Over the last decade, technology has been completely changing the way we do things in our day-to-day life. For one, the convenience of being able to order something stress-free online and have it in your hands the next day is game-changing. However, will we ever see this eCommerce convenience in the heavy-duty parts industry?
A Late-Adopting Industry
When it comes down to it, the trucking industry is a little behind when it comes to adopting eCommerce. There are a few reasons for this.
First, manufacturers in the trucking industry are significantly tied to distribution, or dealer networks to sell their products. That is a huge change that would need to take place. But also, the industry thought it had more time to figure this out and make these changes. However, with the world moving forward in this area at a very rapid pace, this change has to happen sooner than later.
Things Are Starting to Change
Parts distributors and manufacturers are seeing this need. They know that this is a very necessary step that needs to take place if they want to keep up and continue to sell parts. That is why most of these companies are starting to push for their eCommerce sites to start rolling out in the near future. Even though Covid-19 may have sped up this process a little bit, it was already in the works beforehand.
With this adjustment of adding an eCommerce platform, there some challenges heavy-duty parts companies need to face.
“The biggest problem is getting past the Dealer-Dilemma. That’s a reality, it’s something that every business needs to work with… Once that decision is made to move forward, data is the next significant challenge. If you think about items, images, videos, drawings, parts attributes, and the things that add searchability on a site, that adds up. But where the work really comes into place is making the description consumable for the customer,” said Kristina Harrington, President of GenAlpha.
DATA is Very Important
When building an e-commerce solution, cross-reference information, and technical data is crucial. Without that, individuals would have a very difficult time ordering parts, especially if you don’t have a lot of parts experience.
It comes down to ease of access, which is key to being successful on a digital platform. We know that the future of purchasing heavy-duty parts is digital and will be accomplished from a handheld device. Not only that though, but it’ll also have to have quick shipping fulfillment of orders, just as we see with other online retailers doing today.
With this huge change though, will eCommerce solutions and direct to consumer online distributors replace traditional distribution in the 2020s?
“It’s not going to be replaced, but rather it will work together as complements of each other. I think there is going to be space for both,” answered Kris Harrington, President of GenAlpha.
The convenience of eCommerce will mean that the majority of consumable and high-volume heavy-duty parts will be purchased through a digital sales channel, and the traditional retailers will still play a role but we may see them move to more niche products.
One thing is certain though. The digital era is coming, and if you want to stay relevant, you are going to have to have a digital strategy.
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