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February 19, 2024

A Comprehensive Guide to Accelerate Your Automotive Business Growth with eCommerce

Author i95Dev Marketing


The automotive industry has undergone a significant transformation in recent years with the widespread adoption of digital technology. In this rapidly evolving market, embracing eCommerce is no longer an option but a strategic imperative for automotive and aftermarket industries.

Consider this: around two-thirds of potential buyers are now open to purchasing cars online, with an anticipated 6 million new vehicles expected to be sold via eCommerce platforms by 2025.

The digital landscape has transformed the way businesses operate, and for automotive and aftermarket businesses, eCommerce offers a powerful avenue for growth, customer engagement, and streamlined operations.

Let us look at the trends, along with eCommerce, that are shaping the growth and customer expectations in the automotive industry and the role of eCommerce in driving business growth and efficiency.

But before we begin, let us look at what the automotive industry includes – automobile manufacturing (passenger and commercial vehicles), automotive components and parts (OEM and aftermarket parts), automotive services (repair and maintenance, financing and insurance, rental and sharing services), automotive retail, value-added products (in-care entertainment systems, connected car technologies, safety equipment), motorcycle and Powersports (ATV, UTV, Snowmobiles), and more.

Overview of Key Trends in the Automotive and Aftermarket Industry

The Rise of Automotive eCommerce:

Traditionally reliant on brick-and-mortar establishments, the automotive and aftermarket industries have witnessed a significant paradigm shift with the rise of eCommerce. Consumers now prefer the convenience of online platforms for researching, purchasing, and maintaining their vehicles.

From spare parts to custom accessories, customers expect the same level of convenience and personalization they experience in other online retail sectors.

Driven by this shift, the eCommerce automotive industry is poised to evolve and grow rapidly in the coming years. eMarketer projects U.S. auto and parts retail eCommerce sales to reach $182.48 billion by 2026.

While the U.S. auto market only accounts for 6.8% of all U.S. retail eCommerce sales, eMarketer predicts that the automotive category will have the third largest compound annual growth rate between 2023 and 2027 (among other categories such as apparel and accessories, food and beverage and health and personal care).

In addition, online shopping for automotive parts through third-party vendors/ marketplaces like, Inc., O’Reilly Auto Parts, and Alibaba Group Holding Limited is also growing rapidly.

Consumer Preferences:

Understanding consumer preferences is key to unlocking opportunities in the automotive eCommerce space. Today’s customers seek not only convenience but also a seamless online experience that mirrors the traditionally tactile process of purchasing automotive products. This includes comprehensive product information, interactive visuals, and a straightforward buying journey.

Rising Demand for Customization:

Consumers are now seeking unique and customized solutions for their vehicles. The rise of eCommerce allows businesses to cater to this demand by offering personalized products, from customized car accessories to tailor-made performance parts. Embracing this trend can set your business apart in a crowded market.

Emerging Opportunities:

The convergence of technology and automotive eCommerce opens doors to innovative opportunities. From virtual showrooms and augmented reality experiences to personalized product recommendations based on customer behavior, businesses must leverage cutting-edge technologies to stand out in a competitive market. Identifying and capitalizing on these opportunities is paramount for staying ahead in the industry.

While many buyers still favor the traditional in-store experience, eCommerce will permanently shift how business is done in the automotive and aftermarket industry.

Tesla sets precedence by opting to sell their Model 3 exclusively online. They plan to shift to online-only sales worldwide.

Volvo, the renowned Swedish automaker, is steering towards an online-only sales model for its Electric Vehicles (EVs) and other models.

Walmart has enabled shopping for automotive through their eCommerce platform, CarSaver.

FordDirect is launching a new eCommerce system, a joint venture between the automaker and its dealers, for marketing and technological initiatives.

For a more comprehensive view of the trends in the automotive industry, read Future of Automotive eCommerce.

For how AI can disrupt the auto parts industry, read 6 Ways AI Can Disrupt Automotive Parts eCommerce Industry.

The rise of automotive eCommerce is a transformative journey that presents both challenges and opportunities. By closely examining global trends, understanding consumer preferences, and identifying emerging opportunities, businesses can position themselves at the forefront of this dynamic industry. Let us delve deeper into the challenges businesses in automotive and aftermarket industry face and how eCommerce can help in navigating these challenges.

Navigating the Key Challenges in the Automotive Industry with eCommerce

The rise of automotive eCommerce is not merely a trend; it’s a fundamental change in how customers interact with automotive products and services. eCommerce solutions play a crucial role in addressing several challenges businesses in the automotive industry face.

Challenge: Global Reach and Market Expansion – Managing operations across different locations and channels presents several logistical and communication challenges that several businesses struggle to deal with efficiently.

How can eCommerce help?

  • The global reach of eCommerce has transcended geographical boundaries. From major automotive markets in North America and Europe to emerging markets in Asia, the influence of online platforms is reshaping the automotive purchasing landscape.
  • eCommerce platforms enable automotive businesses to sell and manage their businesses across locations easily. In addition, by adopting an omni-channel approach, manufacturers and retailers can efficiently market automotive products across multiple channels from a single dashboard.
  • This enables automotive manufacturers and retailers to expand their market presence beyond geographical constraints and tap into new markets and diverse consumer segments with little incremental effort.

Success Story: Discover how a leading player in the aftermarket industry drives global expansion with eCommerce.

Challenge: Drive Seamless Multi-channel Sales – Driving sales across channels like eCommerce, Mobile, Retail Stores, Marketplaces, and more, providing a consistent and user-friendly experience can be complex.

How can eCommerce help?

  • eCommerce stores can easily integrate with multiple channels, centralizing and streamlining operations while providing a unified shopping experience.
  • Online store and Website: An advanced responsive eCommerce store to cater to your online audience.
  • Physical store: By integrating eCommerce with physical stores, you can enable options like store pickup, buy in-store and return online, and more, letting users switch seamlessly between online and offline channels.
  • Online Marketplaces: Leverage eCommerce to sell automotive and aftermarket products effortlessly across popular marketplaces like Amazon, Walmart, and eBay, expanding reach to a diverse and extensive audience.

Success Story: Discover how a manufacturer and distributor of off-road products drives business growth and multi-channel sales with eCommerce.

Challenge: Taking Advantage of Growing Direct-to-Consumer (D2C) Opportunities – The traditional automotive sales model heavily relies on intermediaries such as dealerships and existing distribution networks. However, increasing numbers of manufacturers are exploring D2C, which is a massive shift for most manufacturers.

How can eCommerce help?

  • eCommerce platforms empower auto manufacturers to embrace direct-to-consumer channels, fostering innovation, customer engagement, and a competitive edge in the rapidly evolving automotive industry.
  • In the current landscape, only a few automotive manufacturers, exemplified by Tesla and Mercedes-Benz, have ventured into the direct-to-consumer eCommerce domain. This signifies a distinct opportunity for auto manufacturers to forge a competitive advantage, positioning themselves as trailblazing digital innovators.

Challenge: Aftermarket Parts Accessibility – Product search and discovery are significant challenges that most aftermarket parts businesses struggle with online and offline channels.

How can eCommerce help?

  • The right eCommerce solution can help businesses leverage AI and machine learning to enhance parts identification, ensuring customers find the exact components they need. This trend streamlines the customer journey, reducing errors in purchasing.
  • For an example of successful implementation by an auto parts manufacturer leveraging eCommerce to streamline product discovery, see Effortless Shopping – Your Secret to Driving Sales and Customer Experiences.

Challenge: Managing Product and Inventory Information Efficiently – Efficiently managing a large portfolio of SKUs, associated product information, and inventory information is overwhelming, even for established businesses.

How can eCommerce help?

  • eCommerce is not the best system for managing product information, especially for businesses in the automotive and aftermarket industries.
  • However, businesses can leverage a PIM system to do this effectively. A Product Information Management (PIM) system allows for centralized control over product data such as categories, images, descriptions, dimensions, and more, making it easy and seamless to manage product information.
  • For information on leveraging a PIM system, eCommerce store, and ERP to build a unified ecosystem to drive efficiency and success in the automotive industry, see Automotive Businesses: Fueling Success in eCommerce with PIM.
  • It is key to centralize inventory in the ERP system for effective inventory management. eCommerce streamlines this by integrating seamlessly with the ERP system. Read Inventory challenges eCommerce and ERP integration can help you address for more information.

For challenges automotive businesses face from an eCommerce perspective, read Automobile Aftermarket Challenges Unravelled – An eCommerce Perspective.

In navigating these challenges, businesses can not only survive but thrive in the digital landscape. Strategic planning, continuous adaptation, and a customer-centric approach are pivotal in overcoming these roadblocks and turning challenges into opportunities for growth.

Benefits of an eCommerce Store for Automotive and Aftermarket Businesses

eCommerce adoption is a strategic initiative with several benefits, such as

Market Reach and Availability

  • Expanded Reach and Market Presence
  • 24/7 Accessibility
  • Enables Multi-channel Sales
  • Unified B2B and B2C eCommerce
Customer Experience and Engagement

  • Improved Product Discovery
  • Effortless Cross-selling and Up-selling
  • Increased Customer Engagement
  • Enhanced Customer Service and Post-Purchase Engagement
Scalability and Business Efficiency

  • Enhanced Operational Efficiency
  • Business Scalability
  • Cost Efficiency
  • Efficient Product and Inventory Management
  • Streamlined Returns
Personalized and Targeted Marketing

  • Personalized Shopping Experience
  • Omni-channel Marketing
  • Brand Consistency
  • Targeted Marketing
  • Competitive Edge
Integration and Innovation

  • Faster Go-to-Market
  • Go D2C Seamlessly
  • Blended eCommerce
  • Innovation Opportunities
  • Integration with Social Media
Reduced Risks and Uncertainty

  • Improved Trust
  • Data-Driven Decision-Making
  • Reduced Uncertainty
  • Respond to Emerging Trends Quickly

For more information, download our eBook How eCommerce Is Transforming the Automotive Industry.

For live examples of how businesses in the automotive industry are leveraging eCommerce to drive innovation and success, watch our informative on-demand webinar Wheels of Innovation: Addressing Automotive Industry Challenges with eCommerce and Integration.

As we navigate the dynamic terrain of the automotive and aftermarket industries, eCommerce emerges as the vehicle that propels businesses into the digital future. By understanding industry trends, overcoming challenges, and harnessing the myriad benefits of eCommerce, your automotive or aftermarket business can not only stay relevant but thrive in the ever-evolving market.

The road to success is paved with innovation, customer-centric strategies, and a commitment to embracing the transformative power of eCommerce. Are you ready to make the most of this opportunity?

How can i95Dev help?

i95Dev has extensive experience providing personalized eCommerce solutions to businesses in the automotive industry. We can help businesses in the automotive industry:

Connect with i95Dev’s eCommerce experts to explore how we can optimize your eCommerce presence. Let’s embark on a journey to enhance your digital footprint and redefine success in the automotive eCommerce landscape.

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