How to make the leap: sell auto parts and accessories online
by Rob Eberhart, Direct Communications, Inc. (DCi)
Selling auto parts and accessories online may seem out of reach, but technology has made it easier for independent store owners than you might think.
Online sales are growing. In an economy like ours, the past two years have been rough. Most independent stores have lost business and it doesn't look like it's coming back any time soon. Internet sales are one of the few bright spots. In 2009, retail sales over the Internet were up while conventional retail sales were down. More than $1.2 billion in auto parts and accessories were sold over the Internet last year.
Even if shoppers buy in a store, the majority now use the Internet to find parts before driving to buy. As many as eight out of 10 retail store shoppers now research parts or search for inventory before buying in a retail store.
Selling online is now easy. Technology has made it easier than ever to open your own online store. You no longer have to hire teams of programmers and web designers, and you don't have to invest thousands of dollars in computers.
How to make the leap. There are many ways to sell online, from developing your own store, to buying turnkey solutions. Here's a look at three ways to do it.
1). Do It Yourself. If you have access to someone with skills in designing sites you can create your own. The advantage of this approach is that you have control over every step of the process and you can end up with a completely customized online store. The disadvantage is this can be the most expensive and longest route to take, costing $20,000 to $50,000 or more and six to nine months. You will also need to spend time creating product information for all your parts: descriptions, photography, dimensions, what vehicle a part fits, and so on.
2). Selling Through Other Sites. You can set up a storefront or have an online presence on a site like eBay, or by becoming active in an automotive forum or online community where members sell parts. The advantage of this is that you don't have to invest much in the design of a store. The disadvantage is that your visibility is limited to shoppers who are members of the community and it requires a lot of your time to be active in the community. You'll also be responsible for photography and writing any product descriptions and you may have to pay fees per transaction.
3). Do It For Me. Changes in technology have made buying turnkey solutions an affordable way to sell online. The advantage of outsourcing your online store this way is that you can be selling online in 90 days or less, complete product information and photography is included, and you can choose from various options for a customized store of your own.
For more information: If you're interested in a Do It For Me solution to selling online, give me a call!
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