There have been thousands of think pieces about how the world has changed the past 6 months during the COVID-19 pandemic, and it is also no secret that it has been a difficult year for many small businesses everywhere. But if your business is willing to adapt, it can still be successful. Some of our clients at Martin & Company are having record sales years because they have embraced direct to consumer eCommerce in an industry where the multi-level distribution system has been the primary way of getting to the consumer.
Parts distribution is not going away and for the long haul there is no question that it is the best way to scale your business in the auto aftermarket. But even with that being said, we believe that if you are a manufacturer and especially if you are a startup, you need to consider diversifying your strategy with a direct to consumer eCommerce website and marketplace strategy. Today you can find the right customers, sell and market your own products or services, and control your destiny perhaps easier than at any other time in history.
So who are the players and where do you start? Here is a quick guide.
Platforms & Marketplaces
There are many ways to get your products online, but we’re going to talk about the most common.
WordPress + WooCommerce
WordPress which debuted in 2003 now accounts for 37% of all websites on the internet. That is over ⅓ of websites worldwide. A staggering number but the reason behind it is that WordPress is approachable, easily customized, and greatly expandable. Case in point is WooCommerce. WooCommerce is an eCommerce plugin for WordPress that its users hailed as the most complete eCommerce solution for WordPress. Since WooCommerce debuted in 2011, it has dethroned other complicated eCommerce platforms and grown to become the #1 eCommerce platform on the web and makes up 23% of all eCommerce websites in the US as of July 2020. The parent company of WordPress.com AutoMattic acquired WooCommerce in 2015.
Shopify is a turnkey eCommerce platform as a service that launched in 2013 and allowed people with little website building experience to get a store up and running fast. It is now the second largest eCommerce platform in the US with 21% of the market and is credited with getting Main Street America selling their products online.
Platform Honorable Mentions
- Wix Stores – www.wix.com
- Squarespace Add To Cart – www.squarespace.com
- Big Commerce – www.bigcommerce.com
- Magento – www.magento.com
Amazon is the world’s #1 online retailer. Period. They have always sold automotive parts and accessories, but the last few years, they are aggressively pursuing the aftermarket. The biggest benefit to Amazon is the sheer amount of shoppers on their platform.
eBay started as an auction site but is now a full-service storefront and marketplace for your products. Many manufacturers have eBay stores and have been selling products there for years because it was the first big marketplace on the Internet.
Facebook Shop now offers a direct connection to your website to list and promote your products on their platform through your page store/catalog. You can also create product ads to drive sales and traffic to your website. Also, the Facebook Marketplace allows you to sell things locally similar to Craigslist
Google Shopping/Product Feed allows you to import your website product feed into Google to appear in search listings. You can also create ads for your product feed to drive traffic and sales to your website.
Racing Junk is a racing and automotive-specific marketplace where you can sell parts, race cars, trailers, tow vehicles, and RV’s. There are other aftermarket industry-specific niche marketplaces but RacingJunk was the first and is still the largest.
At Martin & Company Advertising we have experience with eCommerce platforms and marketplaces. Contact us if you need help. We are also running a special through the end of 2020 with 10% off any ecommerce site build plus a free audit. Just fill out the form below.