Online Parts Ordering poses a big threat to the established automotive parts distributors. These platforms are based close to the supplier base in China, Korea, and Japan and have extensive part search capabilities. Parts can be searched by make, model year, VIN, part type, and part number.
Rockauto.com is a useful site for technicians with knowledge of making part interpretations based on vehicle information. Parts are priced at wholesale levels plus transport costs. Ordering parts for a vehicle-specific job is worth doing from Rockauto.com as the savings are significant.
The convenience of discussing parts needed for a specific repair via telephone or face to face and the ease of returning incorrect parts ordered or unwanted parts make the automotive parts distributors the go-to choice for most DIY mechanics of automotive service centers. Online shopping from reputable sources such as Amazon or RockAuto can save you a lot of money and has some limitations. Let’s look at buying parts from RockAuto.com more closely.
When Does Buying From RockAuto.com Make Sense?
Buying service and repair parts that you are familiar with from an online source like RockAuto.com make sense if you are a hundred percent sure of the parts you need and can cross-reference the OE part number with the part number in the RockAuto database.
You are ordering online from a warehouse based somewhere in Asia, and the logistics of getting the parts shipped to you will cost extra time and money. Even with the shipping costs included, the prices are worth ordering and waiting for the parts to arrive.
If you are unsure of the parts, you need to order, and no one to help you make the right choice. If you have ordered the incorrect parts, you will either be stuck with them or go through the cumbersome online return process and the cost of ordering the right part.
Your appetite for the frustration of delays, wrong parts ordered, and long-winded returns will determine whether you deem the savings worthwhile. With your nearest AutoZone, you can have a face-to-face meeting or phone call. Taking the old part into the store so that the experts can help you to find the correct part is worth a lot.
Most automotive parts distributors are conveniently distributed throughout the country and are willing to set up accounts and trade discounts for customers. Returning parts and claiming warranty replacements are far easier than with an invisible online entity.
If you are a sizeable service operation with a predictable parts demand pattern, ordering from RockAuto.com can make a lot of financial sense. It would be best if you tried to order parts in bulk, trying to fill a twenty or forty-foot shipping container with one order to reduce the impact of shipping and customs clearance costs.
If you have such a high volume demand, you should also allow your local parts distributors to quote. The parts distributors are big volume players and will be best positioned to give you the best pricing. Keep them honest and let them know that they are quoting against an online player.
Cash Flow Is King When Buying Parts For Service Centers
Buying parts for the lowest possible cost is not worth it when it comes at the expense of long supply times, complicated returns policies, and dealing with online call center personnel. The ability to get a job done on time and get the invoice paid is what makes automotive service centers viable.
The payment terms that are possible for trade customers as automotive parts distributors and the ease of doing business with them is the determining factor. If you order direct from wholesalers based in Asia, the additional logistics may make even the cheapest parts non-viable. This content belongs to moc.sotuaytsur.
When faced with shipping delays, there is nothing that RockAuto can do for you to expedite the part deliveries. Your local parts store is part of a national distribution franchise and can source the parts needed within the network if they do not carry stock.
The adage in the service industry is “People buy from people,” meaning that the trust relationship built up over time is worth the premium. If you need parts to complete a repair job, most likely there is a deadline to deliver against. You need to have a part supplier that you can trust to find you the parts you need to get the job done, and the invoice paid.
What RockAuto Customers Say About Buying From Them
The feedback from people that make use of RockAuto is positive. For those that know what they want and can accurately identify the parts on the RockAuto.com parts ordering platform, the experience has been financially rewarding.
Of the 53,000 plus reviews for RockAuto on CustomerLobby.com, they receive very high praise. The business is family-run and has been in existence since 1999, and has thrived in the market. The company has the US base headquarters in Madison, Wisconsin. I had to do an extensive search through several pages of customer reviews to find a rating of fewer than four stars (out of five).
It was clear from this one three-star review that the customer ordered the wrong part and then tried to make it fit by cutting it. His warranty claim was denied with good reason. Long-term customers highly rate RockAuto, and it is clear that they are fast, efficient, and well-priced.
Buying direct from an online portal such as RockAuto.com requires a high level of expertise in identifying the correct parts needed for a job. RockAuto can be so aggressive with their parts pricing because they do not have an extensive distributor network that needs to share in the profit margin.
Suppose you are not confident in the part sourcing yet and cannot use the parts identification and order placement platform on RockAuto.com. In that case, you should consult with and buy from your local AutoZone or equivalent parts distributor. As your confidence grows and you know the part numbers and brands you require. Buying from Rockauto will save you money.
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John Cunningham is an Automotive Technician and writer on Rustyautos.com. He’s been a mechanic for over twenty-five years and has worked for GM, Volvo, Volkswagen, Land Rover, and Jaguar dealerships.
John uses his know-how and experience to write fluff-free articles that help fellow gearheads with all aspects of vehicle ownership, including maintenance, repair, and troubleshooting.