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EP 1. 3 Ways to Sell More Parts & Accessories Online


The online marketplace for selling auto parts and accessories is more competitive than ever. In this episode, we discuss three actionable tips that many companies overlook that will increase sales.

“19 Repeat Customers 1 Month”

the pit stop podcast, oem interactive, auto parts marketing

In This Episode We Discuss:

  • Branded Boxes
  • Promo Postcard Inserts and Business Cards
  • Pulling Customers Sales Data


Aaron: All right, ladies and gentlemen, we are back again with another edition of the Pit Stop. With me as always is Chris Garafola.

Chris: Hey, guys.

Aaron: Aaron Waters here from OEM interactive and once again, Pit Stop. In 10 minutes or less, get you as much information as possible to help you sell more parts and accessories and help efficiencies within your parts department. In today’s edition, we’re going to talk about three tips on how to market within the four walls of your parts department.

Branded Boxes

This really came to light, we had a recent stop at a partner’s dealership, popped in, you know, had a great visit. He’s crushing it right now. Doing really well, but we noticed a few things that from a … really from like a shipping standpoint, where he could tighten up his operations and we wanted to deliver that to you guys.

First and foremost, he got a really good deal on some boxes.

Chris: Yep.

Aaron : Right? What kind of boxes were those, man?

Chris: Uh, well, the boxes were eBay boxes.

Aaron  : They were eBay boxes!

Chris: And he wasn’t shipping these out to eBay customers, so there’s a little bit of a disconnect there.

Aaron: There’s a bit of a disconnect there, absolutely.

Chris: Great branding for eBay.

Aaron: Great branding for eBay! Free advertising for eBay, but not so much for him.

Chris: Right.

Aaron: And you know, that creates a little bit of customer confusion, right? A customer comes home and they see an eBay sitting on the porch and it’s like, “Okay, well, I didn’t order anything from eBay. What the heck is this? Is it mine? Is it for me? Should I open it? Should I not open it? It’s addressed to me. I don’t know.” Right?

A little bit of customer confusion there, little bit of a disconnect. Our recommendation to him-

Chris: Not only customer confusion, but where has that box gone? It’s been through how many hands and everybody was looking at the eBay logo, so it’s all those missed opportunities.

Aaron: Totally. Lots of missed opportunities, lots of missed impressions from the point of the shipping location to say, if it’s a-

Chris: The carrier.

Aaron: If it starts on the east coast and goes all the way out to the west coast, how many people are gonna come in contact with that box and see that box through its travel?

Chris: It’s a moving billboard.

Aaron: Couple things you can do really cheap, really effectively to create some more impressions, some more mobile advertisement opportunities. Packing tape? Getting labeled or branded packing tape or shipping tape, just like Amazon does. You see that tape on the box there, with your logo on it. It’s a little more expensive, but a great opportunity for branding.

Chris: It fits right into your system. You’re already taping these boxes anyway to ship them out, so it’s not something that’s added to your list of things to do. You’re already taping these boxes to ship out anyway.

Aaron: Absolutely. Now, his response to the eBay boxes was, “Hey, I got a great deal on these things. It’s kind of a steal, might as well use them.” That’s great if you get a great deal on it. Do it, keep your costs to a minimum. Get some stickers made. Get some stickers made, slap it on top of that eBay logo.

We’re not here to do free marketing for eBay. You’re here to do marketing for yourself. Huge missed opportunity, and we talked to him about it, loved the idea, he’s working on getting those things in place.

First tip: branded shipping tape or packing tape. Getting branded stickers on the boxes if you’ve got the budget, you want to get branded boxes, by all means. There are other cheaper alternatives and getting the stickers on there is great. You can also use those stickers to drop into the box itself for an additional branding opportunity, a swag opportunity.

Promotional Inserts and Business Cards

And that kind of gets us into number two, with inserts. You’ve got the outside of the box with the stickers on the box and the shipping tape, the branded shipping tape. Now we’re gonna focus on the inside of the box.

What are we gonna put inside the box besides the inner visual part or accessory, what the customer ordered, we’re gonna put in a …

Chris: Just throw in a promo code. Well, first you can throw it. There’s a couple things you can throw in there and you can actually add this all on one card is your business card, so your email and a number that these customers can call if they have a question. This is a nice little personalized touch that shows that you guys care and if they have any problems, skip the middleman, here’s my direct line. Or here’s my direct email.

These guys have given you their business, so I mean, it’s in your best interest to say, “Hey, thank you for giving me your business. I’m here for you if you have any questions or need any help with anything,” and this is really convenient. You actually had a situation just recently where you-

Aaron: I’ve had problems where I’ve ordered things off of Amazon or eBay and I get the product at home and it works for a day or two and then it goes … something goes wrong with it, and the company put a business card in there. And it was like the Director of Sales’ business card. And I called him directly, he answered, was very apologetic. It was a great customer experience, he then shipped out a new product immediately.

Got it within 24, 48 hours. He put another business card in there and promotional information and he talked about a software service that they also offer that was really intriguing to us.

Chris: Yeah, so it acted as an upsell at the same time, so you went from being frustrated to getting your problem solved and at the same time, upsell and spending more.

Aaron: And spending more. These opportunities for putting a business card in there, because you don’t know what’s gonna happen from the moment that you ship it to its arrival and yes, you know, if there are issues with the shipping, it being damaged, the shipping carriers, in most cases, take care of that and help you out with those things, but still, the customer purchased it from you. They didn’t purchase it from FedEx or from UPS, they don’t really care.

Chris: Right.

Aaron: Having to explain that to the customer, “Well, it’s not my fault. It’s FedEx’s fault,” they don’t care. They just want to get their problem solved. They want their part. They want what they ordered, so having that direct to line is really, really important and so that you can kind of address the situation, acknowledge it, apologize about it, resolve it.

And then, that promo insert, printing a 4×6 or 5×7 promo card with that promo code that is exclusive to customers who’ve purchased from you-

Chris: That way you can track it, too, so if that person comes back, and we have a couple clients doing this right now and just within I think a month, I’m looking at one of our clients right now. They have 19 redemptions. They put in an exclusive promo code into the box that they shipped out and as we all know, the most expensive of getting a customer is getting that first customer.

Aaron: That first one, yep.

Chris: And so it’s your best interest to try to increase the lifetime value of that customer, you know, over time and doing so is easy with these promo codes. It’s really … and again, you can track it. You can have a specific promo code. It can be something like, “Thank you, get 50% off shipping,” or whatever you want to do for the promo code is up to you.

But it’s really, really effective and especially if they enjoyed … everything went smoothly, they’re probably gonna order from you again.

Aaron: 19 redemptions in one month, just starting. Huge!

Chris: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Aaron: Right? And that’s 19 repeat customers.

Chris: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Aaron: And so you’ve, just by putting that in there, you got 19 repeat customers within a month’s time. That’s awesome. That’s how you harness it and really, really mine your database and your consumer base and try to nurture that and get them coming back month after math or you know, even sooner.

Chris: And you didn’t have to pay Google to get that customer; you’ve already done that legwork, so this is essentially just added value at this point.

Pulling Customers Sales Data

Aaron: Yeah. And the last piece of it is … the third and final tip is: pull customer data. If you haven’t pulled your customer data in over the past year or if you’re not pulling it once a quarter and looking for repeat customers and what are you doing to nurture those repeat customers? What have you done to send them a personalized email, what have you done to get them on the phone?

What have you done to create a customized promo code, say their last name or their first name, promo code AARON, right? That they can use for the next six months.

Chris: Because I guarantee that, I mean … a big percentage of your sales are coming from a small percentage of your customers, so it’s really important, and that’s common across a lot of industries where maybe 50% of their revenue’s coming from 5% of your customers, so it’s very important, because if you lose those customers, you’re gonna feel it.

It’s really important to pull the sales data so you’re working smarter.

Aaron: Yep, yep. Well that’s … we’ve actually run over time. The Pit Stop is supposed to be quick, in and out. Right? We’re a little over the 10 minutes, so three tips once again: branded boxes, branded shipping tape, promo card and business cards, and mining your customer database, pulling that customer data, looking at it, sorting through it, finding repeat customers. What are you doing to connect with them and reengage with them in helping them be lifelong customers?

Once again, Aaron Waters, Chris Garafola from OEM Interactive here at The Pit Stop and we will see you next time.

auto parts marketing

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