Performance & Hotrod Business - February '15

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80 n Performance & Hotrod Business n February 2015 ONE MORE THING... I f you ever wondered how online shop- ping is affecting automotive aftermarket parts sales, UPS may have an answer. The automotive aftermarket is in the midst of an unparalleled shift in how retailers interact with their customers, a study shows. Once a safe-haven for brand- loyal relationships, immediate access to seemingly limitless research and shop- ping options has sig- nificantly changed the behavior of automotive aftermarket parts consumers. UPS's What's Driving the Automotive Parts Online Shopper study by comScore offers insights into the shopping experi- ence that consumers are looking for as they increasingly turn to e-commerce for their auto parts and accessories. "We identified five primary characteris- tics, or drivers, of online automotive parts shoppers. Understanding these expecta- tions and behaviors can help automotive aftermarket parts sellers deliver a more positive and profitable customer experi- ence," said Brian Littlefield, UPS automo- tive sector director of marketing, at the SEMA Show in Las Vegas. "As an indus- try, we need to raise the bar and provide automotive aftermarket customers with an exceptional buying experience. Many retailers are meeting these desires and benefiting from it, but there is additional progress the rest of the industry can make. That begins with truly understanding how customers are shopping." In March 2014, comScore asked 500 online automotive parts and accessory shoppers which factors led them to shop more on their computers, abandon shop- ping carts, and ship products to a store instead of their home. The study revealed five drivers of online shoppers: 1. Distinct There are two Distinct groups: Replace- ment and Upgrade buyers. Replacement buyers are highly focused and typically know what they're looking for. Upgrade buyers are more likely to be power shop- pers, who make nine online purchases in a typical three-month period. Of course, the majority of performance products shoppers can be categorized as Upgrade buyers. The study shows they are more likely to be millennials between the ages of 18-34, are tech-savvy and extremely comfortable shopping online, and are more open than Replacement buyers to purchasing from international retailers. 2. Decisive These Decisive shoppers rarely return items, but when they do, 76 percent prefer to return their online parts purchases to a store. 3. Dedicated They show dedication by waiting up to eight days to receive their online purchases. 4. Diligent UPS found automotive parts custom- ers are diligent, with 92 percent pursu- ing comparison shopping online and 75 percent leaving a website to pursue other purchasing options. 5. Diverse Finally, it's a diverse customer base, 40 percent of which are women. Studies show that, in general, online shopping channels are growing by double- digits, while brick and mortar channels are relatively flat. With consumers maintaining their vehi- cles more than 10 years on average—and the increasing availability of performance aftermarket products for all types of cars and trucks—the continued purchase of parts and accessories over the lifetime of vehicle ownership is expected to drive con- tinued online growth, Littlefield noted. Understanding Online Shoppers

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