Digitalization, a 200 Percent Sales Increase StoryBy Alejandro Enríquez | Thu, 09/03/2020 - 09:31
Q: What trends have shaped the aftermarket sector in 2019?
A: MLD specializes in GM vehicles. We are ranked by the OEM as the No. 1 wholesale suppliers of spare parts in stock, customer service and quality. We have expanded our supplier base to premium brands, always looking for better quality. Part of our success is our 84-person team and our ability to supply spare parts for more recent models. As an OEM supplier, our market niche are vehicles aged 1 to 5 years. After that, they go into the true aftermarket. Within our market niche, we have had to innovate continuously. Today, we are already in the process of integrating spare parts for 2019 and 2020 models. For us, it has been a matter of innovation through product integration.
Q: What opportunities does the arrival of new brands represent for aftermarket companies?
A: GM is highly complex compared to any other brand. ACDelco, GM’s original equipment spare parts brand, has a broad offering, whereas other aftermarket brands like Bosch handle a single product line. We supply parts for Chevrolet vehicles from bumper to bumper. We are constantly integrating new part numbers into our catalog and one of our main strengths is having the spare parts even when the dealership does not. MLD handles an average of more than 11,000 SKUs and 25,000 on demand.
Q: What have been the results of your digitalization strategy?
A: Our e-commerce platform has brought great benefits, but these were greater for our customers. Through our platform, they have increased their sales and product lines and have shortened their response times.
Our platform shows stock availability, price, images, applications and shipping orders. Before, our customers used to take orders by phone, which was a waste of time. Product photos are really important as users’ trust increases when they can compare the photo to the product they need. In the first three months, sales of some of our product lines increased by 200 percent due to greater efficiency of an online operation compared to a phone call. In addition, as the system provides different alternatives, customers can choose a cheaper option and increase their sales accordingly.
Our platform became fully available in December 2017. We launched a beta version with 25 of our best customers in September. The platform can also provide an expenditure record and a record of shipping orders. Over the first month, 33 percent of our product orders were processed through the site. In two years, the figure has increased to 85 percent.
Q: What are the strategies to advance e-commerce among workshops and retail spare shops?
A: Many of our customers had their first e-commerce experience with us. While some were very excited about it, others were weary of the platform. However, when they realized what they were missing, they started to participate in the process. We implemented several strategies, such as offering sales discounts through the website and reward points. Today, many of the benefits we offer to our customers are online. For financing or discounts, for example, we require that at least 75 percent of their orders are online. Some of our customers already process all their orders online. This also gives our team more time to take on other responsibilities.
Our site was filled with so much valuable information that even some shops started to use it as a catalog. Our site drove so much traffic that it slowed down the service. Consequently, we created a user-only service to make it faster. Our distinctive offer is our specialization in GM vehicles, bumper to bumper. In addition, SKUs change constantly at GM. Through our platform, we update these while maintaining information on previous SKUs to make it easier for potential customers looking for a specific part.
Q: How has your partnership with Mercado Libre influenced your operations?
A: We operate the official stores for Bosch and ACDelco on Mercado Libre. In addition, we have our own site where we offer other products. To be an official store, these brands had to grant us that status on Mercado Libre, which helps us to appear first in online searches. Our store was the leader in terms of growth in the auto parts sector in 2019 and we are ranked fourth in Mercado Libre’s auto parts sector. We also trade virtual stocks from other companies on the platform. Mercado Libre has different levels of sellers: there are integrators, operators and regular sellers. We started as a regular seller but we are now considered an operator. As such, Mercado Libre connects you with other brands that want to sell their products through the site. Integrators boost automated sales.
MLD is a Mexican company founded in 1989 and focused on the wholesale of spare parts for GM vehicles. The company was a pioneer in e-commerce for auto parts and fostering digital inclusion for retail spare-parts stores