The aftermarket part industry represents huge savings to consumers hoping for the same quality and safety offered by automobile original equipment manufacturers (OEMs). The numbers are impressive for the aftermarket industry, too, continuing to show resilience in the face of uncertainty, rising nearly 25% in the last two years alone. A landmark market size of $400 billion is projected for 2025, with ‘one more strength of the aftermarket emerging,’ according to Paul McCarthy, president and CEO, Automotive Aftermarket Suppliers Association (AASA). McCarthy contends this development will be in the form of collaborations with ‘the right partners’ to ensure the same consistent success.

Aftermarket Parts Sales Strategy

As aftermarket parts and accessories in the automotive industry continue to accelerate in sales for components related to cars, light trucks, and powersports, companies like GM are jumping on board. They are poised to compete with original parts also in eCommerce, expecting GM online car parts to

 ‘mark another step’ in transforming their brand as well as providing quality assurance in the aftermarket.

“The launch of this trusted online sales channel extends peace of mind to the parts-buying experience,” says GM, stating that they will offer parts, accessories, and digital products delivered over-the-air and for subscriptions in a comprehensive digital storefront.

“We are placing software and digital services at the center of every part of our business.”

OEM eCommerce and Aftermarket Auto Parts Distributors 

The automotive aftermarket consists of OEMS and generic suppliers, companies distributing parts, and shops like independently-owned garages, franchises, and centers. While much of this industry is integrating the necessary technology, a large portion of their targeted customer base is now younger and technologically sophisticated. They expect access to omnichannel shopping, whether they may go to a store, shop from their phone, or log in from another device while at home or work. Tech-savvy customers and younger generations who have grown up with mobile apps have little patience for any businesses that may seem to be resisting the modern world of technology–and in the process, making it harder for them to get their shopping done.

Today’s aftermarket part consumers are also savvy in terms of shopping around, doing their research, comparing prices, and reading reviews. Valued at USD 427.51 billion in 2022, research shows growth in the global automotive aftermarket industry is expected to continue, with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 4.0% from 2023 to 2030. 

“The market is majorly driven by the pursuit of automobile drivers to enhance their vehicle performance in terms of exhaust sound, speed, and appearance parameters along with many other aspects,” states Grand View Research.

Whether purchases are B2C or B2B for aftermarket accessories, they expect a seamless experience online; after all, plenty of other companies are offering them the fastest, easiest ways to make online purchases. The aftermarket industry presents huge potential, but requires progressive new sales platforms and commitment to the digital transformation. 

eCommerce is widely spread throughout the business world, but automotive manufacturers have not been as fast in adopting a strategy. However, eCommerce is critical for revenue growth and perhaps even the overall success of aftermarket sales.

For the aftermarket automotive company delving into or improving their eCommerce strategy and site, one of the most important elements to offer the target customer base is a search bar that works with names, SKUs, part numbers, and more. 

How Car Parts eCommerce Serve Shoppers

“The biggest reason cited by enthusiast car parts shoppers for visiting manufacturer websites is they want to see detailed product information,” cites research from Hedges & Company. “This was by far the single most popular reason, given by 94% of auto parts shoppers looking for an automotive eCommerce website.”

As with any eCommerce offerings, aftermarket websites must be stellar, highlighting quality products and services, and drawing customers in on a global level. Car buffs should also have access to data systems offering a wide selection of parts, which should be accessible to them for online purchasing. They should also have enough information about each product to feel confident about buying, and the omnichannel information should be comprehensive across the board. 

“Many parts shoppers don’t think they will see a manufacturer’s entire product line unless they visit a manufacturer’s website, according to 43% of auto parts shoppers,” states Hedges & Company. “That’s a concern if you’re an eCommerce retailer, and that’s a frustration if you’re a manufacturer wanting to increase retail channel sales.”

The home page should draw the attention of the buyer, and along with ease in searching for products, there should be great marketing content, whether in blog articles, tutorial or demonstration videos, or colorful images. Related items should be presented at checkout for additional purchases, and it should be easy for them to add ‘upsells’ as well. It is critical to remember that customers continue to turn to eCommerce because it is so easy for them!

About the Author

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Sarah Falcon

VP, Marketing Global

Sarah is a nimble and creative marketing leader with 15 years of experience in a mix of agencies, B2B, and B2C enterprises. She brings a background in building and driving impactful marketing practices and processes for growing businesses. Sarah has expertise in brand, content marketing, lead generation, and marketing operations. She’s a co-author of the 2019 book on B2B eCommerce Digital Branch Secrets: eCommerce Playbook for Distributors.

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