There is a growing trend toward mobile commerce according to business leaders at Heavy Duty Aftermarket Dialogue in Las Vegas last week. M-commerce reached $70 billion last year and Dave Seewack, CEO of FindItParts, expects it to reach $100 billion in the next four years.
Overall e-commerce number is expected to grow to $419 billion by 2018 with auto and parts sales reaching $51 billion. While U.S. e-commerce sales reached more than $304 billion in 2014, auto and parts sales accounted for only $31 billion.
More people are going online to gather information about products and purchase them online but have them delivered to the store, says Seewack. It’s something called “click and mortar.” Content rules e-commerce and good websites have images, technical specifications, features and benefits, and cross references.
James Chenier, vice president of aftermarket sales and marketing at Volvo Trucks North America, says to be successful at e-commerce dealers “have to develop a value proposition that goes beyond price.” Selling the convenience of having information available when customers want it has worked for some retailers. Rob Phillips, president of Phillips Industries says price is not necessarily the main reason customers use e-commerce.
Charley Johnson, CEO of OptiCat says, “if customers don’t get information in one place they will get it from another more efficient place.” He sees e-commerce as another way for suppliers to touch customers. Phillips adds that as an industry supplier, “it is our job to make as much information available as we can. Our job is to support our customers in a format they can use.”
Chenier reminded seminar attendees that, “e-commerce is a way to communicate information about your products, not just to sell them.”
“Customer expectations have significantly changed and they will buy on line only if it is a better solution," said Seewack.