Sherwood Tractor, Rural Lifestyle Dealer’s 2018 Dealership of the Year in the multi-store category, recently launched an online parts store and in its first 2 months had already earned more than $10,000 in parts sales.

Patrick Richardson, Sherwood Tractor’s IT manager and digital marketing specialist, spent about 5 months developing the dealership’s online parts store. “Over the past few years, we've seen an increasing number of people who'd prefer to call in and ask about a part and see if we can ship it to them. Or, they’re searching Google for a part and want a more convenient way to buy rather than driving to a dealership and waiting at a parts counter. We tried to come up with a solution to meet those needs,” Richardson says.

Richardson’s expertise helped integrate the various platforms needed to set up the store, including Basic Software, their business management system, website (platform provided by Dealer Spike), Shopify e-Commerce platform as well as Stripe, PayPal and Apple Pay for credit card processing.

A workstation near the parts counter is the hub for fulfilling and shipping the orders and the integration with the dealer management system ensures inventory totals are correct for the parts counter staff.

The store features about 500 of the most requested parts. If a part happens to be out of stock, an online customer can make a request for a special order, just like at the in-store counter. The online site features the dealership’s phone number prominently in case the customer has questions and they even have a loyalty program established. About 95% of the dealership’s sales have been to the eastern half of the U.S.

Besides increasing parts sales, Richardson says online ordering helps free up time at the parts counter for the staff to spend more time with customers as well as provide better parts service overall.

“I think it's a very fair way to do business, for every dealer to have the opportunity to reach people online. But, every dealer has to find the way that they're going to be competitive. Our answer was to come up with a better and easier online solution than everyone else and be competitive,” he says.