How to Sell and Ship Car Parts

Published on September 23, 2021
Written by
Filed under Shipping Basics
Read time 11 Minutes

Figuring out the best way to ship car parts is crucial for a good customer experience. It allows you to get expensive, time-sensitive, frequently heavy auto parts to your customers. This leads to higher ratings and allows you to stand out in a somewhat crowded market. Luckily ShipStation and are joining forces to make selling and shipping car parts ordered online simpler.

Which carriers are cheapest for shipping car parts? 

Different carriers have different advantages when shipping car parts. While there are caveats, the cheapest way to ship car parts.

USPS for Lightweight Car Parts

The USPS is generally the most affordable option to ship car parts that are lightweight—under 5 lbs or so. This is especially true for residential addresses. 

UPS for Larger Car Parts

UPS is the best option for shipping car parts weighing over 5 lbs. If you sign up for UPS from ShipStation, you are eligible for additional savings. You can get discounts on base shipping rates and also get deeper discounts on certain surcharges. 

FedEx for Express Delivery

In the debate between UPS and FedEx, the better option for express shipping options usually falls to FedEx. Not only does FedEx offer a lot of day-definite shipping options, they also tend to be a little more affordable when shipping automotive parts. And as anyone who’s shipped car parts, you know how expensive it can become. 

Surcharges and Additional Costs When Shipping Automotive Parts

Car parts can be bulky and expensive to ship. As a result, the amount you pay for the label may only be the start. It is possible that additional fees can stack up.

Additional Handling on Fenders and Mufflers

Abnormally shaped items like fenders may be well within the dimensional limits for a carrier. However, as these parts snake their way through the carrier facilities, there can be snags. If they can’t properly move down the conveyor belts, a worker will have to move it manually—resulting in additional handling surcharges. 

Dimensional Weight for Tires

Dimensional weight is when a parcel’s dimensions are disproportionately large compared to its weight. While things like a donut spare tire may be lightweight and have a great big hole in the middle, they take up a lot of space in carrier facilities and on trucks. As a result, they may end up being charged four times their initial base rate. 

Where and How to Sell Auto Parts Online

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Especially in the wake of the pandemic, e-commerce has redefined how consumers find and purchase products online. E-commerce sales have skyrocketed in the past few years. Experts agree that this will likely be the norm going forward; and the automotive aftersales industry is no exception. In fact, online parts and accessories sales alone reached over $16 billion in 2020. This is projected to grow to $22 billion by 2023 (Hedges & Company). 

To start selling parts and accessories online, however, you’ll need more than just a website. To build a successful online aftersales e-commerce business, we recommend finding a partner who understands the market and can help you navigate the complex landscape of online parts sales. And for that, your first stop should be your OEM. 

Taking Advantage of OEM Support

To help dealers get into online parts and accessories sales, your OEM may already have an existing program in place to help set the foundation of your online parts business. If they do, we recommend contacting your field representative with the OEM and finding out what kind of opportunities are available to you as a dealer. OEM-endorsed programs are usually the most cost-effective solution due to program fee subsidies or bonuses to your dealership. They are also usually built on the most up-to-date catalog data. They also offer manufacturer-sponsored seasonal promotions, and additional business coaching support to help your online store succeed. 

Picking the Right E-Commerce Partner

If your OEM has an existing aftersales e-commerce program, they’ll likely point you to a preferred website provider or vendor. Before signing up, though, we recommend making sure that the endorsed provider is able to provide you with the right tools to meet your specific business goals. Above all, you want to choose a provider who doesn’t just see you as a client, but instead as a partner whose success they’re just as invested in as you are.

What to ask when

  • Where does your catalog data come from and how up-to-date is it?
  • What kind of opportunities will I have to expand my business into other marketplaces like eBay?
  • Can you help me tailor my pricing and shipping strategies to help me achieve my goals for sales and volume?
  • What kind of support (phone support, knowledgebase articles, etc.) will I have access to as a program member?

The right partner won’t just simply stand up a website, throw you the keys, and say, “Good luck!” A high-quality website vendor should have the tools, support, and expertise available for you to reach any business goal, no matter how large or small. When it comes to getting your online parts business up and running, never underestimate the importance of a great partner.

Getting Your Store Up and Running

Once you’ve picked a partner to help you launch your online parts business, it’s time to make some important business decisions that will determine how customers find and purchase parts from your store. Deciding on your store’s pricing, shipping options, accepted payment methods, and marketing will significantly increase the volume of orders that your store receives. A high-quality e-commerce partner can help you make those decisions based around your specific volume and sales goals and implement the right strategies to help you grow your business successfully and sustainably. 

There are also some more practical actions that you’ll have to take at the ground level to get your store operational. First, you’ll need a way to accept and fulfill your customers’ orders. Most e-commerce partners will provide you with a control panel that will help you organize, tag, and fulfill orders, as well as tools to spot fraudulent orders and process payments. Then, you’ll have to set up a way to pick and box those orders. This will certainly involve stocking up on shipping supplies like boxes, tape, and bubble wrap, but may also require that you invest in extra staff to fulfill the increased volume of orders. Finally, you’ll need to establish a daily schedule to check for new orders, communicate with customers, and ship thor orders. A high-quality e-commerce provider can help you navigate this new business and figure out the best way to accomplish these tasks based on your goals and staff.

Day 2 and Beyond

Now that you’ve got your online parts store officially up and running, now it’s time to begin optimizing your selling strategies and growing your business for the long term. When it comes to e-commerce, there’s countless opportunities for growing your market and sales. It’s important to remember, though, that not all of these opportunities might be the right ways to meet your goals. This is why it’s so important to choose an e-commerce partner who can help you navigate the complex world of parts and accessories e-commerce to grow your business in a way that helps you achieve your goals.

Want to learn more about how to grow your parts department’s sales with e-commerce? As the officially endorsed aftersales e-commerce provider for 20 of the world’s most successful OEMs, SimplePart has the tools, support, and expertise to help you succeed online. Learn more about our platform or schedule a demo today by contacting a member of the SimplePart team at [email protected] or 1-888-843-0425.

To try ShipStation for managing the shipment of car parts or anything else, try ShipStation free for 30 days.

Written by

James Messer

James Messer is a copywriter specializing in shipping, logistics, and ecommerce.

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