Aftermarket parts sales are a lucrative source of revenue for product manufacturers – especially in competitive markets where product margins are squeezed. In the automotive sector, for instance, aftersales can contribute up to 50% of an OEMs overall profits.
The ability to capitalise on this demand can be critical to a company’s future success. But manufacturers do face a threat to these revenues in the form of non-OEM parts, which are easy to acquire on digital marketplaces.
This is putting pressure on manufacturers, in particular the aftersales director and managers, to do more to drive parts sales through their own channels. The reality, however, is that most manufacturers don’t currently have eCommerce systems in place to compete with this.
Instead, many are still asking customers to research what part they need using chunky product catalogues, before placing an order over the phone or by email. Compared to the slick one-click, ‘buy now’ experiences on sites like Amazon, these buying experiences are slow, awkward and prone to errors - with customers regularly ordering the wrong parts.
To address the threat they now face, many manufacturers are looking to deploy digital platforms to replace those online pdfs and old-school printed catalogues - and regain a competitive edge. These eCommerce systems allow their customers to search for parts far more easily, find all the relevant information they need and place orders there and then. As the digital aftermarket matures, we will also start to see the inclusion of live price and stock availability, and the option to buy instantly, on these platforms.
Because this whole process is automated, there is less admin, fewer emails or phone calls and fewer delays in fulfilling orders. It’s an approach to customer service that helped to turn Amazon, an online bookseller, into the world’s largest company.
Worth the investment?
Some aftersales directors and managers may be wary about investing in these digital platforms – given that it’s a departure from the way things have previously been done. But it’s worth remembering what’s at stake. How many extra parts sales per month would make deploying a digital platform worthwhile?
When you consider the current trend for online sales – with B2B eCommerce growing at 17.8% per year, it’s highly likely the return on investment will outweigh any temporary disruption any change will bring.
Aftersales directors and managers are also likely to benefit in many other ways too. The automated nature of an eCommerce system, for instance, will enable them to spend more time on the things that matter most to them – such as working more closely with dealerships or expanding their existing network.
Instead of dealing with questions around routine parts sales – more attention can be given to building new relationships or resolving more complex queries. When a digital platform is supplying all the necessary information to facilitate a purchase, this will reduce costly order errors that can take up so much time to resolve.
In addition to this, all major stakeholders will be left happy. Customers get to enjoy a much smoother buying journey and, feeling supported, will enjoy the experience of dealing directly with the manufacturer that much more. The senior executive team will also be pleased to see both aftersales revenues growing and customer satisfaction rising.
If you want more information on how the Partful digital eCommerce platform could benefit your business contact us today and book a discovery call.