A lot of dealers selling parts online tell us that they’re thrilled by the orders that come in through their parts website, but… not so thrilled by the extra work.
It’s a good problem to have! But the parts department is already busy enough. Adding just 30 minutes of work to deal with the extra online orders can add stress to your day that’s completely avoidable.
In this article, we put together the top 3 tricks your team can implement to cut down on the time it takes to fulfill orders. When you streamline your system, you save time and stress—not to mention how much it’ll help you scale your online business as orders grow!
1. Make a Schedule
If you’re new to selling online, it might be a bit tricky at first to add eCommerce to your daily tasks in addition to all the hard work you already handle. But once you set aside a timeslot in your schedule, eCommerce will become a habit that’s much easier to keep.
To start, you might try a schedule like this:
- 8AM: Review & print orders, package orders, answer customer emails
- 9AM: Have packaged orders ready for carrier pickup
- 5PM: Review & print orders, answer customer emails
Click Here to download a free printable operations schedule similar to this example. Hang it by your computer to keep yourself on track!
The schedule you set will depend on your dealership’s hours and size, so try new things until you find what works best.
For example, if your mornings tend to be hectic, then save the packaging until the evening when things slow down. Your team could set up an assembly line and package up all the day’s orders before leaving for the day.
Simplify where you can. Reduce the amount of shipping carriers you use, for example, so you don’t have to juggle as many scheduled pickup times.
2. Don’t Multi-Task
Multi-tasking might feel more productive, but science says otherwise. Juggling multiple things actually slows productivity and makes you more prone to mistakes.
That means running back and forth between the computer and the parts counter can actually slow you down!
Create a schedule and sticking to it, like we talked about in tip #1. Setting aside a dedicated block of time will help you focus, so you can complete the job quicker and more accurately.
That’s not to say you can’t switch tasks when the parts counter is slow. Using downtime to get ahead is always a great strategy. Just don’t get yourself into a situation where you’re constantly switching off between the counter and eCommerce multiple times in the same hour.
When you can, complete tasks in bulk. Doing the same task multiple times in a row will get you into the zone, helping you work faster.
Here's an example of tasks you can complete in bulk:
- Go down the list of orders, reviewing and processing each one.
- Print all the order invoices and shipping labels.
- Box all the orders with an invoice. Place the shipping label beside the box.
- When all parts have a box, go down the line taping the boxes closed and affixing the shipping label.
3. Train your Employees
Larger dealerships and auto groups often have one dedicated eCommerce employee handle all the website orders. This is great if you have the staffing numbers and order volume to create “Internet Parts Manager” as a new role, but it’s not necessary for everyone.
Even without a dedicated eCommerce employee, dealerships tend to appoint a “specialist” that knows their way around the platform better than anyone else. This person handles most or all of the parts website orders, in addition to their normal parts counter tasks.
Having a “specialist” is fine, but make sure they’re not the only employee trained for eCommerce!
If your normal eCommerce worker is sick or on vacation, the rest of your staff can’t just let those orders stack up. Someone needs to process and ship the orders in their place.
Most or all of your parts staff should at least know the basics. Not everyone needs to know the gritty details like how to adjust the pricing matrix or add new shipping rules, and that’s fine.
But at the very least, they should know how to process, fulfill, and ship an order!
Untrained workers can hurt your productivity and profitability:
- They take longer to process and ship orders
- They’re more likely to make mistakes
- They’re more likely to forget important steps
When it comes to something like looking at the fraud score or forgetting to double check shipping weights and dimensions, untrained employees can even hurt your online profits.
A good eCommerce solution will do what they can to help by offering free and easy access to a support team, regular training sessions, and plenty of video tutorials online.
Hint: RevolutionParts offers all these things! In a recent survey, 71% of our customers said they learned the RevolutionParts platform in less than a week.
This isn’t a full list of time-saving tricks your team can implement! Keep your eyes out for other ways to cut corners without also cutting quality. We’ve found that even small teams can handle $30,000+ in monthly online orders without hiring extra staff. Just make sure you’re streamlining your system wherever possible!
We have some more techniques you can read about in our free ebook, too. Grab you copy to pick up a few other suggestions we have for you.