How buying parts online should be

  22 December 2014

Before Christmas is upon us, I thought I’d share a fantastic retail experience I had buying some wheels and tyres for my car, just to show that it is possible to get it 100% right.

Before I start, I need to get a one thing out of the way. Given I was buying winter tyres (and some wheels to put them on) I know I’m in a tiny market segment, but the point is this could apply to any online car parts purchase.

So, having decided I needed the items concerned I checked two sites online, firstly my local franchised retailer for the brand of car concerned and secondly a specialist wheel supplier, both via Google.

The retailer’s website didn’t have any pointers to a parts department and the only information on the aftersales section of the site was to about MoTs, servicing and service plans. offers a simple drop-down menu system allowed me to very simply identify which wheels would fit my car – something that I was really concerned about.

This was pretty clever, although really just a simple (but comprehensive) database, but the upsell was really good.

Clearly Wheelbase knows that anyone buying wheels probably wants tyres too, it lists all the obvious tyre options with clear total pricing. But better than that, the pricing was better than doing the wheels, tyres and fitting separately (the wheels and tyres would arrived balanced and ready for me to fit).

Click to buy? Almost.

Not believing how simple it seemed to be I picked up the phone to double check everything. I needn’t have, all was fine, but it was reassuring to know there were competent staff at the end of phone.

The thing is, buying parts should be that simple. And for franchised retailers the upsell should be to offer a fitted price as well as a delivered price.

And don’t let online parts sales be taken over by independents in the same way that the majority of the tyre sales marker is now owned by fast-fits.

Tristan Young
Editorial Director
Auto Retail Network


imageTags: online, parts, sales

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