Becoming an e-distributor

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Updated May 6, 2015

For those who did not attend, last week’s Heavy Duty Aftermarket Dialogue addressed a variety of important topics facing the industry.

Held preceding Heavy Duty Aftermarket Week (HDAW) 2014 in Las Vegas, the event featured five comprehensive educational presentations covering all areas of the aftermarket.

One of the most stirring sessions was a segment on e-commerce featuring David Seewack, CEO at FinditParts.com and Andy Schuurs, sales manager for eBay company WHI Solutions.

During their presentations, both Schuurs and Seewack discussed how their businesses have quickly entered and developed marketshare in the heavy-duty industry.

For a room filled with aftermarket suppliers and distributors, the success both presenters have found in the aftermarket proved to be a hot topic.

RELATED: Did you miss HDAW14? Check out our recap from Las Vegas

Distributors took advantage of the question and answer session following their presentations to express concerns with losing customers to the online marketplace. Their questions were swiftly met by a mixture of reassurance and foreboding from the presenters.

Schuurs noted that eBay’s heavy-duty parts business does not currently allow manufacturers to sell products directly off of factory assembly lines. The site is designed to help distributors and end-user customers to move obsolete or additional parts.

Seewack says his site also allows distributors to quickly track down and ship hard-to-find parts to appease customer requests, but is not exclusive to that type of business. FinditParts also sells aftermarket and OEM parts, commodity parts and shop equipment. The site currently has contracts with more than 100 aftermarket suppliers.

And while both sites provide distributors an opportunity to sell and buy products, the presenters acknowledge there is nothing to stop fleet maintenance professionals from logging in and doing the same. In a worldwide where downtime is simply unacceptable, online sales offer fleets (and their distributors) the opportunity to track down the parts they need instantaneously, the presenters say.

“Fleets don’t have to leave a facility anymore,” says Seewack. When a part is needed fleet technicians can access the Internet from their service bay and order it, he says. “Online sales will transform the way they are accustomed to doing business.”

Both presenters urged their audience to post and promote their products online. The Internet offers more than a regional customer base.

Schuurs noted that eBay customers who choose to sell their products internationally see online sales immediately spike by 10 percent.

With customers purchasing more and more commoditized items in large retail stores and online, Schuurs advised the brick-and-mortar distributors to look to make up those losses in the virtual marketplace.

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