Taking Automotive Industry Online Amidst COVID-19

COVID-19 | July 14, 2020
By Dipika Jadwani
Automotive web development

There is no industry left that hasn’t been affected by the outbreak of the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19). From essential to non-essential goods, small to large scale businesses, even offline to eCommerce, all suffered losses, and some are still finding ways to cope up while freaking about the future. The automotive industry is one among the list and here’s why and how taking it online amidst COVID-19 appears to be the right thing to do.

With customers leaning towards contactless modes of purchasing due to the fear of infection, businesses around the world are forced to rethink their business model and way of doing business. The most affected are the offline ones as people have started to opt for online shopping than risking their life at crowded counters.

For the automotive industry, COVID-19 came as a blow because of the shutdown of offline showrooms and with no one venturing out, car sales experienced a sharp decline in the past few months. But there is also a ray of hope for the automotive industry due to COVID-19 because there is a high chance of good sales ahead with people’s preference switching back to personal mobility due to the scare of the spread of the virus from public transport.

While no one can predict when COVID-19 will end, waiting for some miracle to happen is not a choice, hence; taking the automotive retail business online is a step one must take amidst COVID-19 to set the foundation for the future as well as to match the change in the consumer behaviour.

Recommended Blog: Consumer Behaviour after COVID-19: Will eCommerce Demand Remain the Same?

The Decline in the Sale of Auto Parts

As soon as the World Health Organisation (WHO) declared the COVID-19 outbreak as a pandemic, an unprecedented disruption began in the automotive industry especially, in the sale of auto parts. With many countries dependent on each other for automotive supply, when everything from manufacturing, import and export and sale of auto-components came to halt, losses worth millions has been reported in the global automotive industry.

Today, even though everyone is getting back into business, it will take a long time for the automotive industry to regain the losses or the worst, offline sales may not at all gain the momentum as before even if COVID-19 leaves. So, the question remains, how to sell auto parts online?

The COVID-19 pandemic is like a wake-up call for the automotive industry to formulate an action plan to acquire multiple vendors on a global scale, rather than limiting imports from one region entirely which can be made possible by developing an automotive ecommerce software solution. Now, before you start, there are some questions to be answered first so as to get your eCommerce solutions designed as such.

  1. What do you want to sell?

Auto parts are many and you can’t be the seller of all, hence; narrow down whether you want to compete in the larger automotive arena or specialize in specific products? This will help you structure your ecommerce website and provide your users with a seamless and well-structured website with strong user experience (UX) that will lead to conversions more than bounces. It is important to come to terms with the auto parts because as per the parts you would have to decide your shipping requirements as well – How to ship by whom? The cost? The inventory for wrapping and shipping materials, etc.

  1. Whom do you want to sell? 

There are many different demographics and user groups who buy auto parts online and therefore, again a decision has to be made whether you want an automotive ecommerce software solution or want to get started with b2b automotive spare parts solution as designing and building your ecommerce website for both have to be different.

You also need to study your audience to better understand how to sell auto parts online and also because the user behaviour varies from person-to-person. For example, for b2b sale where your customers will be auto shops, local garages, and other vendors, sales stability, lower costs, and better volumes are what they expect which could result in higher sales for your business. While if end customers are your target, then you must have the ability to potentially offer shorter delivery times for smaller quantities.

  1. How do you want to sell? 

There are multiple options for the sale of automotive parts online like you may get a B2B auto parts web store solution developed or opt for automotive mobile app development or list yourself on eBay or register on Amazon marketplace, but nothing compares to the freedom of having your own eCommerce store.

Since it’s an omnichannel world out there and consumers are on all platforms for price comparison, convenience shopping, and even location-driven shopping, an omnichannel approach may prove beneficial for your online sales.

  1. How to develop an automotive ecommerce software solution? 

Whether its B2B or B2C, your automotive ecommerce software solution must have some of the basic requirements like great user experience, smooth navigation, fast-loading pages, seamless checkout, relevant and fresh content, as all of it influences the decisions a customer makes when on your website. Other than that, the features which you need to pay attention to and think about implementing to enhance your online sales during and post COVID-19 are:

Multiple payment gateways: With people shifting to online shopping to avoid contact, online payment is what they prefer the most, therefore; make sure you have a variety of payment gateways to make shopping online easier for your customer. Giving them financing options that enable a seamless checkout will not only remove the need for customers having to enter their details in long forms but will also prevent them from migrating to your competitor.

Chatbot implementation: Chatbots can be an excellent addition to your eCommerce solution as they not only add personalization to your website but also allow real-time communication with your customers, meaning more time on site and more efficient problem-solving.

Product filtration: Auto parts come in various types, sizes, models, make, series, colour, style and whatnot. Finding a particular one would be extremely difficult for your customers if there is no filter option which you must include so as to display only relevant products to them.

Insightful descriptions: Since customers will be viewing auto parts virtually, you need to be very specific in describing the product down to every inch. It is also important to mention whether the parts are OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) or third-party manufactured as it matters a lot to the customer.

Professional media: As mentioned before, since customers can only feel the product with their eyes, it is important to give them the experience of reality by means of professional product images, videos, 3D views etc. To further compliment your customer’s experience when accessing your auto parts store online, you can try out Augmented or Virtual Reality as well.

In a nutshell, 

Looking at the current scenario, with COVID-19 to stay here for a long time and even after that, due to the change in consumer behaviour, taking your automotive business online seems to be the right thing to do without a doubt. Hence, if you want to get started right away and sell auto parts online without wasting any further time, Mobicommerce is the perfect automotive ecommerce website builder who will help you get your business developed with an omnichannel approach.

Dipika Jadwani

Dipika is a skilled marketer who manages marketing communications at MobiCommerce. From content and social media to branding and PR, Dipika overlooks all aspects of digital marketing meticulously at MobiCommerce. She collaborates extensively with the sales and operations teams to bring more business and build a loyal customer base.

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