Online shopping has topped the charts in the last couple years, producing trillions of dollars in sales worldwide, with an average of 7% of ALL sales being made online*. In our industry, the convenience of allowing customers to shop from home, but guarantee the parts through a reputable business name makes this side of sales a huge win for some dealers. So, what are the top 3 things to keep in mind when exploring the world of online parts?
Safety for Your Customers
Your website needs to be a safe, secure environment for your customers. When choosing a server to host your store on, make sure to do your homework. Look for end to end encryption as well as protection of your customers private data. If a customer visits your website and it is safely encrypted, the web address will include “https” instead of just “http”. This is provided by an SSL certificate, and can keep your data safe, even if a hacker were to get inside the site. Check with and work alongside a reputable IT professional to make sure your system stays up-to-date on all security measures so that both you and your customers remain protected.
Ease of Use
Now that your customer feels safe scrolling your website for their equipment parts, how will they find the part they need? Taking time to organize your online parts inventory is key. Each part listed on your website should have a full description, with multiple key words and a manufacturer part number for searchability. The description should also include which model(s) the part is compatible with.
After the customer finds the part(s) they are needing and add it to their cart, the check-out process should be quick and easy. Make sure that all major credit cards are accepted through your website, as well as PayPal. Your purchase forms should be clear, without unnecessary boxes. As soon as a purchase is paid for, your website needs to provide the customer with an order confirmation number for their records. This number should be displayed on their screen, as well as emailed to the address they listed during purchase.
You have successfully organized and displayed your online parts store and received a parts order. Now what? Order fulfillment! A member of your staff needs to find the part, package and ship it to its destination and follow up with the customer, letting them know it is on the way. This process is vital for success of your online store. Make sure that the customer receives notifications for every step of the process which includes order confirmation, shipping with tracking information, and a confirmation of delivery email.
The world of online parts can be intimidating, but with these 3 key areas running correctly, your store can be turning a profit in no time!
*These 2018/2019 Statistics via https://www.disruptiveadvertising.com/ppc/ecommerce/2018-ecommerce-statistics/.