Debunked: 2 Myths on the “Risks” of Online Parts Ordering

May 23, 2023
Shop Tips & Best Practices
5 min read

More and more auto shops have switched to online parts ordering — a trend that is growing far faster than projected. In 2017, Hedges and Company, a marketing solutions provider to automotive manufacturers and resellers, predicted online parts sales would grow from $16 billion to $22 billion between 2019 and 2023.

They have since updated that number to $38 billion, and the pace of parts eCommerce is expected to grow further by 9% until at least 2025. 

So, why is online parts procurement so hot? In short, the ability to get the exact parts you need when you need them has vastly improved, and auto shops are seeing major time savings. 

Even still, some shops hesitate to switch due to a couple of misconceptions about ordering parts online. 

Why Some Shops Resist Online Parts Ordering

For decades, shop staff have relied on paper catalogs or phone calls to their suppliers to find the auto parts they needed. Those tactile and human connections became ingrained in their habits over time. 

Even as shops adopt new systems, such as remote/online payments, they struggle with the idea of online parts ordering. A study by Aftermarket Business World identified the main barriers that made service advisors resist buying parts online:

  • 38% – The potential to order the wrong parts
  • 21% – Shipping costs
  • 12% – Limited product descriptions

These common concerns lead to two debunkable myths. Let’s walk through them. 

Myth 1: More Chance of Ordering the Wrong Part Online

Technicians lose productivity just moving cars in and out of bays while they wait for estimate approvals. So, the last thing they want to do is to have to go back to square one because they ordered the wrong part.

Ordering the wrong part delays when your customer expects their vehicle to be done. However, the chance of making this type of mistake drops off significantly within current ordering platforms.

In the early days of online parts procurement, internet bandwidth and other technical restrictions limited the amount of information in the listings, and many didn’t include images. This made it hard for shops to trust online systems where they didn’t feel confident they were ordering the right part.

Myth Debunked:

View detailed part descriptions and photos with today’s modern website capabilities. 

Technology has changed significantly. For an online parts catalog like PartsTech, today’s website speeds and designs have made it possible to show images of parts from various angles. It also means that there is lots of room for detailed product descriptions. 

View the latest and greatest data, straight from suppliers that’s been vetted by a dedicated data team.

PartsTech upholds data trust, which is why we have an entire data team. This team is 100% dedicated to the integrity of our parts data catalog which means they are in constant contact with suppliers and parts catalog providers to ensure the quality of our parts data.   

Use job templates and/or quickly reference the parts that you’ve used in the past to add further confidence that you are purchasing the right part(s).  

The ability to leverage templates and reference past orders further eliminates the element of human error. 

PartsTech Jobs provides popular job templates and enables a sequential search of the parts required to complete a set job. Searching for parts through these templates will limit the parts menu, making it easy to find all the right parts for the job at hand and to order the same part(s) again and again with a click. 

If you use a shop management system, seamless integrations with PartsTech allow you to create customized service templates (also called canned services, canned jobs, pre-saved jobs) for your shop’s most popular jobs. For return customers, you can also pull up previous work orders to see specific parts that have been purchased for that vehicle in the past. 

“We love PartsTech. The software connects with our management software easily. It makes parts ordering and managing simple so we can worry about other parts of the business. We would not want to do our job without it.”

– Amber M., Office Manager

Myth 2: Ordering Online Adds Shipping Costs

No business likes to pay the ‘extra fees’ that come with online purchases when you’re watching your bottom line — this includes extra shipping costs. A common misconception is that your shop will incur delivery fees AND shipping fees when you order parts online.

Myth Debunked:

Get parts en route to your shop faster than ever before by removing phone call delays (without incurring additional shipping costs on top of normal delivery fees). 

Shipping costs in online orders work just like the delivery costs that parts companies have always charged your shop. You will not be charged both a shipping fee and a delivery fee — they are one and the same when you order parts online. 

The true difference in ordering online, versus not, is that you can find, select, and order parts in a fraction of the time that it takes you to thumb through catalogs and/or call suppliers. This means that the parts will be on the way to your shop much faster than before because of the time you saved in finding and ordering them online.

If you haven’t checked online parts procurement platforms, or have not done so in recent years, you will be amazed at the quality of search results and ease of use.

Take PartsTech for a spin – open your free account.

Read more: 3 Truths About Parts Ordering and Why Shops Switch to Online Parts Procurement