There’s a famous quote by Wayne Gretzky about skating to where the puck is going to be instead of where it is. The aftermarket could heed those words when it comes to selling auto parts.
Whether customers are searching high and low for hard-to-find parts or just need something simple, they know where they’re going to buy the part from before they even turn on their computer or pull out their phone. And it can often be one of the online retail giants like Amazon.
But if you’re not on that platform, how can you expect to sell your products? Hearing Johannes Crepon, CEO and co-founder of PDM Automotive, describe things, that Gretzky quote comes to mind. For Crepon, suppliers need to be where the customers are, not where suppliers want customers to be.
“You can’t win every customer and redirect every customer, potentially, to a specific channel where you want them to be, but you got to be present at the specific channel where they are shopping,” he said during the panel discussion, Scaling a Successful Omnichannel Strategy for the Automotive Aftermarket. “So it’s not so much about re-educating or re-steering the customer, it’s more about making sure that wherever your customer base is, that your brand is presented there.”
It may be less of a focus to generate sales but at least be represented so customers see that you’re there, Crepon added.
It’s more prevalent on the accessories side but there are parts that customers just won’t think about going to their local auto parts store’s website to get — their first instinct is to check Amazon. If you sell that part but you’re not on Amazon, someone else surely is.
“So that’s how I consider that omnichannel discussion,” Crepon said. “It’s understanding: What are the channels that my customers are at [and] less about, ‘Hey, this is a channel that I want my customers to get to.’”
Don’t forget to have good, clean data, Juan Jacinto, senior channel account manager of agency partnerships at BigCommerce, reminded.
“From a cataloguing strategy, in my opinion, it’s most important to start very rich, very clean,” he said. “And then for each channel, there is a best practice as to how to communicate that content into that specific channel.”