Posted by Laura Hills, VP Marketing, Dydacomp
Consumers who traditionally turned cars over every two to three years have chosen to keep and maintain their cars for longer periods of time as a result of economic uncertainty, job concerns and shrinking disposable income. As vehicles age, they often need more frequent repair and replacement parts. With the average age of U.S. cars being more than 10 years old and with over 100,000 miles on the odometer, the aftermarket auto parts industry has seen a definite uptick in sales. The increased vehicle lifespan is creating a strong market for replacement aftermarket parts from struts and exhaust systems to water pumps and alternators.
According to the Aftermarket Industry Association, “Overall aftermarket sales totaled $307.7 billion in 2012, representing a 3.5% increase over the previous year. Sales in the automotive aftermarket (cars and light trucks) totaled $231.2 billion while sales in the medium and heavy duty vehicle aftermarket totaled $76.5 billion.” [i]
Aftermarket auto parts can be purchased at storefronts, online, and/or through catalogue/phone orders. Larger auto parts chains have the luxury of setting up a well-stocked storefront to attract shoppers and to provide one-on-one service. Historically counter sales accounted for a significant portion of aftermarket auto parts transactions. But this is changing. SMB aftermarket parts retailers are utilizing multiple channels to reach more customers and need to be able to provide a wider parts selection along with timely responses to meet increasing customer demands and compete with the larger chains. Online activity is increasing in the aftermarket auto parts retail industry and retailers who support both brick and mortar operations as well as online operations need a complete view of orders and inventory for efficient order processing and customer service.
To be competitive, smaller auto parts retailers set themselves apart by stocking specialized parts, providing extra services, guaranteeing rapid delivery and developing customer loyalty. To achieve this, auto parts retailers need to find a fully functional order management system to create the best experience for their customers. Dydacomp’s whitepaper “The Keys to Drive the Business: Best Practices for Aftermarket Auto Parts Retailers,” addresses putting technology to work to capture integrate and utilize data across multiple channels to deliver a definite advantage.
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[i] Source: Automotive Aftermarket Industry Association www.aftermarket.org