The Frothy Truck Aftermarket

It’s a great time to be in the light truck performance aftermarket, but disastrous if not done right. Not since 2006 have sales been so robust. If you made it through 2008-2011, you are probably in a great position to take advantage of broad long-term growth, but you better have an online presence with a clear connection between strategy and execution.

According to SEMA, the aftermarket for light-truck performance parts grew nine percent in 2014 and the online marketplace will expand 17 percent in 2015. That can only mean one thing, brick and mortar retailers are in decline, at least in terms of parts sales. This trend will accelerate according to the Hedges Company, which projects growth in online purchases of 14 to 18 percent through 2018. So even if the underlying market continues to expand, the brick and mortar segment is in sharp decline. Amazon, the largest online auto parts retailer, is a huge contributor to the challenge, and the opportunity. The online giant is expanding at 20 to 30 percent annually in the segment.

Consumers are fickle, and the proliferation of sales channels and information is only accelerating their tendencies. Consumers visit multiple website and most do not return. Forty-four percent of shoppers visit five or more sites before making a purchase. What drives shoppers in the first place and potentially brings them back? Content. In depth articles covering specific topics with key search terms enable organic search and promote engagement. Additionally, most consumers will use a mix of brand and category search terms, so a strong mix of SEO and paid search is most effective. But check back in a couple weeks because trends are constantly shifting.

Conclusions: Enforce your MAP (Minimum Advertised Price), understand and manage your sales channels, maintain a cutting edge website, deliver quality content, and get your products on Amazon.