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How to Dropship Auto Parts and Accessories Successfully: An In-Depth Guide

Regina Pudovkina
Regina Pudovkina Author

Dropshipping has altered the way of running a business for the better. The ability to sell car parts online without any hustle of shipping and inventory storage makes automotive dropshipping so popular and appealing.

Although the automotive parts dropshipping has its specifics, the main idea of this business model is the same: you pass on the logistics tasks to the supplier while maintaining and expanding your eCommerce store.

In this guide, we’ll break down what auto parts dropshipping is, weigh up its pros and cons, and put together the list of the best spare parts for dropshipping. We’ll also explain how to build a dropshipping online store from scratch and avoid the mistakes a beginner can make.

Let’s dive right in!

What Is Auto Parts Dropshipping? (And How It Works)

The auto parts dropshipping business model involves selling spare parts and accessories without storing, packing, and shipping them on your own. 

The orders are fulfilled directly by the auto parts dropshipping suppliers, whereas sellers (dropshippers) control order processing and proper marketing.

The dropshipping business model

To better understand how it works, let’s take seat covers as an example of a product for dropshipping. The supplier’s price is “X”, and the seller decides to offer these seat covers at “Y”, price including desired profit margins, possible payment processing fees, shipping fees set by a distributor, and taxes. Depending on the selling platform, a dropshipper can be asked to pay listing or transaction fees (by the way, X-Cart doesn’t charge any transaction fees). When a customer buys seat covers, the distributor fulfills the order, and the dropshipper gets their profit from this sale.

However, the simplicity of the dropshipping model is deceptive.

Dropshippers do not just select products and make thousands of dollars in sales instantly and effortlessly. Just like with a traditional business model, running a dropshipping automotive business takes dedication and a well-thought strategy.

Still, dropshipping is a perfect way to start selling online due to lower financial risks and high flexibility in choosing products and reliable suppliers.

The Pros & Cons of Auto Parts Dropshipping

When it comes to deciding whether a dropshipping model suits you, it’s important to weigh up its strengths and weaknesses.

Dropshipping Pros:

  • No need to procure and store car parts and accessories

The huge advantage of a dropshipping business over a traditional online store is the ability to operate without having any inventory on hand. This benefit generates the other values of dropshipping and becomes the #1 reason why dropshipping is so attractive for business owners.

Expert Tip: Dropshipping can be an additional source of revenue for traditional eCommerce online stores if they want to sell more than they have in their own warehouses.

  • Low overhead costs

Unlike the brick-and-mortar store or even an automotive online store with its own warehouse, a dropshipping model helps you reduce the overhead costs. It frees the seller from warehousing expenses (rent, maintenance, and labor costs).

  • Ability to automate order management and fulfillment

Limited time and finances are two pain points for most new entrepreneurs. An automotive dropship business kills the two birds with one stone. Speaking of eCommerce automation, it is possible to speed up order fulfillment by synchronizing data exchange between the online store and warehouse distributor.

  • Flexibility of your product range

Not only can you work with one particular distributor, but also connect to as many suppliers as you need. Dropshipping business model is often associated with a wide array of various products available for sale.

Dropshipping Cons:

Despite a dropshipping business model having numerous pros, it also has some challenges. Before launching an auto parts dropshipping store, you should be aware of the following potential issues:

  • Lack of control over product quality and delivery times

Relying on suppliers inevitably entails order fulfillment risks. You don’t produce the products and don’t see what goes into the packs but have to handle possible customer concerns about incorrect, broken, or missing items.

In addition to product quality, you might face shipping issues such as  delays with order confirmation or delivery times. Indeed, these problems are also beyond your control. However, you take responsibility for the money the customers spend on your website.

  • Getting approved by dropshipping suppliers

This part of dropshipping might look challenging for beginners. Getting in touch with your potential dropshipping suppliers should be always preceded by preparation. To make a solid first impression, buy a domain name for your auto parts online store. In addition, the domain registration might include a free email service, so your personalized email address changes to “yourname@yourautopartsstore.com” which looks professional.

Another stage of preparation is learning information about the supplier. Before making a call or contacting the warehouse distributor via email, take a few moments to look through their website and see whether your question has already been answered.

  • Inventory shortage issues

It is stressful to realize that the product the customer has just ordered from your store is suddenly out-of-stock. eCommerce automation significantly eliminates product availability problems by regularly (and automatically!) updating the details on the inventory levels, however, this kind of situation might happen to any dropshipper.

Expert Tip: X-Cart has a specific Hidden Products add-on to reduce the risk of having unavailable items bought. As the name suggests, this tool automatically hides the products that are not in stock.

  • Fierce competition

The low barrier of entry is the main reason dropshipping is so popular among online retailers. It’s only logical that it sparks lots of competition in various niches; the automotive aftermarket is no exception. The automotive niche is fast-growing; to stay ahead of the pack, auto parts sellers should maintain healthy profit margins and choose the best-selling low-competition products.

How to Start Dropshipping Auto Parts with X-Cart

Since you’ve already narrowed the niche down to automotive aftermarket, your next steps are choosing the products, launching your website, and starting to sell. This auto parts dropshipping guide covers everything!

Examples of high-demand aftermarket products

Automotive communities and forums offer valuable insights into customer pain points and product ideas. Researching these platforms can be beneficial for businesses.

Later on, this knowledge can be used to highlight the value and necessity of your products, make up special offers with automotive product bundles, and better consult your customers.

Below, we share twenty sample non-seasonal aftermarket dropshipping products to choose from:

The 20 best auto parts to dropship

Finding car parts dropshipping suppliers

After defining the products, your next step is to find a reliable distributor that provides the vehicle parts and brands you’d like to sell on your website.

Important: To become a dealer in the United States, you must submit a form on a distributor’s website. For instance, Turn14 Distribution asks the applicants to provide data about their business structure, billing information, market focus, and other details. 

Once your account has been registered and approved, you get the API key to integrate the auto parts database with your online store.

Building an online dropshipping store with X-Cart

  1. Try a free demo: There is no better way of getting to know the platform than testing it with a dedicated solution advisor. With a free demo, you have a chance to try all the features required for dropshipping. In addition, X-Cart solution advisors can guide you through the nuances of running an automotive eCommerce business, answer any possible questions, and find the right solution for your dropshipping store.

As 100% automotive software, X-Cart knows for sure how to better launch and set up an auto parts dropshipping store.

From ready-made industry integrations and native automotive tools to custom features -we’ve taken into account everything you need!

  1. Set up integration(s) with auto parts suppliers: Enable the integration add-on(s) to synchronize your online store with the aftermarket warehouse distributors. After that, link your dealer account using the API key.
  2. Upload your first products: Delete demo products and upload the new items. You can do it manually, or enjoy the power of eCommerce automation and seamlessly import product titles, descriptions, fitments, tags, categories, etc. In fact, automation is one of the seven components to manage the auto parts catalog as effortlessly as possible.
  3. Work on website navigation: The dropshipping business model doesn’t limit the seller to a particular number of products or categories, so you need to present them in a user-friendly way. Make website navigation simple and clear with the three-clicks system. To reach a specific product page, the visitor should optimally click the three times: select a category → subcategory → product page. Anything beyond this number makes a product page hard to find.

Here is an example of the auto parts catalog based on the three-clicks system:

Category -> Subcategory -> Products
  1. Set up payment methods: This is essential to building an eCommerce store. In addition to online credit card payments, consider enabling some integrations with  BuyNowPayLater services to offer you car parts buyers personalized and flexible payment plans.
  2. Choose a design template: X-Cart offers a variety of built-in themes, including templates explicitly created for the automotive niche. The professional designers developed a variety of appealing, responsive, and user-friendly templates compatible with the automotive fitment search tools (also available in X-Cart by default!).
  3. Start marketing your online business: Using proper marketing tools from the beginning is essential to any dropshipping business. Take advantage of opportunities to upsell and crosssell automotive parts and accessories to generate more sales (turbo kits, seat covers + seat back organizer and others).
Crossell and Upsell

Frequently Asked Questions

Is dropshipping auto parts right for my business?

It depends on your business goals and resources. Aftermarket dropshipping is more like a small business with little investment, this type of online store is relatively easy to launch and maintain.

Should you wish to sell exclusive/custom automotive products and have more control over manufacturing, you’d better consider a traditional online business model.

How do the customers get tracking numbers if warehouse distributors fully handle shipping?

The warehouse distributor sends order information to the dropshipper, who forwards the tracking numbers to customers.

Is X-Cart good for auto parts dropshipping?

Absolutely! X-Cart is a good fit for any dropshipping niche; however it especially suits automotive businesses. X-Cart software is designed for aftermarket auto parts stores and offers built-in fitment tools and warehouse distributor integrations.

How can I find dropshipping suppliers on X-Cart?

At the moment, we have ready-made integrations with Turn14 Distribution and Torqued Distribution Warehouse as a Service. Both integrations are available for free on the X-Cart App Store, where a seller can find hundreds of eCommerce features.

What if X-Cart does not have an integration with the distributor I need?

If you don’t see the required supplier in the X-Cart App Store, our team can tailor a custom integration with the aftermarket distributor of your choice and connect it to your dropshipping store via API.

To Sum Up

When you start your business, consider all aspects and possible risks of your future project before a big jump. Dropshipping is not an exception.

To thrive and get ahead of other aftermarket dropshippers, you carefully price your products, seamlessly manage your auto parts catalog, provide clear shipping information and top-notch customer support. And X-Cart is here to help you unlock your eCommerce potential.

Plus, we provide additional onboarding training for our automotive clients, offering four hours of onboarding calls with a customer success manager and a technical support engineer absolutely for free.

Ready to Start Dropshipping Car Parts with X-Cart? 

Regina Pudovkina
Regina Pudovkina Content Marketing Copywriter

Regina is a copywriter at X-Cart who is passionate about writing, finding new story ideas, and everything eCommerce.

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