Without Digital Payments, Auto Parts Platforms Would Grind to a Halt

auto parts

Like many industries, auto parts retailing is seeing a digital transformation driven by sellers’ need for efficiency and buyers’ need for streamlined purchasing and regular updates on delivery status.

“In this industry today, there’s a lot of emailing spreadsheets or phone calls happening but there’s also quite a few procurement systems — RevolutionParts being one of them,” Andreas Ronneseth, co-founder and chief strategy officer at RevolutionParts, told PYMNTS.

RevolutionParts helps automotive original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and retailers sell parts by supplying them with parts cataloging and an eCommerce system that includes payments.

On June 13, the company announced the expansion of its Canadian offerings to include support for the French language.

Offering a Digital Link to End Consumers 

RevolutionParts has been in business in the United States since 2013 and currently serves 2,000 dealers. The company expanded into Canada in early 2021 in a beta mode and has now launched officially with full support for the Canadian dollar (CAD).

The company aims to be a digital link to the end consumer even in those cases in which the initial contact comes through another channel. For example, when the dealer receives a phone call, they can then email a link for the customer to pay online. That way, the buyer gets a tracked order, and the dealer can more easily communicate that the order has been shipped and other information.

About 85% of the parts sales that go through the platform go to consumers while the other 15% go to repair shops and other businesses.

For payments, RevolutionParts partners with various payment processors. It offers both credit card processing and the PayPal wallet, including its buy now, pay later (BNPL) options.

“[BNPL] is growing but I think it can grow more in our segment,” Ronneseth said. “A lot of those options need some more upfront messaging in the buyer experience, meaning you really have to tell people about that earlier than right at the point of sale in the online experience. So, it’s growing but I think it can grow more in our segment.”

Streamlining Operations for B2B Sales 

For business-to-business (B2B) sales, the platform has an invoice configuration option that enables business customers to pay by invoice, so they can place the order and be invoiced later.

“That percentage is growing because both we are focused more on extending into the B2B and tax exemption and all the things that go into a wholesale experience for customer pricing, etc.,” Ronneseth said. “So, that’s increasingly a focus of ours while we’re also expanding [business-to-consumer] in the U.S. and Canada.”

For dealers that offer charge accounts in which business customers can order parts up to a certain limit per month and then get terms to pay, RevolutionParts is looking at adding other options.

It’s looking at some digital innovations in which other companies manage those credit limits and invoices while dealers can get their money right away. These would allow dealers to focus on selling parts rather than managing charge accounts and would also do away with the need for them to handle invoices.

“So, that’s definitely an area that we’re looking at as an enhancement to really streamline operations more,” Ronneseth said. “Especially now, labor’s really at a premium, just in terms of finding people, finding enough people and holding onto the people you have. So, we see demand for having less manual work, and all of those things like invoicing create more manual work.”