With the ongoing supply chain backup, fleet owners are working harder than ever to buy the parts they need. Many have to shop outside of their normal network and turn to e-commerce.
Navigating the e-commerce world can be a little daunting, but these 10 tips will ensure you make a smart, efficient, and accurate purchase.
Do: Learn lead times
Some parts can take months to be in stock and even months to be delivered. It is important to plan ahead and ensure you order the part with this lead time in mind.
Do: Buy from a trusted source
Many industry professionals suggest fleet owners focus on an e-commerce company that has a solid reputation and a history of reliable products. Looking at the reviews should be your best friend when it comes to gauging the reliability of a company.
Do: Quality Control Checks
Double-check your order when it first arrives and make sure the part and shipping material match the OE supplier. If they do not match, you may have been sold an aftermarket replacement part.
Do: Train your staff
Ordering from e-commerce can be more difficult than ordering from a traditional distributor or even a local dealer. Training your staff will ensure they have the tools and knowledge of some tips and tricks to be able to order efficiently.
Do: Know how to contact customer support
Hard to find customer support contact information should be an immediate red flag for you. If you do find this information, keep it readily available in the event you need to use it to solve any issues that may arise.
Don’t: Buy only based on price
Remember, you get what you pay for. Lower prices often equal lower quality, it’s important to do your research on the part so you don’t overpay for something. It’s also important to realize that if it’s too good to be true, it probably is.
Don’t: Buy the first part you see
Doing your research will save you money, taking the time to shop around is the smart and most efficient way to shop for anything, not just trucking parts.
Don’t: Buy add-ons you don’t need
An e-commerce representative often tries to get you to buy add-ons and convince you they are needed. Speak with your technician to ensure you are ordering exactly what is needed. This will help save you money in the long run.
Don’t: Ignore return policies
VIN-specific harnesses, electrical items, and other special orders are a few of the items that are not able to be returned. Make sure you confirm with the seller what can and cannot be replaced.
Don’t: Burn Bridges
Even if you have a bad experience with e-commerce, it is never a good idea to burn a bridge, you never know when you’ll end up working with them again.
Buying parts online can be challenging, but with these tips and tricks, you can make sure you are making a smart, efficient, and accurate purchase. A lot of these tips can also be applied to non-trucking-related purchases.
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