In its bid to increase revenue from software and service sales, General Motors is launching an online parts store that will allow GM vehicle owners to purchase parts directly.
The automaker said Tuesday it was just one of many new digital offerings for car shoppers. These include digital purchase of accessories, over-the-air upgrades and subscriptions, and the ability to shop, purchase and finance EVs entirely online.
“We’re putting software and digital services at the core of every part of our business,” said Edward Kummer, GM’s chief digital officer. “The future of GM retail lies at the intersection of digital and physical e-commerce.”
Choose the right part
GM’s new online parts marketplace will provide Chevrolet, GMC, Buick and Cadillac owners with 45,000 repair and maintenance parts such as oil filters, engine and cab air filters, batteries, brake pads, accessory belts, coolant hoses and windshield wiper blades.
The online parts shop was live on Tuesday afternoon. The addresses of the websites are: parts.chevrolet.com, parts.gmc.com, parts.buick.com, parts.cadillac.com and parts.gmparts.com.
It will offer customers the convenience of online shopping and physical retailing in one place, GM said. Customers can choose home delivery or pick up their order at one of the 800 participating GM dealerships, where staff are available to answer questions.
But not so fast, said a Chevy dealer. He supports giving customers the convenience of e-commerce and the ability to research parts before they buy, but said there could be some “kinks to work out.”
“On the service side, I appreciate the offer for a customer to do research,” said Paul Zimmermann, partner at Matick Automotive, which owns Matick Chevrolet in Redford Township and Matick Toyota in Macomb, and has a vehicle specific needs… I shudder when I address a customer think who orders an oil filter and collects it from the dealer and we have to say that it is not the right one.”
Zimmermann said Matick Chevrolet will participate in GM’s new online parts marketplace to support car buyers’ growing interest in digital shopping. In fact, Matick has its own online parts shop that its customers use as a starting point for their research. He envisions GM’s store tying in with Matick’s existing site.
“Regardless of the industry, the more information you have is always a good thing,” said Zimmermann. “How much does that change for a customer? I think it’s a tool for them to research, but more people will still want access to an expert who knows what’s going on.”
GM said all parts customers buy through GM’s online store are eligible for Chevrolet, Cadillac, Buick and GMC rewards programs, which allow customers to earn points toward the purchase of parts, accessories, and more or certified service at participating retailers.
On January 10th, GM introduced My GM Rewards Card. The card has three tiers of membership – Silver, Gold and Platinum – which allow customers to level up their spending. Each tier unlocks higher point earnings and redemption caps. Gold and Platinum award members can now redeem points to purchase GM-certified used vehicles and their points do not expire.
Consumers have many options when purchasing parts, which can make the process confusing and intimidating, said GM spokesman Eric Tingwall. He added that many GM car owners are “passionate DIYers” who care deeply about the quality of the parts they use on their cars.
“There is also an ongoing problem with counterfeit parts being sold online through some third-party online retailers,” Tingwall said.
Purchasing through GM’s online store gives customers the peace of mind that they are receiving genuine ACDelco parts and genuine GM parts compatible with their vehicles.
“Our premium parts are engineered with exceptional quality to provide peace of mind for our customers,” said John Roth, GM’s global vice president of customer care and aftersales. “The launch of this trusted online sales channel extends that security to the parts purchasing experience.”
Tingwall added that the online store is a “great opportunity for GM and its dealers.”
“Like so many other forms of retail, buying auto parts is rapidly moving online,” Tingwall said. “GM plans to capitalize on the opportunity by offering customers a superior buying experience based on our unique ability to offer genuine equipment parts online, backed by the convenience and expertise of our dealers.”
GM projects that online sales of parts and accessories will account for a total addressable market of $40 billion by 2030 and expects significant revenue growth from its expanded e-commerce efforts.
GM started selling accessories online in 2015 and currently sells all of its 5,000 aftermarket products online.
This latest initiative builds on GM’s sales targets outlined at Investor Day in October. At the time, GM predicted it would generate $20 billion to $25 billion in annual software and services revenue from an estimated 30 million connected vehicles by the end of the decade.
GM also plans to offer parts, accessories, wirelessly delivered digital products and subscriptions through a single digital storefront. For example, customers can purchase upgrades like enhanced features for the hands-free driving system called Super Cruise. Or they can buy personalization themes for their car’s touchscreens.
GM is also expanding its platform for subscription services but isn’t offering details just yet, Tingwall said.
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Contact Jamie L. LaReau at 313-222-2149 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @jlareauan. continue reading General Motors and sign up for our cars newsletter. become a subscriber.