The past several years have been witnessing a significant rise in the online automotive parts and accessories sales industry, and this trend is expected to preserve within the next decade. Although this increase might not occur at a breakneck pace, this is still a promising sector for investment:
The global market size of automotive parts and accessories in 2021 is $1.8 trillion.
If you own an automotive parts and accessories retail business, online expansion is a worthy idea as it would reinforce your sales. Numerous merchants are asking themselves, how to start an online auto parts store? A prevailing digitalization blurs the borders between the online and offline worlds and makes retailers strengthen their online presence. Concerning the automotive parts, take a look at the following numbers to recognize the necessity of embracing the online sales channels:
50% of parts and accessories search traffic is coming from mobile.
70% of parts and accessories transactions took place on the eBay app.
However, digital transformation poses numerous challenges to organizations. Even if you already run an e-commerce website, you will presumably have multiple questions to address when trying to scale your business. A qualified software developer can help you by handling all technical aspects, integrating marketing tools, and competently enhancing your overall digital presence.
The article explores the automotive aftermarket landscape in general and the role of e-commerce in this sector, discusses the main challenges, and investigates the opportunities of an online auto parts store transformation into a marketplace.
Auto Parts Industry Characteristics
Several factors are determining the current development of the auto parts industry. To obtain a clearer view of the sector, let’s have a look at the industry segmentation by vehicle type.
The significant rise in the production of passenger cars and light commercial vehicles determines the respective focus in the auto parts and accessories industry. The other global trends shaping the sector include the following:
The Asia Pacific is forecasted to be the largest global market for auto parts.
Advanced technologies in the sector are expected to drive automotive sales further.
The overwhelming digitalization shifts the focus towards the online purchases of auto parts.
Although the pandemic has thrown many businesses and industries out of whack, the automotive aftermarket is generally feeling well. Along with the steadily increasing production, the important constituents of the auto parts industry development are shifts in the demand and the enhancing role of e-commerce channels. Below we will discuss these factors as well as the existing market challenges.
Auto parts consumer trends
How did consumer behavior change about automotive parts?
Personal consumption of auto parts in the US has been performing a steady increase. The graph below demonstrates the sales in both brick and mortar and e-commerce stores.
Auto parts stores revenue has declined, partly because customers often prefer online shopping.
Customers tend to buy used vehicles and light trucks. Thus, the revenues from both new light trucks and used light trucks set records in August 2020. Since both these categories push the consumption of auto parts and accessories, merchants can plan their assortment correspondingly.
Auto parts e-commerce market dynamics
Essentially, an e-commerce aftermarket is becoming a critical platform to satisfy the rising needs in auto parts. Consider several numbers as evidence:
Digital activity influenced about $141 billion in U.S. auto parts and accessories sales in 2020.
Automotive parts and accessories sales through mobile devices exceeded $10.4 billion in 2020, which made over a 40% increase compared to 2019.
Auto parts and accessories websites tend to have about 65% of the general traffic on mobile devices.
Obviously, online sales of auto parts in the U.S. are confidently growing, and this tendency is projected to preserve.
The main growth drivers lie in the domains of changing consumer habits, shifts in the automotive industry, and technological advancements. Cross-device shopping, elevating levels of electric and hybrid vehicle models production, and overwhelming penetration of digital technologies will spur further e-commerce automotive aftermarket progress.
Auto parts market challenges
Given the upward tendencies of the automotive aftermarket industry, the businesses in this sphere seem to have nothing else to do than to take advantages of e-commerce. However, moving the business online and further scaling an autopart online store is a challenging task that may pose risks to industry players.
Let’s identify some of the most common pain points for all merchants.
Dealing with databases and standards. Online auto parts stores need to properly manage a year-make-model database of automobiles and related auto parts fitments. Such standards as ACES and PIES and databases like TecDoc and AutoCat are used globally or regionally. However, they usually lack adequate synchronization. This situation, therefore, causes troubles for merchants seeking a single solution. Such a search is futile though, and merchants have to secure databases from various manufacturers and suppliers, carefully map them out, integrate, and manage the received inventories.
Ensuring the parts’ fitment. Another challenge lies in the difficulty of organizing the proper match among vehicles and parts databases. The proper parts fitment mapping is crucial for easy use of the website as it significantly improves customer experience and reduces returns. However, the existing solutions usually provide insufficient clarity and accuracy of matching parts with the associated automobiles. This challenge stems from the database issue described above.
Overall user experience. Even if you successfully address the first two challenges, you can still fail at the stage of selecting the right e-commerce software solution for your online store. The online autoparts stores are winning with software that adequately supports the growth of their businesses and delivers an excellent user experience. This includes a visual presentation of the vehicle’s parts to customers. As they may not know certified car mechanics, your clients would prefer to make their choice with some visual aids. Illustrations help clients identify what exactly they are looking for, ease the client’s journey thus relieving some burden on your customer support.
Top Auto Parts Websites
The top online autoparts stores include various types of e-commerce websites. For instance, giant marketplaces like Amazon sell virtually everything including auto parts; industry-specific websites like Parts Geek, and used auto parts marketplace like car-part.com/.
The largest retailers typically split their customers into two main groups: “Do It For Me” (DIFM) and “Do It Yourself” (DIY). Quick delivery and competitive pricing help the top auto parts stores online supersede traditional brick-and-mortar sellers that focus on professional DIFM services. Below is the best online auto parts store review.
NAPA Auto Parts. A decent example of the store that has been started as a traditional brick-and-mortar selling point and later established a convincing digital presence. NAPA Auto Parts was founded back in 1925. They are a local parts distributor and an online shopping destination. You can search for items on their website by keywords or specific information.The website also offers DIY guidelines for simple repairs, such as replacing wiper blades or headlights.
eBay. People typically perceive eBay as a place for bidding on products. The website also sells auto parts. The components can be searched either by product name or by product category. Some sellers are also parts distributors. You can contact sellers and even negotiate the price or agree on barter.
Carparts.com. The store has several warehouses allowing them to keep in-stock components for various makes and models. Carparts.com offers convenient search features with the opportunity to compare the prices for the specific parts and choose the best ones. Besides, you can track and cancel an order at any time.
Parts Geek. The distributor has been working as a discount auto parts company since 2008. Product search is conveniently organized through hyperlinks under the component name, category, or vehicle’s make and model. The store offers an inventory of more than ten million parts and guarantees that prices are 80 percent lower than competitors. Orders are often packaged swiftly, therefore cannot be canceled.
Rock Auto Parts. The store was opened in 1999 as a family-owned business. Rock Auto Parts provides a vast range of items, including vintage pieces that are hard to find elsewhere. Clients can enjoy a variety of payment options that include payment by mail. The search can be conducted by product number, specific information, or product category.
Amazon. This is a giant retailer platform for multiple product types, spheres, and categories including an auto parts marketplace. Consumers can search for items by category or with keywords in the respective menu and study reviews of parts and suppliers. What’s more, Amazon provides a special service called “My Garage”. You can save your vehicle’s year, make, and model to this category and look for the associated parts. You will also have the option of requesting vehicle-specific maintenance parts and accessories offered automatically and arranging services for your auto.
How to Build an Online Auto Parts Store on Magento or Shopware?
Once we have outlined the importance of the online presence for an automotive aftermarket business, there comes an obvious question: how to create the best online auto parts store?
Experts point out a growing tendency of transforming conventional e-commerce websites into multi-vendor marketplaces. Numerous business owners find it more beneficial to expand their product inventory by cooperating with different retailers.
Both e-commerce websites and marketplaces are types of online retail. However, there are significant differences in the ways they operate and the software functionality they require.
If you are already running an online store and wish to transform it into a marketplace, you can use multi-vendor marketplace extensions. The two leading e-commerce platforms, Magento and Shopware, offer efficient marketplace modules that will help you implement the shift.
Basic Magento/Shopware functionality for marketplaces
Both Magento and Shopware platforms are superior solutions for online businesses moving towards becoming a marketplace and offer the following common features:
Become a seller on a platform
Simultaneously be a seller and a buyer
Access a seller’s page with all added data
See all product details provided by a seller
Use the same shopping cart when ordering from multiple sellers on a platform
Check out at once, with multiple sellers’ items in the shopping cart
Assess products and publish reviews
Place reviews on a seller’s page
Now, let’s proceed to the differences between the two solutions.
Magento is a mighty platform, with flexibility and customization options praised by more than 250,000 users worldwide. In terms of transforming an online store into a marketplace, this CMS has way more opportunities to offer customers compared to Shopware.
Marketplace Multi-Vendor Module for Magento 2 is a comprehensive tool for developing an world-class online marketplace. The module entices a user with abundant payment and shipping integrations, including PayPal and Aramex, FedEx, and DHL.
Here are several more opportunities offered by the Magento marketplace module:
Find sellers by the shop names on a sellers’ list page
Compare products by price, vendor rating, and location
Compare product prices by different sellers
Contact sellers with captcha support
Obtain detailed information about sellers including shipping, return policy, and more
Shopware is a powerful solution for starting a winning online store. The brand originates from Western Germany and counts more than 100,000 users. The store system is praised for its excellent range of features and advanced design elements, which have undergone another significant improvement in the Shopware 6 version.
Marketplace transformation of Shopware-based e-commerce website can be performed with Shopware Multi-Seller Marketplace for Shopware 6. Using this module, any registered customer can become a seller, with the respective opportunities to manage their profile, products, and orders. Furthermore, a seller can add products and product variants, and browse other sellers’ information.
Shopware dashboard does not provide as much information as Magento about the current status and statistics of the system operation. However, a user can see the following data:
The number of customers and orders
Amount of turnover
Nevertheless, Shopware too is a great solution to streamline your operations and enhance customer experience.
Popular e-commerce extensions for your auto parts store on Magento
To squeeze the maximum benefits of your Magento-based online marketplace, partner with qualified experts who know the entire specifics of the Magento development and the extensions that will bring additional value to your business. Below are some of the most popular extensions that span different areas of your activities and would help you to create a superior marketplace for auto parts.
Xero is an accounting application designed primarily for small to medium size businesses. It helps companies to manage accounts on cloud-based servers. The software provides automatic synchronization of store data like invoices, contracts, and products to owners of Xero account. It allows automating the data export or updating the records manually according to your needs. The main features include the following:
Easy integration with your Magento store
Convenient inventory management
The ability to restrict duplication of invoices
Cron job scheduling for record updates
Blueshift. The solution is the first customer data activation platform. It intelligently helps to enhance multi-channel customer engagement and deliver a personalized customer experience. The main features include
Fast and easy data integration.
Real-time synchronization of orders from your digital store.
Perform audience segmentation.
Manage customer subscriptions.
Unbxd. This AI-enabled solution helps personalize the customer experience and manage inventory. The product offers the following features:
Automatic catalog synchronization
High-speed catalog indexing
Creating unique shopper profiles through analytics integration
Building a convenient search interface with the help of UI/UX libraries with default templates
Popular e-commerce extensions for your auto parts store on Shopware
Shopware users can also expand their platform functionality with the help of multiple extensions that fulfill various tasks from integrating with an ERP system to enhancing conversions. Hiring a Shopware development expert will help you cut through the endless options available and identify the most suitable products. Here are several most demanded solutions:
Mailchimp. The extension helps you to synchronize your customers and their valuable data. It enables a user to create appealing emails and conduct promo campaigns through multiple channels including social media, online ads, emails, and more.
Nurture your customers with a full-service marketing CRM.
Segment your audience efficiently with the help of multiple tools and automation.
Unify all your e-commerce and marketing data and monitor the key indicators like customer lifetime value and likelihood to make a purchase.
Mollie payments. With this solution, you can integrate various payment strategies for the convenience of your customers:
Set up or deactivate your account with ease.
Take advantage of the fraud monitoring feature.
Dynamic 3D secure guarantees safer payments.
Please your clients with a user-friendly dashboard that contains all payment information.
Organizes and automates your business operations from any place and any device.
The tool works with all languages and currencies and knows all tax rates.
Handle a growing range of projects from a single interface.
Keep track of your vital KPIs.
Conduct accurate accounting, delivery management, and payment reconciliation.
Manage your offers, orders, warehouses, and shipment.
Enhance your communication with customers and partners.
Custom feature development for your auto parts store
Your online marketplace is basically the place where you connect multiple third-party vendors, thereby boosting sales and profits. Marketplaces can have different formats depending on your business goals. However, whether it is B2B, B2C, multi-vendor, or any other type of platform, the top auto parts stores online usually offer the common main features that raise user experience and conversion rates.
Convenient search by year/make/model.
An opportunity to select a specific vehicle, personalize search results, and save the settings across all pages and sessions.
The availability of convenient and relevant filters.
Intuitive navigation throughout your website.
Fitment verification tool.
Of course, there are many more tempting features you can add to enrich your virtual store. What will undoubtedly help you engage your customers and skyrocket their shopping experience is visual content. Videos help users better inspect the parts they intend to buy, and even improve website navigation. See how Carid is employing video content in their store:
While considering the most popular features, think of some tailored ones that could be unique to your brand. A qualified software development partner can competently consult you on the existing opportunities. According to Dinarys’s experience, a modern marketplace should be
Quick to load
Based on these principles, we can develop custom functionality for your auto part store that would optimize your operations, boost customer experience, and streamline business growth.
How much does it cost to develop an auto parts store on Magento or Shopware?
When it comes to Magento or Shopware development, a customer has three options: partner with a web development agency, a freelancer, or employ an in-house development team. Each path has its upsides and downsides, and it depends on your specific business which approaches to implement. However, rapidly growing businesses usually maximize their benefits by cooperating with a web development agency, as it guarantees high-level expertise and comprehensive services including maintenance and support.
The cost range may vary drastically depending on your format of employment, the location where candidates are based, the developer’s qualifications, the volume of expertise provided, and more. However, an experienced developer, such as Dinarys, will competently assess the proper scope of works required for your project and promptly conduct all calculations based on the transparent rates. Contact us to find out how much it will cost to create the auto parts store of your dreams.
Dinarys Experience in the Auto Parts E-commerce Industry
Our experts have broad experience while adhering only to the best practices and all industry standards. When developing online stores or marketplace platforms for our clients, we follow all the requirements for e-commerce websites on the one hand, and the specific client’s needs on the other. Aiming to deliver an optimal solution in each case, we guarantee a superior result that corresponds to all demands of a modern online store.
Our case studies confirm the efficiency of our approach. We conducted a winning project for RacePro – a vendor of car modifications and parts.
The client’s goal was to build a B2B/B2C platform to present their offer online that included servicing both regular customers and car repair shop owners. Correspondingly, we had to build, set up, and optimize a comprehensive e-commerce solution combining traditional capacities and B2B opportunities.
Create an e-commerce website with custom functionality including the following steps:
Developing a basic architecture
Providing the matching design patterns
Developing tailored and ready-made commercial features and tools
Integrating the efficient plugins
Extensive manual and automated testing
Optimizing user experience
Create an admin panel for effective website management.
We started with the basic architecture and continued with enriching the framework with the design and functional elements. The completely tailored design included hi-def animations, while a ready-made administration system allowed to reduce the project timing. To further improve user experience and enhance the efficiency of business operations, we implemented a complex order and return management logic.
We developed a full-on high-quality e-commerce website with easy navigation by both regular vehicle parts shoppers and B2B partners. The search was facilitated by a Configurator feature that allows finding the vehicle parts faster through the special algorithm. Customers can also create QR invoices right on the website. As an outcome, all the stakeholders should enjoy a seamless interface and abundant shopping opportunities provided by the platform.
In the modern retail landscape, companies must recognize that there is no alternative to reinforcing their online presence to reach continual business growth. This, in particular, relates to the automotive aftermarket segment, since the market is increasing, the demand is widening, and brick and mortar shops are getting significantly superseded by giant online traders.
Therefore, the transformation of an existing e-commerce website into a marketplace is a worthy step for auto parts distributors, as it allows them to multiply revenues.
Magento and Shopware are some of the most prominent software solutions to build a traditional e-commerce website or transform it into a marketplace. Both platforms offer enticing features and opportunities to both merchants and users.
To develop a remarkable marketplace for your business it is crucial to choose not only qualified professionals with sufficient skills, experience, and tech stack but also the team that will properly align their efforts with the existing business problems and the desired business goals.
Dinarys is an experienced e-commerce development company that has both technical capacity and domain expertise to deal with any project complexity. Contact us now to discuss your ideas and concerns and let’s embark on your exciting transformation journey together!
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