An increase in used car sales is due to depressed economic conditions, according to a September 2010 ABC News story. If the lives of used cars are being extended longer than normal, more replacement parts will be necessary to keep them running smoothly. Many consumers start their car part searches online to compare prices and to get more information about the part. Selling car parts online could be a lucrative business venture.
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Things you need
- Merchant Account
Find enough space to store an inventory of car parts. Contact a real estate agent to help you find a deal on commercial space to buy or lease.
Find car parts at the lowest possible price to increase your profits. Make a list of parts manufacturers and compare prices. To find suppliers, Jeremy Shepherd writes in "How to Start a Home-Based Online Retail Business" that you should "Scout national and international trade shows for potential suppliers." Auto Parts & Accessories Trade Shows take place all over the world. Attend the events nearest to you. Review the newspapers weekly and network with mechanics and other auto parts sellers to keep abreast of upcoming shows.
Purchase parts for the most popular cars directly from the manufacturers. Don't overstock. You can always order the parts for customers as you run out. Consider specialising in a particular market niche, such as parts for antique cars or hard-to-find parts.
Develop a slogan for your car parts venture. Focus on the most important benefits for parts buyers, such as "fast, free delivery" or "We can get any part for any car." Add some of your personality in your message.
Expand your slogan into a digestible marketing message that you can disseminate through articles, brochures and direct mail. Pick a mood, such as funny fender benders or serious about safety. Make sure anyone that hears or reads your message remembers it.
Choose an unforgettable domain name. Zappos and Yahoo are two examples of names that get stuck in your head. Choose a name that is relevant to the auto industry.
Build a website. Web users expect interactive websites and not simply just a catalogue. Hire a professional web designer to create a website with interactive features, such as engines with clickable parts that teach buyers how parts function in a car.
Add relevant content to your website. Include useful tips on do-it-yourself car repairs and preventive maintenance tips. Create an app that alerts users when it's time to perform a preventive maintenance check. Upload pictures of car parts and include a shopping trolley that will allow them to place their order online.
Sign up for merchant accounts or payment processor in order to be able to accept credit cards online. In the book, "Design and Launch an Online E-Commerce Business in a Week" Jason R. Rich writes, "This typically means paying an application fee, filling out paperwork, and then paying a per-transaction fee, plus a small percentage of each credit card sale to the merchant account provider."
Print brochures and business cards. Continue to attend auto trade shows as often as possible. Pass out your business cards and brochures. Rent a booth at these auto shows so that you can get to meet some of your potential customers.
Develop a return policy. Create a policy that puts buyers at ease about ordering from you online. Offer to pay for shipping to return defective parts. Or offer full refunds if customer accidentally orders the wrong part. Review return policies from other parts sellers and adopt the elements you like.
Advertise online. Create banner ads and direct them to your website. In the book, "55 Surefire Internet Businesses You Can Start for Under £3,250" Melissa Campanelli (p.95) "you would need to market to car enthusiasts, in addition to body and fender repair shops and mechanics."
Advertise offline. Print ads in newspapers, magazines and any other place your budget will allow. Try to get your message in front of motorists as often as possible. Use alternative forms of advertise such as car stickers, bus benches, and painting your website address on the public transportation buses.
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- ABC News 10; New Car Sales Drop and Used Car Sales Increase
- How to Start a Home-Based Online Retail Business; Jeremy Shepherd; 2007
- 55 Surefire Internet Businesses You Can Start for Under £3,250; Melissa Campanelli; 2009
- Internet Riches: The Simple Money-Making Secrets of Online Millionaires; Scott C. Fox; 2008