Dealers are missing out on aftersales income by not optimising online opportunities.
Under a fifth of the UK’s top 200 dealers currently have an online parts or accessories shop, according to ecommerce company G-Forces.
It said dealers can use ecommerce software to “boost profits, transform parts departments into a 24/7 sales operation, and pull in customers from beyond conventional territorial boundaries”.
Franchised dealerships with online shops report that they attract significant extra parts income from independent garages, as well as from consumers.
In addition, visits to these dealers’ websites are also generating greater volumes of telephone and walk-in sales enquiries.
“Parts and accessories sales can be one of the most lucrative profit centres for retailers, and yet UK dealers of all sizes – from major groups to solus independents – are failing to implement basic ecommerce platforms that would allow them to maximise online income,” said Tim Smith, commercial director at G-Forces.
“And it’s not just about increasing parts sales. Our customers have found that an engaging ecommerce site can facilitate cross-selling, for example by generating leads for repair work when a customer enquires about purchasing parts online.”
He added: “Vehicle retailers must create ecommerce infrastructures that offer the convenience, immediacy and presentational standards expected by the fast-growing volume of consumers now researching and transacting the majority of their purchases online.
“Dealers should ensure that their online presence – their ‘digital dealership’ – is not just geared-up to market new and used cars, but also equipped to sell parts and accessories direct. They must wake up to the fact that they can no longer rely solely on face-to-face customer contact to maintain parts income.”