto parts on eBay is through the roof. eBay has devoted an entire website to selling auto parts called eBay Motors. eBay Motors is not just another category on eBay, it is an entire site dedicated to vehicles and auto parts. eBay has devoted a lot of time and money to the development of eBay Motors and it has become the #1 third-party marketplace for auto parts.
If you are not already selling on eBay, you should be. eBay is the perfect environment for selling parts online, especially for dealership parts departments. Amazon is a much bigger platform, but Amazon does not offer the same tools and support for dealers that eBay offers. eBay will expand your parts sales department by offering your parts to the world, as opposed to just your local market.
There are many other reasons why your parts need to be online, and why eBay is the place to sell them, but that is another article for another day. For those who want to take advantage of eBay Motors, here are some keys to success:
1. Start with a sample selection of parts and test. Before you dive in head-first to the deep end of the eBay Motors pool, start out with a small sampling of your inventory. Start listing and start seeing the results for yourself.
Once you catch the vision, then you can invest in development and automation to get your entire inventory listed. You will want to make sure your eBay inventory is accurate and up-to-date using API tools that will automatically update your inventory across platforms.
2. Commit to Fast Shipping. Online buyers want stuff fast. Parts buyers are generally willing to wait for 3-5 days to receive their part, but don’t make them wait longer than that. This means that you must commit to processing your online orders quickly. Set your eBay settings to reflect a short 1-day handling time for all orders and follow through with this commitment.
This also means you must hold your carriers accountable. UPS and FEDEX are preferred shipping partners with eBay and generally will keep you on schedule. You can save some money by using USPS Priority Mail for smaller items, and for items that fit into Flat Rate Boxes. USPS Priority Mail will typically arrive in 1-3 days. Make sure your shipping clerks are well trained and able to make cost-saving shipping decisions without sacrificing customer satisfaction.
3. Offer Free Shipping. In the world of E-commerce, people hate paying for shipping. Price + Shipping formats force buyers to calculate what the combined total will be, and this can cause significant frustration. Buyers are more likely to abandon the purchase rather than figure out the combined cost. This is especially true if the same part is available for a similar price with Free Shipping.
It’s not uncommon to see a 20% (or higher) increase in sales when transitioning from Paid Shipping to Free Shipping. This DOES NOT mean that you are making less money by paying for the buyers shipping charges. This just means you need to get creative in your accounting by raising your selling prices to make room for the shipping charge. Studies have shown that buyers will pay more for an item with Free Shipping.
4. Sell Internationally. Selling internationally is not nearly as complicated as it might sound. eBay has great resources to help you get set up to sell and ship your parts anywhere in the world. You can ship just about anything that weighs under 4lbs for less than $25 to almost any destination in the world, and you don’t need to offer Free Shipping to your international customers. International buyers are typically less price sensitive and are happy to pay the higher price with shipping.
Selling internationally is also a great way to set yourself aside from competitors. Surprisingly, many sellers on eBay Motors do not offer international shipping, so the competition is small. If you learn how to sell internationally, you will literally open a whole new world of potential buyers.
5. Have a Liberal Return Policy. Online buyers expect to be able to return an item if it isn’t quite right. You have to accept returns, and you have to do it with a smile. The world of E-commerce is built on trust. Go the extra mile to keep that trust by offering hassle-free returns (within certain criteria spelled out beforehand). If you do have a problem with a return, try to err on the side of customer service. There are scammers out there who will try to take advantage, but they are few and far between.
The plus side of selling auto parts online is that the return rates are relatively low as compared to other E-commerce categories. Buyers generally do not return auto parts purchased online as often as they do other items.
If you are not already selling parts online, you need to start. eBay will never replace your existing sales, but it can mean a substantial incremental sales increase and can even grow to take on a life of its own.