GM customers can buy auto parts directly from the new online marketplace
In its drive to increase revenue from the sale of software and services, General Motors is launching an online parts store that will give GM vehicle owners the ability to purchase parts directly.
The automaker said Tuesday it was just one of many new digital offerings available to car buyers. These include the purchase of accessories, over-the-air upgrades and digital subscriptions, as well as the ability to buy, buy and finance electric vehicles entirely online.
“We put digital software and services at the center 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 feature 45,000 repair and maintenance parts, such as oil filters, engine and cabin air filters, batteries, brake pads, timing belts, etc. accessories, coolant hoses and wiper blades, available to Chevrolet, GMC, Buick and Cadillac owners.
The online parts store had been online since Tuesday afternoon.
This will provide customers with the convenience of online shopping and physical retail in one place, GM said. Customers can choose home delivery or pick up their order at one of 800 participating GM dealerships, where staff are available to answer questions.
But not so fast, said a Chevy dealer. He is in favor of giving customers the convenience of e-commerce and the ability to search for parts before buying, but he said there may be “issues to be ironed out”.
“As far as service goes, I appreciate the offer for a customer to do research,” said Paul Zimmermann, partner of Matick Automotive, owner of Matick Chevrolet in Redford Township and Matick Toyota in Macomb. “Yet with the complexity of vehicles and what vehicle specifically needs… I shudder to think of a customer who orders an oil filter and they come and pick it up from the dealership and we have to say it’s not the right one .
Zimmermann said Matick Chevrolet will participate in GM’s new online parts marketplace to support growing interest in digital shopping among car shoppers. In fact, Matick has its own online parts store where its customers use it as a starting point for their research. He imagines that the GM store will be linked to the existing Matick site.
“The more information you have access to is always a good thing, regardless of industry,” Zimmermann said. “How much of a game-changer is that for a client? I think it’s a tool they can do research with, but more people will still want access to an expert on what’s going on what.
GM said all parts customers purchase through GM’s online store are eligible for the Chevrolet, Cadillac, Buick and GMC rewards programs, which allow customers to earn points that can be used to purchase parts, accessories or certified service at participating dealers.
On January 10, GM launched My GM Rewards Card. The card has three membership tiers – Silver, Gold and Platinum – where customers can level up as they spend. Each level unlocks higher point earnings and redemption caps. Gold and Platinum Rewards members can now redeem points for the purchase of GM Certified Pre-Owned vehicles and their points do not expire.
Consumers have a lot of options when buying parts, which can make the process confusing and intimidating, GM spokesman Eric Tingwall said. He added that many GM car owners are “ardent do-it-yourselfers” who pay particular attention to the quality of the parts they use on their cars.
“There is also an ongoing problem with counterfeit parts being sold online through certain third-party online retailers,” Tingwall said.
Purchasing from GM’s online store gives customers the assurance that they are getting genuine ACDelco parts and genuine GM parts that are compatible with their vehicles.
“Our premium parts are engineered with exceptional quality to provide reassurance to our customers,” John Roth, GM’s global vice president of customer service and aftermarket, said in a statement. “The launch of this trusted online sales channel extends that peace of mind to the parts buying experience.
Tingwall added that the online store will be a “great opportunity for GM and its dealers.”
“Like so many other forms of retail, auto parts shopping is moving quickly online,” Tingwall said. “GM plans to seize this opportunity by providing customers with a superior shopping experience based on our unique ability to offer original equipment parts online, backed by the convenience and expertise of our dealers.”
GM projects that online sales of parts and accessories will represent a total addressable market of $40 billion by 2030, and it expects significant revenue growth from its increased e-commerce effort.
GM launched online accessory sales in 2015 and currently sells all of its 5,000 accessory products online.
This latest move goes toward GM’s revenue goals outlined at Investor Day in October. At that time, GM projected that it would achieve annual software and services revenues of $20 billion to $25 billion from approximately 30 million connected vehicles by the end of the decade.
GM also plans to offer parts, accessories, live-delivered digital products and subscriptions through a single digital storefront. For example, customers will be able to purchase upgrades such as enhanced capabilities for its hands-free driving system called Super Cruise. Or they can purchase customization themes for their car’s touchscreens.
GM is also expanding its subscription services platform, but is not yet offering details, Tingwall said.
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