6 Reasons the Automotive Aftermarket Industry Needs to Invest in Online Retail

Last week I attended the Automotive Aftermarket Suppliers Association (AASA) Technology Conference where we discussed how current and emerging technologies drive efficiency, reduce costs and identify new trends.

I was invited to present on how digital innovations have shaped the new customer. To prep for my presentation I spent a large chunk of time researching industry reports and conducting my own surveys. Again and again, I found myself coming across one undeniable truth: information is power. From detailed searches for product and pricing information to simple searches for dealer location and phone numbers, information is central to decision making. Customers are looking for quality content and companies that invest in it, from photography to education tools, will win sales.

The AASA reports that nearly 80% of all automotive sales being with some type of online research. This presents a huge opportunity for innovative retailers and suppliers as majority of buyers are not satisfied with the quality of product or visual information given (if given at all!).

Adding e-commerce to your business model, developing an online strategy and creating quality content may seem like a daunting task, but below are six facts that prove online retail presents a tremendous growth opportunity for automotive aftermarket companies:

  • 2014 will be the first year the automotive aftermarket industry will reach over $5 billion in online auto parts sales (excluding online auction sites).
  • Online sales in 2013 increased 16% of 2012. Most estimates predict that online sales will increase 13%-15% for the next several years.
  • Brick and mortar sales struggled through most of 2013, ending with an overall decrease of 1.5%. The number may have been more significant if not the harsh winter at the end of 2013.
  • Over 40% of automotive aftermarket web traffic is from search engines, such as Google, Yahoo or Bing.
  • 90% of the top 20 searched keywords or phrases are retailer or manufacturer brand names. This is likely due to consumers searching for a company name rather than typing the URL directly to reduce the chance of misspelling and ending up on a malicious site.
  • In less then 2 years, web traffic for the automotive aftermarket industry grew 23%

Check out my entire presentation on how e-commerce has fundamentally changed the way the automotive aftermarket does business:

Source: HedgesCopmany.com

Jeff Hunt
Jeff Hunt
j.hunt@snap36.com

Jeff's passion for imagery and visualization began early in his career at Eastman Kodak, McDonnell Douglas Unigraphics and PTC. He then veered down the Internet start up path, helping to take Object Design and Cysive to public offerings pre-bubble burst. Joining Scene7 in 2002 (which was acquired by Adobe in 2007) imaging and Internet start-up were finally united. It was here that Jeff listened to his customers and recognized an underserved market in the 360° and 3D photography space...and voilà, Snap36 was born!

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