A lot of dealers selling parts online tell us that they’re thrilled by the orders that come in through their parts website, but… not so thrilled by the extra work.
It’s a good problem to have! But the parts department is already busy enough. Adding just 30 minutes of extra work to deal with online orders can add more stress to your day – but we’re here to help you try to avoid that!
Here are the top 3 tips your team can implement to cut down on the time it takes to fulfill orders.
- Make a Schedule
If you’re new to selling online, it might be a bit tricky at first to add eCommerce order fulfillment to the list of daily tasks you’re already handling. A great strategy in the early stages of launching your online store is to allocate a specific part of your day to just focus on taking care of your online orders – once you make it part of your routine, eCommerce will become a habit that’s much easier to keep.
To start, you might try a schedule like this:
8AM: Review & print orders, package orders, answer customer emails
9AM: Have packaged orders ready for carrier pickup
5PM: Review & print orders, answer customer emails
The schedule you set will depend on your dealership’s hours and size, so feel free to experiment and try a few variations until you find what works best.
For example, if your mornings tend to be hectic, then save the packaging until later in the day when things slow down. You could also have your team set up an assembly line, working together to package up all the day’s orders before leaving for the day.
Simplify where you can. Keep shipments for one specific carrier separate from the others, to make for easier pickups.
- Don’t Multitask
Multi-tasking might feel more productive, but science says otherwise. Juggling multiple tasks at once can actually reduce productivity and make you more prone to mistakes – that means running back and forth between the computer and the parts counter can actually slow you down!
Create a schedule and stick to it, like we talked about in tip #1. Setting aside a dedicated block of time and space will help you focus, so you can complete the job quicker and more accurately.
That’s not to say you can’t switch tasks when the parts counter is slow – using downtime to get ahead is always a great strategy, but make sure you’re prioritizing! Don’t get yourself into a situation where you’re constantly switching off between the counter and eCommerce multiple times in the same hour.
When you can, complete tasks in bulk. Doing the same task multiple times in a row will get you into the zone, helping you work faster.
Here’s an example of tasks you can complete in bulk:
- Go down the list of orders, reviewing and processing each one.
- Print all the order invoices and shipping labels.
- Box all the orders with an invoice. Place the shipping label beside the box.
- When all parts have a box, go down the line taping the boxes closed and affixing the shipping label.
- Train your Employees
Larger dealerships and auto groups often have dedicated eCommerce employees assigned to handle all online orders. This is great if you have the staffing numbers and order volume to create “Internet Parts Manager” and related roles, but it’s not necessary for everyone.
Even without a dedicated eCommerce employee, dealerships tend to appoint a “specialist” that knows their way around the platform better than anyone else. This person handles most or all of the parts website orders, in addition to their normal parts counter tasks.
But if your normal eCommerce worker is sick or on vacation, the rest of your staff can’t just let those orders stack up – someone needs to process and ship the orders in their place. Most or all of your parts staff should at least know the basics: not everyone needs to know the gritty details like how to adjust the pricing matrix or add new shipping rules, and that’s fine.
But at the very least, they should know how to process, fulfill, and ship an order!
Untrained workers can hurt your productivity and profitability:
- They take longer to process and ship orders
- They’re more likely to make mistakes
- They’re more likely to forget important steps
In a recent survey, 71% of our customers said they learned the RevolutionParts platform in less than a week, so it shouldn’t take long to get your team up to speed and ready to fill the gaps when your regular eCommerce person is absent.