Eric Silcox wanted to attract parts buyers who don't "necessarily want to deal with a dealership."
So two years ago, the fixed operations director of Ed Morse Delray Toyota in Delray Beach, Fla., launched a website just for the dealership's stockroom.
Instead of using the dealership's traditional website branding, Silcox opted for a generic homepage banner and an inconspicuous web address: thetoyotapartsdepot.com.
Visitors can order parts from a catalog by a vehicle's year, make and model, and can buy factory or aftermarket parts through the online payments system PayPal.
This year, Silcox says, the site's sales have surpassed $20,000 a month. Online contacts also lead to wholesale and over-the-counter parts purchases from the dealership, he adds.
The website's domain name helps to reach parts buyers who might otherwise avoid franchised dealerships, such as small-business owners or do-it-yourself mechanics, Silcox says.
"They think the pricing wouldn't be competitive or that we wouldn't want to be competitive," Silcox told Fixed Ops Journal.
Several technology vendors, including SimplePart, TradeMotion, PartSites, OEConnection and RevolutionParts, help dealerships build, market and maintain parts websites and can automate some sales processes.