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2011 Online Retailers Study

The Human Touch: Despite ever-evolving technological strides, repair shops and techs prefer personal service when purchasing parts
Friday, February 17, 2012 - 01:00
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We may be in the midst of the digital age, but those buying aftermarket parts still prefer personal contact to the computer.

In the first Aftermarket Business World Online Retailers Study, shop owners and technicians gave us their thoughts on purchasing products through digital means. Despite the continued growth of technology across all industries, a whopping 64 percent reported they never buy aftermarket parts on the Internet, while 18 percent use online retailers 0-10 percent of the time.

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Convenience, ease of comparing part prices and options and availability topped the list of reasons as to why respondents did purchase online, but shipping costs and the potential to order the wrong part served as the biggest deterrents, results show.

And it remains unclear if these viewpoints are open to change any time soon. Sixty five percent do not know if they plan to increase their online purchasing presence going into 2012, while 18 percent anticipate more online buying, and 17 percent expect to do less. Also, respondents were nearly split almost down the middle as to whether online coupons, rebates, QR codes or other incentives would entice them to purchase more products online, with 56 percent saying these methods would not impact their habits.

Online product reviews to have an influence on purchase decisions, with more than one-third reporting they are very important when considering buying a product.

To reach more online buyers, it may be as simple as getting them into your brick and mortar store first. The most common way shop owners and technicians decide where to buy products online is by frequenting the websites of stores they already purchase from in person.

Continue reading for more insight about the online purchasing habits of this major customer segment for aftermarket distributors.

See full results here.

METHODOLOGY: The Aftermarket Business World Online Retailers Study was fielded to subscribers of the Service Repair and Certified Technician newsletters, produced by the editors of our sister publication, Motor Age.

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