Automotive parts sales are projected to increase, according to a sales forecast from Moody’s Investors Service. The jump in the auto parts business is expected to follow an increase in light-vehicle sales. As dealers ramp up their vehicle inventories, they should order additional parts to service those cars and trucks. Although dealers’ parts needs can vary with demand for specific vehicles, a strong projected national demand can translate into positive local sales.
1. Analyze your automotive parts market.
List new and used car dealers in your city or town. Add independent auto repair shops and any regional fleet maintenance facilities. List active car clubs and collector groups. In the Houston area, for example, you’ll find a chapter of the Sports Car Club of America (see Resources). Finally, note that your city likely has some “do it yourself” auto mechanics. Collectively, this information represents your potential automotive parts market.
2. List your automotive parts competitors.
Count national automotive parts chain stores and independent suppliers. If a national chain has three local stores, list all three retail outlets. Include the automotive parts departments at big-box stores, as customers can shop there for basic parts and supplies. Note any specialty parts markets served by each competitor (for example, race car or high-performance car parts). Finally, identify any special price guarantees or purchase incentives offered by each supplier.
3. Develop a specialty parts niche.
Examine your information about your competition’s specialty markets. Identify an unfilled niche, stock a small selection of niche vehicle parts and test-market directly to those owners. For example, if your town hosts a number of classic Chevrolet car collectors, visit club meetings to publicize your classic car parts. Advertise on similar classic car clubs’ websites. Finally, create a website to market your classic car parts (see Resources).
4. Market to your current customer list.
Build customer loyalty by offering a frequent customer card to retail customers who have purchased parts within the past year. Survey these customers about additional parts they would like you to carry, and offer a free incentive gift to encourage them to return the survey. Finally, create a referral bonus program for customers who refer friends and family members.
5. Visit automotive service departments.
Personally visit the service managers at new and used car dealers, along with in-house service shops for fleet maintenance facilities. Offer a discount for parts purchases along with periodic “stock up” sales for frequently used maintenance supplies. Offer free delivery to every shop. Outfit your sales and delivery staff in matching company attire for a professional appearance.
6. Place targeted ads for new customers.
Advertise in the auto pages of your local newspapers, along with regionally distributed auto sales publications. Offer a first time customer discount along with a frequent customer card to encourage continued customer loyalty.
- List of new and used auto dealers
- List of independent auto repair shops
- List of fleet maintenance facilities
- List of car clubs
- List of collector car groups
- List of auto parts competitors
- Ad information for classic car club websites
- Frequent customer cards
- Customer survey forms
- Referral bonus program information
- Discount information for automotive service departments