Some parts departments have grown so much on parts eCommerce that they have dedicated Internet Parts Managers to handle everything. But for other dealerships, the normal Parts Manager has to handle the online orders on top of their normal duties.
A parts eCommerce store does add some extra effort. Seeing all the extra orders and sales come in can be so exciting for the parts department, but it also adds an extra daily task.
So sometimes, Parts Managers ask what’s in it for them. They’re busy enough as it is, so why should they bother adding on a parts eCommerce website? We have FOUR reasons why...
1. More job opportunities
We can’t deny it: the world is growing increasingly digital.
Parts eCommerce is growing year over year, and as more dealerships get started online, it will get more competitive. Parts Managers and teams with experience in selling online will have a huge boost over those who have never bothered with it.
This gives parts managers with eCommerce experience an advantage when it comes to job searching. Even though eCommerce is fairly easy to get started with, there’s plenty to know as far as tips, tricks, and best practices that make it an in-demand skill.
Luckily, there are plenty of resources out there to help new parts websites succeed.
“If somebody comes to me and they’ve got experience doing [parts eCommerce], it’s a step ahead of everybody else,” said General Manager A.J. Ager from Wilcoxson Buick Cadillac GMC. “Not everybody knows how to do it or is even willing to do it.”
FREE DOWNLOAD: The Top 10 eCommerce Mistakes Parts Managers Make
2. Leverage for increased compensation
Parts managers who introduce a new parts eCommerce website or improve the dealership’s existing one can use their accomplishments for increased pay. You’ve taken on a challenge and contributed to your dealership’s success, so why shouldn’t you get the recognition you deserve?
It’s unfortunate that not all General Managers pay attention to the parts department. But during your yearly performance review, it’s harder for them to ignore the hard numbers.
Print out a sheet of stats to show your General Manager how much profit the eCommerce store has brought into the dealership. Be honest about how much extra work it’s added to your team, like the number of orders your team has to package and ship every week.
As a bonus, you can also share your plans for improving the parts website sales in the future. All of these things will give you leverage when it comes to your pay raise.
3. Potential for a promotion
Like we mentioned earlier, some parts departments have dedicated staff to deal with their online parts business. Especially if your dealership expands to selling auto parts on eBay and Amazon in addition to a standalone or plug-in parts website, the dealership’s eCommerce can grow to the point where an Internet Parts Manager is necessary.
“If you’re not learning something new, then someone else is—and they’re passing you by,” said General Manager A.J. Ager.
Whether your dealership creates a new position or upgrades you from Parts Manager to Parts Director, adding another channel for sales with parts eCommerce can be a powerful way to boost your role at the dealership.
FREE DOWNLOAD: The 10-Minute Marketing Audit for Parts Websites
4. Increased reasoning to send you to auto conferences and trade shows
Want to get out of the office for a bit and meet with other car guys like you? Plus, it can almost be like a vacation when they're held at places like New Orleans.
Conferences are a powerful opportunity to meet with other Fixed Ops experts, share tips and tricks, pick up on future trends, and come back to the dealership will plenty of new ideas for improving Fixed Ops profit. It's where industry leaders meet up to share what they know with everyone else.
If you're running the team's parts eCommerce solution, then there's a good reason to bring you with. Tradeshows and conferences are a chance to:
- Investigate other eCommerce solutions exhibiting to find out if you're partnered with the best solution for your dealership.
- Meet your current eCommerce solution in person and get to know some of the people who help you sell parts online.
- Find and vet parts marketing agencies to boost online parts & accessories even more.
- Discover other tools and tech available (both online and offline) to improve your department's sales across the board. (Like the vehicle personalization that our partner, Insignia Group, offers to boost accessory sales in the showroom).
Tips for maximizing your success:
Once you’ve decided to shoot for a new job, new position, or new pay, here are a few tricks you can use to increase your chances of success.
1. Add experience to your resume and LinkedIn profile
For business professionals, LinkedIn is an ideal place to check out candidates before making a final decision about who to hire. If you have eCommerce experience, use LinkedIn to let people know exactly how much experience you have and the level of success you’ve reached on it.
- If you’re the one who initiated parts eCommerce for your dealership
- How long you’ve been involved in it
- If you’ve added any new channels, like eBay or Amazon
- If you’ve initiated any strategies (such as marketing or pricing) that contributed to the success of the parts website
2. Track key metrics and statistics
GMs like to see the hard numbers. Keep track of standard metrics like sales or orders placed, so you can use statistical proof to back your position.
In addition, tell your GM what plans you have and which strategies you want to implement for improving sales in the next year. This shows you are forward-thinking and not content to rest on your success.
- Total sales
- # of orders
- How much eCommerce has improved absorption rate
- Hours of labor to handle eCommerce
- Strategies for future improvement in eCommerce
For any of these statistics, you can include numbers for “current” and “over time.” For example, what are your current monthly sales versus average monthly sales over the last year? If you’ve seen improvement during that time, it will show your GM that whatever you’re doing is working.
In general, keeping track of key metrics like this can tell you where you’re doing well, and where you’re struggling. This should give you an idea of where to focus in the future for improvement.
We know how it can be in the Parts Department. Since a lot of GMs rise up from the variable side, they don’t always understand what goes on in the service lane and parts warehouse. Not all GMs ignore the parts department, of course, but it happens often enough to make Parts Managers feel like they’re at the dealership’s bottom rung.
But if tackling parts eCommerce contributes more sales and profit to the dealership, you deserve to be recognized for your extra work!