Amazon or eBay? Bringing Auto Parts to the Digital Marketplace
The online aftermarket auto parts industry is booming, showing no signs of slowing down. With a big shift in the marketplace from one-off auction-style sales on eBay largely on the part of individuals unloading a part or two, to this behemoth of a digital business model, with many dealers adding hundreds of new listings on a daily basis, the online auto parts industry is a force to be reckoned with.
Much of the demand for online parts is being driven by independent auto repair shops ordering parts for their stores, as well as home enthusiasts looking to do repairs on their own. This explosion in use equals big opportunities for third party auto parts sellers, as consumers increasingly search for replacement parts from spark plugs to sound system upgrades, new rims and more.
We’ll take a brief look at the online auto part landscape, breaking down the difference between the two major platforms, eBay and Amazon. We’ll also touch on a few different marketing strategies, so you can start leveraging the online space to generate more revenue for your business.
Amazon or eBay – What Platform Works Best?
Both sites are great resources for businesses trying to increase their ability to sell their goods online, however, there are a couple major differences between the two. Here’s a brief rundown of the pros and cons of each to help you get a sense of which one is right for your organization.
eBay has long been the domain of resellers—everyone from home collectors selling used parts to the guy at the scrap yard stripping vehicles of any still-useful parts. eBay has been around longer, and is a great resource for car enthusiasts looking for a rare part that might be hard to find at their local repair shop. As larger scale auto parts seller, you may be thinking eBay might not be the best choice for your company, but you might want to reconsider. Things are changing on the site, as larger parts retailers are listing new aftermarket parts for sale, often with a large backlog of inventory.
The downside to using eBay as a larger business, is that searchers looking for a specific item need to be hip to the filtering that goes into doing an effective eBay search. Simply typing in the name of a specific item can sometimes yield thousands of results, which can be overwhelming for the consumer.
You’ll be able to set up a company page within the website, so consumers can browse all of your offerings from one location. You’ll just want to make sure you have all the tools in place so prospective shoppers can find you before your many competitors.
Here’s a couple extra things you need to know before getting started on eBay:
Pricing — Getting the hang of the pricing model on eBay can be a challenge. eBay consumers are very into finding the best possible deal. They scour the site for misspelled listings and sellers who don’t know what their wares are actually worth.
Feedback — Success on eBay is all about the feedback, and if you’re not consistently getting a five-star rating, don’t expect to sell anything. Don’t skimp on the customer service, make sure the parts you list are exactly what you say they are, and don’t be afraid to ask for a good review (it’s common practice on eBay. You can also rate buyers, so be wary of anyone who has a bad rating. Some buyers may try to wrongly return broken parts for a refund.
Amazon on the other hand is more geared toward companies that sell parts in larger volumes, rather than an individual looking to unload an item or two at a time like eBay. One thing worth noting is, Amazon does not allow the sale of used parts, so if you’re selling both new and used eBay may be a better fit, as you won’t have to juggle multiple platforms.
Amazon is great if you own your own brand and have the capacity to use Amazon fulfillment. If you can afford to send Amazon large quantities of stock (stock that’s proven to move fast, we might add), you won’t have to worry about drop shipping, which is near impossible for auto parts sellers to keep up with. Amazon expects you’ll be able to ship within a day or two—tricky if you’re getting one order at a time, and operating a brick and mortar store or your own e-commerce platform.
Another thing to keep in mind, Amazon requires a tremendous amount of upkeep. Before diving in, be sure your staff has the bandwidth to optimize your listings, and keep up with paid advertising—both on Google AdWords and Amazon itself. While there are many things to get familiar with as a new seller, if you play your cards right, you can stand to make some serious revenue from Amazon conversions alone.
Tackling the Digital Marketing Beast
Like all business models, there are some challenges that emerge for auto parts sellers trying to optimize their online sales strategies. As we mentioned, the market is pretty saturated, both on the seller side, as well as the consumer’s. Meaning, while it’s getting competitive out there, demand is still on the rise.
Once you’ve set up your online product page—you’ll want to get some customers pointed in the right direction. Start driving traffic to your buyers come directly to you to make their purchases. Like recruiting customers to a store on the side of the highway, getting visitors to your site can be difficult. For that reason, a comprehensive digital marketing strategy is essential for engaging with customers and fueling your website growth.
Some of these are obvious if you’re already familiar with e-commerce sales, but here’s some advice to start things off on the right foot:
- Make sure your page looks good — While eBay and Amazon take care of the bone structure of your product pages, you’ll want to make sure everything is in tip top shape. All product descriptions from the specs to the model numbers need to be correct. Images should be crisp and professional, so customers can easily tell what they’ll be getting. For SEO purposes, make sure your page and individual listings contain the keywords someone would use to find this product.
- Set up a shopping campaign on Google: Shopping campaigns help ensure that your products are front and center on the search results page with eye-catching product listing ads that link back to your website.
- Get social: If you’re not on social media, make it a point to set up an account on one or two channels that your target audience might use. Whether you go with Facebook, Twitter or every platform under the sun, your customers can be directly linked to your product page, which will boost traffic.
- Use Google AdWords — A little paid advertising goes a long way here. Focus on very specific, long tail keywords that highlight both your brand and the product.
Ready to Dive In?
Hopefully this helps give you an idea of the vast opportunity that exists within automotive online selling space. As a parts seller, if you aren’t capitalizing on opportunities to leverage any online community you’ll quickly be left behind, as both smaller wholesalers and end customers increasingly do much of their business online, particularly on these two monster platforms.