Over the last decade, technology has been completely changing the way we do things in our day-to-day life. For one, the convenience of being able to order something stress-free online and have it in your hands the next day is game-changing. However, will we ever see this e-commerce convenience in the heavy-duty parts industry?
Recently we interviewed Kris Harrington, President of GenAlpha.
When it comes down to it, the trucking industry is a little behind when it comes to adopting e-commerce. There are a few reasons for this. First, manufacturers in the trucking industry are significantly tied to distribution, or dealer networks to sell their products (The Dealer Dilemma). That is a huge change that would need to take place. But also, the industry thought it had more time to figure this out and make these changes. However, with the world moving forward in this area at a very rapid pace, this change has to happen sooner.
Parts distributors and manufacturers are seeing this need. They know that this is a very necessary step that needs to take place if they want to keep up with o and to continue to sell parts. That is why most of these companies are starting to push for their e-commerce sites to start rolling out in the near future. Even though Covid-19 may have sped up this process a little bit, it was already in the works beforehand.
With this adjustment of adding an e-commerce platform, there comes some problems these heavy-duty parts companies need to face.
At the time mark 6:28, Kris said,
“The biggest problem is getting past the “Dealer-Dilemma”. That’s a reality, it’s something that every business needs to work with… Once that decision is made to move forward, data is the next significant challenge. If you think about items, images, videos, drawing, parts attributes, and the things that add searchability on a site, that adds up. But where the work really comes into place is making the description consumable for the customer.”
When building an e-commerce solution, cross-reference information, and technical data is crucial. Without that, individuals would have a very difficult time ordering parts, especially if you are an average joe. It comes down to ease of access, which is key to being successful on a digital platform. We know that the future of technical support is digital and will be accomplished from a handheld device. Not only that though, but it’ll also have to have quick shipping fulfillment of their orders, just as we see with other online a today.
With this huge change though, will e-commerce solutions and direct to consumer online distributors replace traditional distribution in the 2020s?
“It’s not going to be replaced, but rather it will work together as complements of each other. I think there is going to be space for both.”
The convenience of e-commerce may become the majority, but if you want the physical distribution, or if you want to be “hands-on” with the products, the traditional way will still play its role.
One thing is certain though. The digital era is coming, and it is here. If you want to stay relevant, you are going to have to have a digital strategy.
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