Just as customisation enthusiasts improve vehicles by modifying factory specifications, so the automotive industry should be prepared for the future of retail. We will tell you about the trends that retailers need to know in order to ensure the prosperity of the business in the long term.
On the way to total online
Selling vehicles online and the expansion of online services in general – this is what is happening now, and what will progress every year. If you overlook this point, then you should lock up your old-school auto parts stores and forget about them forever. The real world we know is being firmly integrated with the virtual one, and soon we will not feel the difference between them at all.
Today, a car connected to the Internet does not look like a miracle, and with the advent of self–driving vehicles on the roads, car sellers will completely switch to omnichannel mode — a single system of communication between the seller and the customer. Eventually, representatives of the automotive business will have the opportunity not only to sell vehicle parts online, but will also provide services such as remote diagnostics and virtual repairs. Retailers and the repairmen will soon become “personal mechanics” (like a family doctor in medicine), who will be answering user questions 24/7, providing guidance and personalised assistance.
Integration of retail and e-commerce
Currently, the automotive spare parts market feels good in the “buffer zone”, while simultaneously taking advantages of trading online and offline. The “bricks and clicks” strategy helps with this – in fact, this is a combination of retail and e-commerce. It has the following advantages:
- integration of retail car dealers with larger businesses;
- providing an alternative to the consumer;
- strengthening omnichannel communication.
The business model can work in two directions: in the first case, retailers simultaneously provide customers with the offline (“bricks”) and online (“clicks”) space to make purchases. In the second case, an auto parts retailer cooperates with a larger player, giving “someone else’s” orders from their platform. The benefits are mutual: the online seller gets an additional audience, and the retailer gets extra attention to the store and, by agreement, a percentage from sales.
Further, the industry is expected to shift up: digitalization, developing technologies will lead to the fact that, according to forecasts, by 2027 the global market of automotive parts for e-commerce will exceed $ 140 billion.
The Internet of Things: there are no losers
To be competitive now and in the future, auto parts retailers need to use an efficient supply chain. The logistics sector is considered a priority for the introduction of the IoT – the Internet of Things. This system combines various devices that interact with each other into one network, and provide a number of advantages. In the field of transportation and storage of goods, they are as follows:
- internet-connected transport;
- safety of transportation of automotive spare parts;
- automated warehouse systems;
- fleet management;
- monitoring and surveillance of assets.
Connecting a car to the Internet provides transparency throughout the supply chain and increases the driver discipline. For security reasons, easy access to data is possible to investigate potential incidents. As part of the monitoring, the movement and dislocation of goods, etc. is monitored.
Transparency, accessibility, versatility are the terms with which the automotive parts market is increasingly associated. Consciousness is changing, borders are blurring – and not only between the real and online worlds. For instance, a combined B2C and B2B platform will become a profit-making tool for serving both markets: retailers, as well as wholesale suppliers, will be able to focus on competitive prices, fast delivery, provision of expert services, etc. When market players are satisfied, the consumer becomes the main winner.