SEMA News—January 2015

By Jon Wyly

Tell Me Again Why I Need to Be Internet Friendly…?

It is forecast that by 2025, 20% of global retailing will be conducted through online channels.”
—Frost & Sullivan Mega Trends Research.

Jon Wyly, CEO of the SEMA Data Co-op (SDC), has assembled a handpicked team of industry veterans to grow and take the co-op in exciting new directions, including the launch of SEMA Search.That’s why every manufacturer and reseller of consumer products needs to be paying attention today to where the Internet is going and learn how to leverage its substantial influence and power.

Now hear me out before you get your hackles up and declare me yet another of the “end of the brick-and-mortar” doomsayers. The statistics are there for anyone to read, and the fact-based opinions of some very sharp folks are telling us in no uncertain terms that consumers are continuing to gravitate to the Internet to research and purchase all sorts of goods. The automotive parts and accessories category is no exception.

Frost & Sullivan is forecasting that North American revenue from the online sale of auto parts and accessories will nearly quadruple in the next eight years to more than $16 billion. Some say that prediction is conservative. I agree.

Also, current information indicates that more than 75% of potential buyers of specialty automotive parts research on the Internet before buying. Not all buy online, but the information on the Internet is darn sure influencing what is being sold, if not where.

Seymour AdIf you are a manufacturer, you must have your product visible in the right places on the web, and you need to control how it is being represented. If you are a reseller, especially in brick and mortar, you need to at least be aware of what is going on with your online competitors. Remember, the number of people who are moving to the web for research leading to a purchase is increasing steadily year over year. To make matters worse, younger consumers who were raised with a keyboard in their hands are natural-born Internet shoppers. As they become more affluent, this will only serve to increase the speed of that trend.

So how do you position for success in a marketplace that is moving steadily to the convenience, affordability and ease of search, click, found?

Manufacturers can start with making sure that products are well represented in all the right places and that potential online resellers are given fair consideration as legitimate opportunities for sales growth. Put aside the all-too-common position of “guilty until proven innocent” and get to know these new customers. And, as I have mentioned so many times before, get your product data in order and make it available! If you don’t control the content and message, your customers will try to do it themselves while often creating confusion, inaccuracy and excessive returns in the process.

If you are a manufacturer, you must have your product visible in the right places on the web, and you need to control how it is being represented.

Resellers, on the other hand, need to be good partners with manufacturers. Let suppliers know that their product data is critical to successful sales growth, and urge them to make it available. Respect and adhere to manufacturers’ policies, diligently ensure accuracy and completeness of your product presentations and create an atmosphere of confidence and trust. Support brands in your stores for more reasons than who has the lowest price this week. Measure quality, stand behind the products you sell with pride and work closely with manufacturers and their reps to truly create a market. After all, when was the last time you met a businessman who credited his good fortune and long-term growth to selling the cheapest stuff he could get his hands on?

To learn more about how you can take control of your product data and manage it at the lowest possible cost, contact SEMA Data Co-op Director of Membership Jim Graven at or 888-958-6698 x4. 

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