The Complete Guide to Dropshipping Auto Parts 2024
Last updated on November 21st, 2023 at 01:02 pm
- The Auto Parts Dropshipping Market
- The Players in the Auto Parts Dropshipping Ecosystem
- Auto Parts: OEM Parts vs. Aftermarket Automotive Parts
- In-demand Aftermarket Auto Parts for Dropshipping
- Finding Reliable Auto Parts Suppliers
- Setting Up your Auto Parts Store Online
- Online Auto Parts Store Product Data
- Automotive Aftermarket Sales and Marketing
- Scaling your Auto Parts Business
The Auto Parts Dropshipping Market
In the world of ecommerce, Dropshipping is evolving at an incredible pace. It’s a model where retailers don’t need to stock inventory; instead, they partner with suppliers who directly ship products to customers. This model’s effectiveness becomes particularly evident in niche markets, such as auto parts.
To succeed in the auto parts dropshipping industry, one must have a good understanding of automotive parts and not just of cars or other types of vehicles in the broad sense.
Auto parts knowledge is crucial for curating a selection of in-demand parts that meet the specific needs of vehicle owners. It extends to cross-referencing multiple databases to guarantee a perfect match between the ordered part and the customer’s vehicle specifications.
The global automotive ecommerce market is expected to reach a staggering $213.081 billion by 2029, and the U.S. market alone is projected to hit $182.482 billion by 2026. Several factors contribute to the immense market potential of auto parts dropshipping.
The large and growing number of vehicles on the road: As of 2022, there are about 290.8 millions3 cars in the US market. The average car has roughly 30,000 parts, counting everything down to the nuts and bolts.
All of these parts need to be regularly maintained and repaired, which creates a massive market for auto parts dropshippers.
The high markup and margins on auto parts: Automotive experts suggest4 doubling the prices of car parts to achieve a profit margin of 50-55%, resulting in a net profit of 30-35%.
However, it’s important to recognize that this pricing strategy tends to be more applicable for lower-cost items such as external accessories like windshield wipers, etc.
In the case of higher-priced products, like wheels, etc. the effectiveness of the pricing strategy lies in the regular margins which are better compared to other industries.
The Players in the Auto Parts Dropshipping Ecosystem
In this dynamic ecosystem, various key players collaborate to leverage the immense opportunities within auto parts dropshipping.
These players include aftermarket manufacturers, distributors, and retailers.
Types of Manufacturers:
1) OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer): Manufacturers who produce parts for specific car makes and models, meeting the car manufacturer’s standards. Example5 : Bosch supplying fuel injectors to BMW.
2) Independent Aftermarket Manufacturer: These manufacturers produce auto parts and accessories that are not sourced from the original equipment manufacturers (OEMs). Example: Dorman Products6
3) Niche Auto Parts Manufacturer: These manufacturers create unique parts tailored to specific needs, like performance parts for car enthusiasts, offering specialized solutions to the market. E.g. Skunk2 Racing7
Types of Suppliers/distributors:
1) OEM Suppliers: OEM suppliers are companies that provide specific components or sub-assemblies to the OEM manufacturer who are captive suppliers for Car makers.
2) Aftermarket Suppliers/distributors: Offer Parts not made by OEMs, usually as replacements or upgrades. E.g. Turn14
3) Refurbished auto parts suppliers/distributors: Offers alternative aftermarket, specialty salvage, and recycled automotive components, catering to the repair and enhancement of vehicles. E.g. LKQ corporation
4) Specialty Suppliers/distributors: Focus on specific types of Parts, like performance parts, accessories, or certain vehicle systems (e.g., exhaust, suspension). E.g. Western Power Sports
Types of Retailers:
1) Dropshipping Auto Parts Retailers: Retailers, whether on online marketplaces or their websites or on both, utilize Dropshipping to fulfill orders, streamlining the process and offering a wide range of auto parts to customers.
2) OEM Parts Retailers: These retailers, often found in traditional dealerships associated with one brand, typically focus on selling solely that brand’s OEM parts, maintaining a specialized and exclusive product range.
3) Specialty Auto Parts Retailers: These retailers focus on niche markets, such as performance parts, catering to specific car enthusiasts.
Having understood the key players in the auto parts dropshipping ecosystem, let’s now delve into the types of auto parts available, specifically focusing on OEM and Independent Aftermarket parts.
Auto Parts: OEM Parts vs. Aftermarket Automotive Parts
OEM parts are like the precision tools of the automotive world, tailored to fit specific car makes and models. Their quality and reliability are top-notch, but this precision comes at a premium cost.
Why the high cost? Well, it’s because OEMs allocate significant funds to R&D, manufacturing parts that uphold their rigorous quality benchmarks.
This helps them offer warranties and build an esteemed brand image. Customers recognize this value, appreciating the assurance of compatibility and optimal performance that aligns with their vehicle’s specific engineering.
On the other hand, Independent Aftermarket companies focus on creating versatile components that fit a range of vehicle makes and models, providing a cost-effective alternative to OEM parts.
Without the same scale of investment in brand-specific R&D and without the added cost of maintaining a premium brand image, these manufacturers can offer quality parts at more competitive prices.
They offer an adaptable solution for dropshippers and retailers who prioritize affordability alongside quality. Here’s why:
Wider Selection: Independent Aftermarket parts provide a broader inventory range, allowing dropshippers and retailers to cater to various customer needs without being tied to specific vehicle brands, which can significantly expand market reach.
Higher Margins: With generally lower acquisition costs, Independent Aftermarket parts can offer better profit margins. This pricing flexibility can be leveraged for competitive pricing strategies in the ecommerce space.
Faster Inventory Turnover: Due to their affordability and compatibility with multiple models, these parts often have a quicker turnover rate, ensuring retailers maintain a dynamic inventory with reduced holding costs.
In-demand Aftermarket Auto Parts for Dropshipping
To find hot-selling aftermarket auto parts for dropshipping, delve into niche forums, such as enthusiast communities or automotive repair groups.
Seek out user-generated content to identify trending products and read through discussions to gauge interest. Analyze keyword trends on search engines and e-commerce platforms to pinpoint popular items.
Stay ahead of the curve by monitoring auto industry news and emerging technologies, offering your customers the latest innovations.
For your convenience, here are some high-demand products to consider:
|Electronics||Maintenance||Performance||Exterior Parts and Accessories|
|Car charger||Brake pads and rotors||Air filters and intake systems||Billet grille upgrades|
|Car DVR||Light bulbs||Silencers||Chrome trim tonneau covers|
|Driving recorder||Wiper blades||Mufflers and cat-back systems||Nerf bars|
|GPS tracker||Engine oil and different fluids||Valves||Wind deflectors|
|OBD-II Reader||Bumper covers||Fuel Injector||Front lip/side skirt lip kits|
|OVRMs||Spark plugs||Cylinder Heads||Steel Bumper|
|Smart lock||Ignition coils||Piston Rings||Side mirrors|
Finding Reliable Auto Parts Suppliers
To streamline your search and ensure you choose the right supplier, consider the following key factors:
Key Factors to Consider When Choosing Suppliers
Product Category Compatibility: It’s vital to verify that the supplier offers the specific product categories you intend to sell. Ensure they have a diverse range of parts that align with your target market.
Shipping Details: Review the supplier’s shipping policies, including shipping times, methods, and costs. A reliable supplier should provide reasonable shipping options to meet customer expectations.
Warehouse Locations: Knowing the location of the supplier’s warehouses and understanding the supplier’s distribution network is crucial. This information can impact shipping times and costs, making it an important consideration for efficient order fulfillment.
Integration Ability: Checking the supplier’s capability and willingness to integrate with your systems via APIs or EDI is a critical step. This integration is vital for streamlining the operations of a dropshipping business. It allows for real-time updates on inventory levels, automatic order placement, and tracking information, which significantly enhances efficiency. Furthermore, it’s worth investigating whether the supplier has existing partnerships with prominent dropshipping automation and integration tools.
Integration and automation can simplify the management of multiple suppliers and retail fronts, ensuring that your business can scale effectively and maintain optimum order fulfillment.
To simplify your search, we’ve compiled a list of top auto parts suppliers and their important details. The six suppliers in the table are pre-integrated with Flxpoint.
At the end of the table, you can download a full list of auto parts suppliers.
|Top Auto Parts Suppliers for Dropshipping|
|Supplier Name||Website Link||Product Niche||Headquarter Location||Integration (EDI/API/FTP)|
|American Tire Distributors||American Tire Distributors||Wheel Accessories||Huntersville, North Carolina, United States||Yes, Integrated with Flxpoint|
|Automatic Distributors||Automatic Distributors||Powersport parts and accessories||Bangor, Maine||Yes, Integrated with Flxpoint|
|Keystone Automotive||Keystone Automotive||Automotive Accessories and Upgrades||44 Tunkhannock Avenue, Exeter, PA 18643, United States||Yes, Integrated with Flxpoint|
|Motor State Distributing||Motor State Distributing||High-performance auto parts||8300 Lane Dr, Watervliet, Michigan, 49098, United States||Yes, Integrated with Flxpoint|
|Parts Unlimited||Parts Unlimited||Powersport Accessories||Janesville, Wisconsin, United States||Yes, Integrated with Flxpoint|
|Tucker||Powersports.tucker.com/||Powersports aftermarket parts, accessories and apparel||Fort Worth, Texas||Yes, Integrated with Flxpoint|
Click here to Download a full list of Auto Parts Suppliers for Dropshipping.
(Disclaimer – while every effort has been made to provide accurate information, the responsibility for verifying the information lies solely with you. Do interact with the suppliers/distributors before taking any decisions)
Setting Up your Auto Parts Store Online
Once you’ve identified your suppliers, the next step is to set up your online store.
Let’s explore the two main options: create your online store (e.g., on BigCommerce or Shopify) or use popular marketplaces (like Amazon and eBay). Each has pros and cons that affect your business growth. Let’s dive into the details.
A) Creating Your Auto Parts Online Store with BigCommerce and Shopify
When setting up your online auto parts store, choosing the right platform is pivotal. BigCommerce and Shopify are both robust e-commerce solutions for auto parts businesses.
BigCommerce: The Powerhouse
BigCommerce boasts an array of features8 tailored for auto parts businesses. Here’s what makes it stand out:
1) Custom Auto Themes: Select from specialized themes for your auto parts store.
2) Smooth Fitment Search: Help customers find the right parts with YMM and ACES/PIES integration.
3) Seamless Tool Integration: Easily connect existing tools like PIM, POS, or ERP.
4) Efficient Catalog Management: Quickly update 100,000 products using Catalog API or integrate external catalog tools and POS systems with ease.
Shopify: User-Friendly for Auto Parts
Shopify offers a range of user-friendly features9 for online auto parts stores. Here are some of the key features:
1) Effortless Product Management: With Shopify Plus, auto parts stores can effortlessly upload products in bulk and organize their entire catalog online, including categories, images, descriptions, dimensions, and product reviews.
2) Car Information Input and Filtering: Customers can input their car details, ensuring tailored product recommendations that fit their needs.
3) Instant Communication: Use the Shop App to send real-time order confirmations, updates, and vital information to customers.
4) Streamlined backend operations: Shopify enables businesses to swiftly make changes, apply discount codes, and update catalogs, essential for the fast-paced demands of modern ecommerce.
B) Optimizing Your Online Auto Parts Store
After setting up your auto parts store on platforms like BigCommerce or Shopify, the next strategic move is to optimize your store with specialized tools that can further refine the customer’s shopping experience and integrate with your existing setup.
Advanced Year-Make-Model Lookup Tool: Integrating an advanced year-make-model (YMM) lookup tool into your BigCommerce or Shopify store can significantly enhance user experience.
This tool allows customers to filter products based on their specific vehicle details, ensuring a seamless fit and compatibility.
Enhanced Product Filters: Beyond a standard YMM lookup, offer additional filters like ‘search by wheel’ or ‘search by tire’. These granular filters cater to enthusiasts and professionals who know exactly what they’re looking for, making their search process faster and more efficient.
Rich Product Visualization: Utilize high-quality images and interactive media to showcase your products. Leverage tools that can help 3D visualization to provide customers with a more detailed view of how parts would look and fit in their vehicles.
C) Leveraging Marketplaces: eBay Motors, Amazon Garage
When it comes to expanding your auto parts business, both eBay Motors and Amazon Automotive offer distinct advantages and challenges.
Amazon Automotive10: It’s important to note that Amazon Automotive primarily focuses on new auto parts and accessories11, making it suitable for accessories rather than replacement parts. This makes it an ideal platform for accessories rather than replacement parts.
Amazon maintains strict approval requirements for auto parts sellers, ensuring quality and trust for customers. Additionally, Amazon mainly collaborates with OEMs to enhance the overall selection available to customers online.
eBay Motors: Like Amazon, eBay is a marketplace platform where multiple sellers compete. eBay has a lower barrier of entry, making it more accessible for auto parts sellers.
It introduced eBay Guaranteed Fit12, marked by a green “Fits” compatibility checkmark on select listings, aiding customers in determining if a part suits their specific vehicle. eBay Motors also boasts a robust fitment system and even offers opportunities for actual car sales.
Online Auto Parts Store Product Data
With an immense inventory of auto parts for diverse vehicle models, maintaining precision in customer deliveries poses a significant challenge, especially for online vendors. Dependable, current product data and parts fitment are the backbone of auto parts e-commerce operations.
However, without standardized data, it can be difficult to match parts to vehicles, track inventory levels, and provide accurate product information to customers. This can lead to errors, returns, and lost revenue.
Therefore, to effectively tackle this challenge, it’s crucial to adopt and implement industry-recognized data standards—specifically, the ACES (Aftermarket Catalog Exchange Standard) and PIES (Product Information Exchange Standard). These standards are the key to streamlining online auto parts sales.
Understanding ACES and PIES Data Standards
ACES data are used to identify the vehicle compatibility of aftermarket parts. This data includes information such as the year, make, model, bed, engine, and drivetrain of the vehicles that a particular part is compatible with.
PIES data are used to describe the features and attributes of aftermarket parts. This data13 includes information such as the popularity of the part, its dimensions, country of origin, weight, brand, UPC, product number, price, materials, marketing content, interchanges, and warranty information.
Both ACES and PIES data are available in electronic databases. The ACES Vehicle Configuration Database (VCdb) contains fitment data for vehicles going back as far as 1896.
The ACES Parts Configuration Database (PCdb) contains Parts data. The PIES database contains information on over 20,000 product types and 25 categories.
Leveraging Data Standards for Enhanced Auto Parts E-commerce
You can leverage powerful tools that offer ACES and PIES data via integrations, enhancing your auto parts business.
These tools provide a comprehensive Year-Make-Model lookup tool compatible with various e-commerce platforms, essential features like VIN search, garage integration, and fitment verification, tailored to the aftermarket auto parts industry.
Integrating with PIES data can also be used to improve SEO and create attractive listings that drive sales on non-marketplace channels.
Automotive Aftermarket Sales and Marketing
In the fiercely competitive world of aftermarket automotive sales, understanding the significance of marketing and sales cannot be overstated. To excel in this niche, here’s how you can boost your game:
1. Niche Market Specialization
- Focus on specialized auto parts to differentiate from competitors and cater to specific market segments.
- Develop expertise in emerging automotive niches, such as maintenance components or high-performance parts.
2. Data-Driven Content Marketing
- Create detailed guides and blog posts on auto part selection, maintenance, and troubleshooting, using SEO to drive traffic.
- Leverage video content to demonstrate product installations or reviews, tapping into the DIY community.
3. Partnership and Collaboration
- Collaborate with auto repair influencers and DIY experts for co-branded content to increase reach.
- Establish B2B partnerships with car dealerships and repair shops to create referral programs.
4. Customer Relationship Management (CRM)
- Deploy a CRM system tailored for the automotive sector to manage customer queries, track sales trends, and create targeted marketing campaigns.
- Leverage CRM data to offer personalized promotions and deals on auto parts, encouraging repeat business.
5. Post-Purchase Support and Services
- Offer comprehensive post-purchase support, including installation assistance and warranty management.
- Implement a loyalty program to encourage repeat business and build long-term customer relationships.
6. Mobile and Omnichannel Sales
- Develop a mobile-friendly site and online catalog for easy ordering.
- Adopt an omnichannel strategy to provide a seamless shopping experience across various devices and platforms.
Scaling your Auto Parts Business
Select Diverse Inventory
To scale your auto parts dropshipping business effectively, consider expanding the number of SKUs (Stock Keeping Units) in your inventory. This means adding a broader selection of auto parts, from engine components to suspension systems and more.
By offering a wide range of products, you cater to the diverse needs of your audience. It not only boosts your average order value but also solidifies your position as a one-stop shop for auto parts.
Always stay tuned to market trends and customer preferences to make informed decisions on which SKUs to include.
Try Hybrid Dropshipping Model
Hybrid Dropshipping is well suited for Auto Parts ecommerce. It’s a modern e-commerce approach in which retailers maintain a mix of in-house inventory for certain products while also utilizing third-party suppliers who handle the storage and fulfillment of other products.
By using this model, you can sell in-demand and time sensitive auto parts products faster and better, thereby enhancing your rate of fulfillment and customer satisfaction.
Optimize Logistics Efficiency
In the automotive sector, optimizing your supply chain(logistics) is a critical component of scaling your Dropshipping business. To achieve this, consider partnering with reliable Third-Party Logistics (3PL) companies that specialize in auto parts distribution.
They possess the expertise to handle the specific requirements of automotive products. These can range from the fragile nature of certain components to the need for secure storage. Furthermore, pay close attention to inventory management. Implement just-in-time inventory practices to reduce storage costs and minimize the risk of holding obsolete parts.
Additionally, utilize advanced forecasting techniques to predict demand accurately, ensuring you have the right parts in stock when your customers need them.
Efficient handling of returns is also paramount in the auto parts industry. To address this, develop clear and customer-friendly return policies, and establish a system for inspecting returned items to ensure their quality.
This approach not only streamlines operations but also enhances customer satisfaction.
Leveraging Auto Part Dropshipping Automation Tools
Automotive Automation tools like Flxpoint seamlessly integrate multiple suppliers, offering pre-built connections to automotive parts suppliers. It serves as a “lookup tool” for those who want to scan their various suppliers for current pricing/inventory.
This simplifies supplier management and enables you to diversify your product range effortlessly. Automation tools also help with fulfillment metrics on marketplaces.
Additionally, these tools provide Product Information Management (PIM) functionality tailored for automotive businesses, enhancing your ability to manage complex product data. You can efficiently list and update products, saving time and ensuring accuracy.
Moreover, these automation tools can auto-route orders to the most profitable fulfillment center within your automotive fulfillment network. This optimization minimizes shipping costs and maximizes efficiency. You can also swiftly kit and bundle automotive products, creating value-added offerings that attract more customers.
All these features, including pre-built supplier integrations, equip your business for seamless growth in the competitive auto parts industry.
To sum up, the auto parts dropshipping industry is on the brink of substantial growth, presenting a massive market opportunity. To thrive in this competitive landscape, it’s essential to comprehend the distinctions between OEM and Independent Aftermarket parts.
Leveraging data standards like ACES and PIES is key for accuracy and efficiency. Additionally, optimizing your order fulfillment, including partnering with reliable 3PL companies, is crucial for scaling your Dropshipping business.
To streamline and scale operations, consider cutting-edge automotive automation software solutions. These automation platforms allow end to end automation of an auto parts retail business, optimizing product listing, order routing, inventory management, parts matching, invoices and more.
1 (n.d.). Automotive E-Commerce Market Size, Growth | Trends . Retrieved November 8, 2023, from https://www.fortunebusinessinsights.com/automotive-e-commerce-market-105728
2 (n.d.). 2023 Global Ecommerce Report: Automotive – BigCommerce. Retrieved November 8, 2023, from https://www.bigcommerce.com/blog/2023-automotive-report/
3 (2023, January 30). How Many Cars Are In The US?  – Zippia. Retrieved November 8, 2023, from https://www.zippia.com/advice/how-many-cars-in-the-us/
4 (2019, August 6). Proper Parts Pricing to Insure Profitability – ALLDATA. Retrieved November 8, 2023, from https://www.alldata.com/us/en/Proper-Parts-Pricing-to-Insure-Profitability
5 (n.d.). Bosch, BMW, Mileage & Power ADDER fuel injectors, NEW Parts. Retrieved November 8, 2023, from https://www.fiveomotorsport.com/bosch-oem-replacement-upgrade-bmw-vw/
6 (n.d.). About Dorman Products. Retrieved November 8, 2023, from https://www.dormanproducts.com/pages/corporate/about.aspx
7 (n.d.). Skunk2 Racing: Home. Retrieved November 8, 2023, from https://www.skunk2.com/
8 “Automotive Ecommerce Software: Everything Your Auto Business ….” https://www.bigcommerce.com/solutions/automotive/. Accessed 9 Nov. 2023.
9 “Automotive Ecommerce: How To Scale Your Vehicle and Parts ….” 28 Apr. 2023, https://www.shopify.com/enterprise/ecommerce-automotive. Accessed 9 Nov. 2023.
10 “Automotive Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) Parts.” https://www.amazon.com/b?ie=UTF8&node=24675388011. Accessed 9 Nov. 2023.
11 “The Full Guide On How To Sell Auto Parts On Amazon (Step by Step ….” https://platform.fynd.com/blog/sell-auto-parts-on-amazon. Accessed 9 Nov. 2023.
12 “eBay Guaranteed Fit.” https://pages.ebay.com/motors/ebay-guaranteed-fit/. Accessed 9 Nov. 2023.
13 (n.d.). Vehicle Configuration database (VCdb) – Auto Care Association. Retrieved November 9, 2023, from https://www.autocare.org/data-and-information/data-standards/databases/vehicle-configuration-database-vcdb