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  • Online Ordering vs. Picking Up the Phone

    Posted by Erik St. Pierre on September 5, 2016 at 11:45 pm

    Hi all, my name’s Erik from PartsTech. I’m curious of everyone’s thoughts on parts ordering. I often hear from local parts vendors that the majority of their commercial business (north of 75% to 80%)  is still coming in over the phone. I hear this consistently.  Yet, when I talk to garages, I hear a lot more variance, ranging from “I place all of my orders over the phone” to “I’m 100% online.”  It’s hard to pin down the trend line.

    When it comes to ordering over the phone vs ordering online (I’m talking about online commercial ordering via  Napa ProLink, Autozone Pro, Nexpart, etc.), what percentage of your parts volume do you order online?  Do you ever pick up the phone to call the parts counter?
    sherco replied 5 years, 8 months ago 6 Members · 7 Replies
  • 7 Replies
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  • Tom Ham

    Member
    September 6, 2016 at 9:17 am

    Online ordering 99%

    Most calls to parts vendors – usually dealer parts departments – are to ask them to look at their computer and take care of the order we just sent through online.
    To get people to order online:
    1: Show them how – in person if possible.
    2: Make the ordering as simple as possible. Integration with management software is huge.
    3: Keep encouraging them to order online more until they are 100% on board.
    Technology is severely underused by most people. Their minds have to be retrained to think of technology first when they do anything. Most people who have smart phone will sometimes complain about how bad traffic was driving home or across town. Ask them if they let their smart phone choose the route and watch all the blank stares. Then, the next day, they still won’t use their smart phone. Go figure…
  • Erik St. Pierre

    Member
    September 6, 2016 at 9:32 am

    Thanks Tom,  fascinating thoughts. Totally agree with the importance of (1) (2) and (3)

    I’m a big believer that the need to “ask them to look at their computer and take care of the order we just sent through online” is still a major barrier to online ordering. Why place the order online if you have to call anyway, right?  Until we (as an industry) can solve for this, we’ll continue to burn time on hold on the phone with the parts counter.
    Any other thoughts on the phone vs. online ordering?
  • shalnig

    Member
    September 10, 2016 at 7:32 am

    I also agree that When it comes to ordering over the phone vs ordering online, people give priority to ordering over the phone but we have to understand that technology is used by all of us now so we also try to do new ways to ordering beside over the phone.  

  • steve steeb

    Member
    September 10, 2016 at 8:49 pm

    I have a few vendors that will give me an extra % or two off my statement for on-line purchases.  That’s a nice incentive.  And it only makes sense – they don’t need a trained counter person to pull my on-line order.  I also don’t have to pay someone to sit on HOLD or chit-chat with a parts man.  I just wish more of our local dealers would offer on-line ordering – we often look at pictures of the parts we are ordering to be sure they look right!

  • Tom Ham

    Member
    September 10, 2016 at 9:51 pm

    Steve, we set Repair link for 250 miles out. That way we can pull up all car makes. We’ve also found that some out of town dealers bring us parts faster than the local ones – some by delivery, some by shipping. It is very evident that some dealer parts departments get it while others are completely clueless.

  • danrsauto

    Member
    September 13, 2016 at 10:16 pm

    We use online 100% if we can / The big issue is some have nice note area’s some do not. I have the same issues as others stated . I write notes but goes to parts pullers they do not read them , or they do not have a system. alerts that an order came thru – dealers are bad with this . 

    Without using online a shop has to be losing 20 % or more between discounts , estimating time , ordering time , as well as communication are Mitchells system line turns blue so everyone knows parts are ordered.

    thanks dan 

  • sherco

    Member
    October 20, 2016 at 9:30 pm

     While we accept orders over the phone, we prefer orders online. We know the customer is getting exactly what he wants. An example is on our crimp connectors. What we call a male quick connector, is sometimes called a spade terminal  by others. We consider a spade terminal to be a fork (open end) connector. Different parts of the country have different terminology. When a tech orders online there is a clear picture of the item  so he knows what he is ordering.