Retail Growth

3 Challenges Auto Parts Merchants Face (and How to Overcome Them)

Angela Marrujo
January 31, 2022

Auto parts merchants face a variety of challenges that can make hitting revenue goals difficult, especially as much of their business shifts from brick-and-mortar stores to online. In fact, the global online automotive aftermarket is expected to grow to more than $140 billion by 2027, according to data from Statista. Auto parts consumers have high expectations regarding knowledge, expertise, and service — and it’s easier than ever for them to leave for a competitor if their expectations aren’t met.

By the same token, merchants have an unprecedented amount of resources to not just meet but exceed customer demands and remain competitive. Here are three of the most pressing issues facing auto parts merchants today and how to overcome them to uplevel the customer experience.

Challenge 1: Maintaining exceptional customer service both in-store and online

Many consumers prefer to shop in brick-and-mortar stores for auto parts because they want to be able to talk to the people behind the counter, who can typically help determine if the part they need is in stock and a match for their vehicle. But what if the customer can’t get to a store and turns to your online storefront instead? How can you maintain the same level of service the customer has come to expect from in-person interactions?

Implement live chat on your site. By employing real people to provide customers with helpful information in real time, you can set your customers at ease.

U.S. online sales of auto parts and accessories are projected to reach $19 billion by 2022, and mobile auto parts ecommerce will grow at an average annual rate of 25% through 2022, according to data from Hedges & Co. So as more customers make the shift to online auto parts purchases, merchants will need to invest in technology to create a great customer experience — regardless of how their customers choose to shop.

Give your business a competitive advantage by building a reputation for unmatched service in-store and online.

Challenge 2: Time isn’t a luxury many auto parts customers can afford

If your customer gets into their car for work and it won’t start, going online to buy a new starter may not be their first thought and won’t exactly sound very appealing. Most will likely try to get to their nearest auto parts store — fast. Many people don’t live near a brick-and-mortar location, but they still need that new starter ASAP. How can you help them get what they need without making them wait days for an online order to ship and be delivered?

Roll out a same-day delivery service, which is one of the most requested ecommerce services in the U.S. (By 2024, the same-day delivery market is expected to reach $15.6 billion, according to data from Statista.)

Some merchants handle delivery in-house, while others partner with third-party couriers like Shipt or Postmates to get orders out. Establish a cut-off time for orders and set a realistic-but-reasonable delivery window. Giving your customers buying options that don’t require an in-store visit but still provide same-day service communicates that you value their time and recognize that life doesn’t always make in-store visits possible.

Challenge 3: Third-party products don’t always have manufacturer’s warranties

Your customer orders a third-party trailer hitch from your site, and after two months of normal use, it breaks. The customer reaches out to your customer support team and learns the hitch didn’t have a manufacturer’s warranty. Now you have to decide whether to eat the cost of a new hitch.

Many auto parts merchants have found themselves in this difficult situation time and again, struggling to balance customer service with responsible financial business decisions. The solution isn’t to choose between one or the other — the solution is to offer product protection on your products.

With Extend, auto parts merchants can offer their customers peace of mind with product protection. Whether it’s a third-party item that doesn’t have a manufacturer’s warranty or an in-house product that you want to offer extended protection on, Extend makes it easy for your customers to add product protection to their purchase. 

When it’s time for customers to go through the claims process, Extend keeps it simple and streamlined. Most claims are resolved in two minutes or less through our virtual claims specialist, Kaley. Depending on the type of damage to their product, your customers will receive either a promo code to redeem on your site for a product replacement or will have their product repaired, keeping them within your brand ecosystem.

Offering product protection plans shows customers that you stand behind your products and will be there for them in the event of an accident or malfunction. Building brand trust and keeping your customers coming back is more important than ever as retailers struggle to maintain customer loyalty. 

With Extend, you can uplevel your customer experience and get an edge on your competition by giving your customers the confidence to shop with you, knowing their products will be covered no matter what they encounter on the road.

Are you ready to learn all the ways that Extend can help your business and customers? Schedule a demo with us!
Angela Marrujo
Angela Marrujo is a content creator at Extend.

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