Brand Protection for The Automotive Parts Industry

Blogs | November 3, 2021

The Current State of the Automotive Industry

The effects of Covid-19 and the subsequent semiconductor chip shortage have taken hold of the automotive industry. According to Kelley Blue Book, vehicle inventories are at record lows, and the prices of new cars and trucks rose to an all-time high in September 2021. These higher prices have, in turn, led to one of the slowest sales months in the last decade. 47% of US consumers plan to keep their current car or truck longer than initially planned, according to The Atlantic. The consulting firm AlixPartners reported that the cost to automotive manufacturers in 2021 will be $110 billion in lost revenue.

Counterfeit Auto Parts Lower Brand Value

If it wasn’t bad enough that the auto industry is struggling through lost sales, the problem of fake auto parts entering the market is a significant problem in the industry. As consumers fix their older cars instead of buying new ones, they are looking to purchase parts via online platforms like Amazon to repair their vehicles. These weekend warriors are not necessarily looking for parts from OEM (original equipment manufacturers), making the purchasing process even more confusing.

As more products in the automotive industry are sold through online retailers, the risk of distribution from unlicensed vendors and parts counterfeiters has never been greater. Manufacturers are stuck between a rock and a hard place with the need to meet consumer demand by selling products online and ensuring that it has not opened the floodgates to everyone selling everything. Finding the balance of sustainable long-term growth is key. At POTOO, our brand protection team helps major automotive companies to protect their products from the growing problem of counterfeit parts. We protect automotive brands that sell accessories, performance and replacement parts, tools, equipment, and products such as antifreeze, coolant, exhaust fluid, paint, and motor oil.

Dropshipping Vehicle Parts Causes Consumer Confusion

Not all automotive e-commerce problems stem from fake or counterfeit car parts. Dropshipping genuine parts like brakes and brake pads from Pep Boys, NAPA, Advance Auto Parts, and AutoZone to a customer that made their purchase via an online marketplace like Walmart.com and eBay can lead to confusion and even put the customers’ safety at risk. When a consumer or mechanic buys an automotive part from one seller only to have it dropshipped from another company altogether, the chain of custody gets murky. This can become a big problem for your brand if a part needs to be returned or there is a recall.

Brand Protection in Uncertain Times

Toys, electronics, beauty, and grocery categories have all charted the path forward to help automotive businesses navigate the online landscape. Digital marketplace success will be measured by data (no surprise) that offers actionable insights into the efficacy of media, the importance of content, and seller behavior online. With 86% of online shoppers hesitant to buy a product with negative reviews, brand image is everything when navigating online marketplaces. Reviews, product images, descriptions, and compatibility details are especially important in auto listings since fraud can lead to real safety issues for consumers.

How POTOO’s Brand Protection Strategy Can Help:

  1. Understand that the automotive industry is transitioning to an e-commerce centered approach– shoppers’ expectations were already changing, the Covid-19 pandemic just accelerated that change.
  2. Look to other categories to determine what will happen in the automotive sector. As more automotive sales and car buying shifts online, the dealer networks and auto shops may look to make up some of those lost sales/margins by selling OEM parts on eBay or Amazon. Putting price compliance, content tracking, and brand protection policies in place now will be much more efficient than retroactively doing so when it’s too late.
  3. Realize that in an e-commerce world, sales and marketing are the same things. How your products are listed online reflects your brand image. Negative reviews for one of your products shipped incorrectly from a third-party source will reflect poorly on your brand – not the third-party seller.
  4. Perform test buys of your products to find incorrect product descriptions and packing, which can lead to damaged products and negative reviews. We report any problems to Amazon and other online platforms.
  5. Stop unauthorized dropshipping of your products by determining the sourcing and leaks in distribution.

Contact POTOO Today to Protect Your Automotive Parts Brand!

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