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Groupe PSA

Cleared £40,000 worth of ex-stock in one week

Selling ex-stock parts to thousands of customers around the globe

DATE

2014

COMPANY

Groupe PSA

INDUSTRY

Car Parts

Introduction

Groupe PSA is the second largest car manufacturer in Europe. It is present in 160 countries and possesses 16 production sites across the world. It is responsible for brands such as Peugeot Citroen and Vauxhall. They supplied all the parts and customer support to the largest dealership in the area.

Sold all parts

I sold every single part. All 900+. For the money I wanted. £40,000. In 7 days.

Designed custom branding

Designed branding for packaging so each part arrived a bit like birchbox, giving a wow factor. With a bow. Each customer felt like it was a birthday present.

Designed parts system

Designed system to fetch comprehensive parts data from Peugeot and parts suppliers websites.

Optimised listings

Created fully optimised and detailed adverts with full parts information to beat the competition and the search engines.

Situation

I saw an opportunity to help Groupe PSA and the dealership out by clearing their stock.

Due to my previous online sales. Group PSA reached out to me. After a discussion I discovered a local dealer they had a hand with running had an opportunity. I received the head of the parts department details and set out to contact them. The parts department guy told me they had literally 900+ parts sitting around doing nothing. They had no use for these parts anymore.

He was tasked with trying to get rid of them, but he failed miserably. I was his saviour.

I had to convince them to let me take control Peugeot weren’t just going to let me have these parts for free. If I was going to have any say in the matter I needed to use all my negotiation and sales tactics to acquire these parts so it was worth it for both parties.

900+ parts takes up a lot of space.

My decision whether to take the task on, would be influenced by the amount of space these parts would take up. It meant money and time would have to be smartly and heavily invested.

I acquired the parts for the right price

I priced up all the parts, leaving a good margin for me and made a deal to acquire the parts. Based on the fact it was a gamble seeing as Peugeot could not get rid of the stock themselves.

I had been able to acquire £40,000 parts for a little over £700. The risk was however that the parts would not sell and you would also be stuck storing them. As the saying goes, without risk there is no reward.

Challenges

900 parts is a lot. A hell of a lot. I needed to figure out a way to shift these quickly. So they weren’t rotting away and I could then focus in another direction. Or better still, continue this path again with someone else

Organising the parts would be a challenge.
A list of all parts would have to be made first. Only info I had were physical parts numbers featured on the part itself.

Parts needed to be labelled & shelved correctly.
If a customer wants a part, you need to know where it is.

Advertising is expensive.
I had to come up with a way to market the parts and get them in front of buyers quickly.

– Creating great photographs to stand out would be a challenge.

– Standing out in the marketplaces and being able to compete with the big boys would be a challenge.

– Having great looking products and adverts that blows people away but cost effective packaging would be a challenge.

– Categorising thousands of parts, shelving them, managing the sales and getting them shipped out on time would be a challenge.

– Dealing with customer complaints would be a challenge.

Actions

– Got parts delivered to a warehouse I set up. Installed shelving. Made database of all parts and labelled them.

– Created a photography studio, took 20 photos and videos of every part on a coloured background.

– Created deal with packaging company to buy eco friendly packaging at low prices.

– Designed branding for packaging so each part arrived a bit like birchbox, giving a wow factor. With a bow. Each customer felt like it was a birthday present.

– Designed system to fetch comprehensive parts data from Peugeot and parts suppliers websites.

– Uploaded 900 listings to ebay in a week. To save advertising money. Economies of scale.

– Created detailed adverts with full parts information to beat the competition. Free delivery. Good returns etc.

– Reached out to thousands of garages in the United Kingdom to see if they wanted to buy any of the parts. using cold calls and emails.

– Got Parcelforce to give me a dirt cheap contract. They were nearly losing money on each shipment!

Pricing up the parts

I went to where the parts were stored and someone showed me the parts. I then made a list of all the inventory. The company who was storing them had also made a list with parts numbers, but it was critical I double checked and got all the parts numbers myself. There were 900 parts in total.

This took all day easily. Many hours were spent going through the parts.

I then priced up all of the parts compared to the official Peugeot prices and also the prices that people were actually paying for them on independent online marketplaces. 

There must have been about £45,000 worth of parts. Some including huge bodywork pieces, servicing parts, radiators, alternators. Everything you could imagine.

I knew the value of them was significant, however the arts might never sell. They would take a lot of room to store. They would take a lot to package and cost a lot to deliver too. So the profit margins wouldn’t be what the contact thought they would be.

I then made them an offer and ended up being able to buy the £45,00 worth of parts for just £700.

I then spent a whole day transporting them and delivering them to another premises I had.

Shelving

New commercial shelving had to be installed in our warehouse. The shelving was huge. All of the parts would then need to be placed upon these shelving units. I purchased this shelving for around £200. But really it was worth about £900 second hand. I got it at the right price online from someone who was desperate to get rid of them. The new prices would be way more.

Labelling system

Created a new shelving & parts numbering system and uploaded all the information on a parts database. This is so we would know exactly which parts were which and where the hell it was located on the shelves.

Added new labels onto every single part. Double checking the parts numbers against the official Peugeot parts numbers.

Valuing parts

Every part was valued according to the market values. This value was inputted in the spreadsheet so we knew roughly what price to advertise them individually.

Some parts were from different manufacturers. So I had to utilise lots of different vehicle software packages to see which parts numbers related to which vehicles. Online searches also had to be completed to double check. But I later came up with a far better way. 

Organising parts for shelving

Every part was shelved in accordance with the category and size to maximise shelf space. Whenever a part was sold, you simply looked at the part/inventory number that we added to each advert, this would tell you where the part was on the shelf.

Then the part was easily removed and packaged.

Creating a colourful photo studio

I created a method to photograph the parts in a fun and colourful way. Most sellers online would only use a white background. And have the part being displayed. Or some sellers would have their logos all over the background and would not bother to clean the parts. They would place parts on what is effectively a metal “bench” and then take photos using a terrible camera, where the picture may be blurry, or they might only show off 1 or 2 images.

I created a full on photo studio, that was extremely professional and would help us stand out.

I built a photography setup, whereby the floor and wall background would feature separate colours. So behind the part you could have a hot pink and underneath the part you could have a blue. Any colour you wanted.

The colours were built by having huge pieces of plywood painted so it kept a smooth effect. When taking the photos you couldn’t tell the parts were sitting on top of a piece of strong wood material. It gave the appearance of sitting on a professional photography paper.

Plywood had to be used as some parts were so heavy, it would damage any other material, especially paper. Curtain like materials would get creased too easily too.

Photography lighting

I also installed a full photography lighting setup, so the parts did not have any shadows on the photos. Showing off their beauty and so customers could see every angle and part number.

Photography camera

I also purchased one of the best performing cameras on the market under daylight conditions. So that the parts looked like they had been taken by someone professional. Again this made the adverts stand out. No one else would take photos to this level.

Coloured backgrounds improved the number of click throughs:

The multi-coloured backgrounds helped the adverts to stand out because everyone else used white space. Your eye would immediately be drawn to my colourful background. Hot pink / green especially worked well. It made the parts look more valuable than what they would appear in real life too.

Researching compatible parts numbers

The parts we had were official Peugeot / Citroen / Alfa Romeo. In the trade they are known as OEM or “Original Original Equipment Manufacturer” parts. These parts are those which are fitted to a car when the vehicle is brand new. They are the same parts used in the huge factories Peugeot might have for example.

Each part comes with a unique OEM parts number. Peugeot has their own numbering system as do many other manufacturers out there.

You also get aftermarket parts. These are designed to be fitted to cars as a cheap substitute for OEM parts, these might also be called replacement or pattern parts. These aftermarket parts are made by other manufacturers in different factories, they use their own numbering systems.

An OEM part might have about 40 compatible aftermarket companies producing third-party copies of it.

An OEM part might also have other OEM parts numbers which would be a different number, but the part would still be compatible.

Example of parts numbering details

Let’s take a look at Peugeot Braking Disc as an example.

The official part number for this would be 

PEUGEOT: 17336

But then you have other compatible OEM parts numbers and compatible OEM manufacturers. For this specific part 17336 they might be as follows: 

CITROËN – PEUGEOT OE: 1613191380

CITROËN – PEUGEOT OE: 1618890480

CITROËN – PEUGEOT OE: 1629058880

CITROËN OE: 4246.W1

CITROËN OE: 4249.16

CITROËN – PEUGEOT OE: 424983

CITROËN – PEUGEOT OE: 4249G1

CITROËN – PEUGEOT OE: E169141

OPEL – VAUXHALL OE: 3556159

OPEL OE: 3637225

PEUGEOT OE: 4246.W7

PEUGEOT OE: 4249.15

A total of 12 alternative OEM parts numbers for the exact same part design. There is no difference whatsoever between these products.

Then you have the aftermarket parts which have tonnes more parts numbers. Let’s write them down for this same example:

Aftermarket parts numbers

ATE: 24.0122-0194.1

CIFAM: 800-555C

DON: PCD10142

FEBI BILSTEIN: 21120

FREMAX: BD-4750

FTE: BS5240

JURID: 562128J

LEMFÖRDER: 30879 01

LPR: P1002V

MAPCO: 15310

METZGER: 6110023

MEYLE: 11-15 521 0017

MINTEX: MDC1491

NK: 201929

OPTIMAL: BS-6020

PAGID: 50364

REMSA: 6603.10

ROADHOUSE: 6603.10

SWAG: 62 92 1120

TEXTAR: 92111500

TRISCAN: 8120 28114

TRW: DF4184

VAICO: V42-80014

VALEO: 186695

A total of 24 compatible parts numbers are associated with this example. Meaning there are 24 parts numbers that would have to be researched and logged into a system.

Researching compatible vehicles

Each part also can only be fitted to specific vehicles. These vehicles must meet an exact engine size, year, model, etc.

I had to research every single compatible vehicle for every part also, so in this example the compatible vehicles might look like the following:

Suitable cars example

This is a summarised version of the compatible vehicles.

  • PEUGEOT 207 SW 1.4, Year of Construction 06.2007 – …, 1360 ccm, 74 PS
  • Berlingo / Berlingo First I (MF, GJK, GFK) (22 – 110 PS, 07.1996 – 12.2011 MY)
  • Berlingo / Berlingo First I Van (M) (37 – 110 PS, 07.1996 – 12.2011 MY)
  • C-Elysée Saloon (72 – 115 PS, 11.2012 – … MY)
  • C2 Hatchback (68 – 122 PS, 09.2003 – … MY)
  • C2 Enterprise (JG) (68 PS, 04.2009 – … MY)
  • C3 I Hatchback (FC, FN) (82 – 110 PS, 02.2002 – … MY)
  • C3 II (SC) (60 – 120 PS, 11.2009 – … MY)
  • C3 Picasso (90 – 114 PS, 02.2009 – … MY)
  • C3 Pluriel (68 – 109 PS, 05.2003 – … MY)
  • C4 II Cactus (75 – 110 PS, 09.2014 – … MY)
  • C4 Coupe (88 – 109 PS, 11.2004 – 07.2011 MY)
  • C4 I Hatchback (88 – 120 PS, 11.2004 – 07.2011 MY)
  • C4 II Hatchback (92 – 110 PS, 11.2009 – … MY)
  • C5 I Hatchback (115 PS, 03.2001 – 08.2004 MY)
  • C5 II Hatchback (109 – 125 PS, 09.2004 – … MY)
  • DS3 Hatchback (68 – 165 PS, 11.2009 – 07.2015 MY)
  • DS3 Convertible (82 – 207 PS, 01.2013 – 07.2015 MY)
  • DS4 Hatchback (92 – 120 PS, 04.2011 – 07.2015 MY)
  • Xsara Hatchback (N1) (57 – 109 PS, 04.1997 – 03.2005 MY)
  • Xsara Estate (N2) (68 – 109 PS, 02.1999 – 08.2005 MY)
  • Xsara Coupe (N0) (68 – 109 PS, 02.1998 – 03.2005 MY)
  • Xsara Picasso (N68) (88 – 136 PS, 12.1999 – … MY)
  • 1007 Hatchback (68 – 109 PS, 04.2005 – … MY)
  • 2008 Estate (CU_) (68 – 130 PS, 03.2013 – … MY)
  • 206 CC (2D) (109 – 136 PS, 09.2000 – … MY)
  • 206 Hatchback (2A/C) (88 – 136 PS, 04.1999 – … MY)
  • 206 Saloon (109 PS, 03.2007 – … MY)
  • 206 SW (2E/K) (88 – 136 PS, 07.2002 – … MY)
  • 207 Hatchback (68 – 98 PS, 02.2006 – … MY)
  • 207 Saloon (73 – 82 PS, 12.2007 – … MY)
  • 207 SW (74 – 92 PS, 06.2007 – … MY)
  • 207 Van (WA, WC) (68 – 90 PS, 04.2007 – … MY)
  • 208 I Hatchback (CA_, CC_) (68 – 208 PS, 03.2012 – … MY)
  • 301 Saloon (72 – 115 PS, 11.2012 – … MY)
  • 307 Hatchback (3A/C) (68 – 110 PS, 08.2000 – … MY)
  • 307 Estate (3E) (68 – 88 PS, 03.2002 – … MY)
  • 307 SW (3H) (75 – 88 PS, 04.2002 – … MY)
  • Partner I Van (34 – 109 PS, 04.1996 – 12.2015 MY)
  • Partner I Combispace (38 – 109 PS, 06.1996 – 12.2015 MY)

Creating a system to automate researching the parts compatibility process

I talked to nearly every developer out there overseas to find someone that could work with me to automate the parts researching. Manually copying and pasting thousands of parts numbers and uploading them was ludicrous.

I only found 3 people who had prior experience of doing this. Those who could actually do it the correct way. I got them on board and we went to work.

My little developer had great knowledge of ebay and amazon. We created a system that would take scan all the relevant information from parts websites and automotive software and display it in a formatted spreadsheet. Ready for uploading to either ebay or amazon. The list contained every compatible single part number, part manufacturer and vehicle part for the 700+ parts I had on shelves.

Only the larger companies like EuroCarParts had a system similar to this. Whereby they display all relevant info on a part advert in a formatted way.

So every single part advert I put up for sale would have a greater chance of getting a sale over the competition.

Selling car parts online requires this above information

In order to generate any views or appear in any search results when people are looking to buy a car part online. Each advert you upload should really feature all of the compatible parts and vehicle information I have explained above.

This is for the SEO algorithms of each online marketplace. 

Ebay and amazon have no built in way to produce this information, it must all be entered manually. Or you can upload a CSV file, which is a fancy spreadsheet. Containing thousands of parts if necessary.

The online marketplaces scan your listings and if they see this relevant information, they will ensure your parts are placed in the correct categories and sections of the website.

So if someone has inputted their REG, and the site knows they have a Peugeot 307.

The list of search results will contain all of the parts compatible with the users vehicle. Some websites even have highlighted text and bold features to make it easy for the user to understand that the part they are looking at is in fact compatible with their vehicle.

So in some instances, for just one parts advert, you will be appearing in hundreds of different searches due to the different parts numbers, compatible vehicles and other searches users might enter.

Also if a user manually searches for “Brake Pads 307”, or by manually entering a part number.

Having the relevant information embedded into each of your adverts makes it easier for the website to scan the data and place your advert above anyone else’s advert.

It also makes it clear to someone when they are visiting your pages that the part is compatible. They can see all the compatible parts numbers.

Creating a system to automate researching the parts compatibility process

I talked to nearly every developer out there overseas to find someone that could work with me to automate the parts researching. Manually copying and pasting thousands of parts numbers and uploading them was ludicrous.

I only found 3 people who had prior experience of doing this. Those who could actually do it the correct way. I got them on board and we went to work.

My little developer had great knowledge of ebay and amazon. We created a system that would take scan all the relevant information from parts websites and automotive software and display it in a formatted spreadsheet. Ready for uploading to either ebay or amazon. The list contained every compatible single part number, part manufacturer and vehicle part for the 700+ parts I had on shelves.

Only the larger companies like EuroCarParts had a system similar to this. Whereby they display all relevant info on a part advert in a formatted way.

So every single part advert I put up for sale would have a greater chance of getting a sale over the competition.

Improved search results and sales through parts data

Luckily the competition for the parts I physically had in stock on the shelves had virtually no knowledge of this. Their online listings were horrible. Therefore they had no chance of selling any of their parts. Their parts could be online forever and only by chance would they sell anything.

I, on the other hand, had a distinct advantage.

Due to my technical knowledge of the parts and vehicle data. My listings would be able to out-perform anyone who had the same parts as me. And that is certainly what happened.

Whilst other sellers trying to flog their parts, still had listings that had gone un-sold, due to their poor marketing. I was reaping the benefits of doing things in an intelligent way.

It was amazing. Something I thought of, then put into practice actually gave me better results than I anticipated.

Parts researching system could have future use

I had created an automated parts researching system which meant if I ever got a hold of any other parts. From anywhere. I would be able to compete on a technical and sales front with those generating tonnes of sales per day.

I kept this in mind. My software could be used for any part ever in the future.

Got an incredible deal with ParcelForce for delivering parts

Sending parts quickly and cheaply, making sure the customer knows where they are and that they don’t get damaged was a priority.

I played the couriers against each other to get the best price, but put it in a way that I was looking for someone who had the best customer service.

They saw my vision, the 700 parts were just a starting block.

After getting in touch with the CEO of DPD directly, he made sure to get me on his list of customers. Usually you would need to be sending thousands to be able to get lesser prices from DPD. I could also take my parts straight to the depot if I wanted. DPD although they had advanced technology, I felt the price could be beaten.

So I played them against ParcelForce.

 

ParcelForce ended up giving me a stupidly good deal. Which meant I could send any item up to 30kg for the price of a 1kg item.

What would normally cost anyone £25 to send. Would only cost me £5 at a fixed rate.

Say over 400 parts.

That’s an additional £10,000 in profit.

Just for using a bit of intelligence and making a phone call or two.

I could even take the parts straight to the ParcelForce depot. They would come and unload the parts out the back of the truck. No queuing or waiting times. They worked with me directly. I knew the correct times in the day to go there too. So everyone benefited.

This contract would not be available to people normally. The price was too low for Parcelforce to make money with low amounts of parts.

Increasing conversions: Design of online adverts

Most sellers had a boring listing. You didn’t know who was behind the company, why they were selling the parts. You couldn’t trust them either. Many of my competition for the same parts were unprofessional.

I knew I could do better.

In my adverts, I used some software to design the listings so it looked exactly like an easy to use website. Very clean with the information displayed clearly. Using the same bright colours as in the photos.

I broke down exactly what a customer would get. The delivery, how an item would be packaged. The guarantees they would receive.

This all helped to produce a trustworthy and professional image.

Increasing conversions: Selling my story

In each listing I also uploaded a photograph of myself. To let potential buyers know that I was the person responsible for ensuring the part would reach them safely.

I also wrote a little story about myself next to my photograph, so people could buy into me. They could see where their money was going. They could see my vision and they knew they were buying into a real thing, an actual human being, rather than a blank space. Some people were blown away by my story, they had never experienced anything like it before.

All of this was done just to sell car parts.

Increasing conversions: Improving selling points of parts

I basically copied the best companies in the world in terms of customer service. Zappos and Amazon. With a sprinkle of EuroCarParts in there.

So instead of trying to cheap-skate and sell everything with no guarantees and trying to avoid complaints. I went the opposite way. I decided we should offer more with each product in the hope that it will make us more money in the long term.

This is because I felt if the selling point was awful to begin with, you won’t even get any sale. It doesn’t matter how much profit you can potentially make, if you never even get the sale because the customer is not engaged and doesn’t trust you.

The improvements I made were as follows:

Delivery speed: I made sure all parts would reach the customer the next day.

Guarantees: Each part came with a 1 year guarantee. They could replace/refund if they wanted. No one else offered anything close to this.

Packaging: I made sure to use beautiful environmentally friendly packaging which sold my story. This was showcased on the adverts to get people to buy too.

Dispatch speed: Every part was sent out the same day the order came in. No one else did this either.

All the above made it so that people would buy from me, rather than the competition.

Increasing conversions: Increasing Prices

Instead of competing with the bottom of the barrel. Under-cutting everyone. I tried to actually be one of the most expensive sellers out there.

I backed this higher price up by the other benefits I was offering with the parts.

It worked.

Despite the fact I was more expensive. People were buying from me rather than the other sellers out there.

This was because the only other option buyers had was me or an official Peugeot dealership. They were forced to pay a premium from me, or they would have to pay even more from a manufacturer directly.

But because the parts were quite valuable, buyers seemed to buy from me because they didn’t trust the other sellers as much. I asked them. This made sense. They also felt that the time they would save from buying from me due to delivery / not messing around due to wrong parts, would be worth it in the end.

Selling things at a higher price is a good way to get people to question why you are more expensive. And as long as the value is there, people will buy.

No point in being a busy fool.

Ensuring parts weren’t damaged when delivering

This was a major problem with some parts. One time we sent a headlight worth £700. Due to the courier throwing it around, the end of the headlamp, a plastic bit broke off. Thus this £700 was lost. The sale was lost as the buyer sent it back. It would also mean that this part could not be re-sold in the same condition.

The reason this happened is because I tried to use the official packaging the factory used when delivering items from the factory to the dealerships. Purpose made boxes fitting exactly to each part.

But clearly this wasn’t good enough, so I made improvements.

I did a deal with one of the biggest packaging suppliers in the area Macfarlane Group UK Ltd, to provide us with the best in class packaging materials, perfectly suited to all the car parts.

Usually Macfarlane wouldn’t consider speaking to small people like me. But I convinced their head of sales, an account manager person, someone called Emma to work with me. This meant that I could collect any items they had right from their depot, or get it delivered, whenever I wanted.

Quantity was not an issue. But the price was also right.

So no matter the size of the box or item. This packaging would work and it would be quick.

Each product I sent out was packaged in a way that it made every single customer feel like they were receiving a birthday / Christmas gift. The boxes were covered in brown paper, as you’d see in a traditional Christmas gift.

On the inside, parts were cushioned with super strong brown paper, bubble wrap paper alternative. Parts were also wrapped in kraft paper. And had a bow tied around them. With a thank-you note inside and a TO: / FROM: card attached. So they felt like they were really receiving a personal gift.

This worked a lot.

  1. It prevented items from getting damaged.
  2. It prevented customers from complaining
  3. It increased return customers. They came back to purchase more.
  4. It increased recommendations & referrals from customers.
  5. It actually increased profits as these paper alternatives were acquired at a good price and it was quicker to package items. It also eliminated any problems.
  6. It made people think items were more valuable. 
  7. It built trust with customers.

Dealing with customer complaints

Unfortunately there is not a lot you can do if someone wants to return an item and get a refund when selling on online marketplaces. The buyer has all the power. Even if an item returns damaged you must give a full refund. This is because it cannot be proven that the buyer damaged the item.

If someone complained or wanted to return something, the only thing you could do is accept it and write back to them in a polite manner and make it as easy as possible for them.

 

Sometimes it will even be the buyer’s fault where they have ordered the wrong item because they didn’t check it was compatible first.

If someone is returning an item, it is unlikely that they will buy from you again so there is no point in trying to win them over. There are also plenty more people out there that will buy from you multiple times, so it is just a waste of time and energy trying to convince or convert those who want to get a refund.

When someone returned an item. I would make sure I send out my own courier and that I pay for return delivery. So that it eliminates the chance of an item being returned with a courier that I can’t deal with. Such as a myhermes. Where I would have to travel ages to collect it. Or the parcel would go missing or delivery attempts would fail.

Sometimes buyers would also cheat and steal all your packaging and return items with barely any protection. Electing to keep all the expensive packaging you enclose. There is nothing you can do about this. Despite protesting that the buyer didn’t return the entire item.

You have to count it as a loss.

Luckily the total losses made up for the increased marketing spiel in the adverts and the increased sales.

The buyers who generally returned items tended to be those who had an attitude or who would moan. So it wouldn’t even be worth contacting them. You would just have to deal with them through the systems of the marketplace. As some people are just not decent or nice. They don’t care if they want to ruin your business. It is better to get the marketplaces to handle them through the proper means.

Results

I sold every single part. All 900+. For the money I wanted. £40,000. In 7 days. But every day was long and hard. 16 hour easily, non-stop.

I started off by selling all parts individually, for prices that made huge profits. However some parts didn’t sell. I tried again, reducing the prices, using auctions instead to get people interested. It was a big gamble but it paid off. Nearly everything sold to parts retailers, or garages.

To get rid of the rest of it, I sold everything as a whole lot. Luckily I found a buyer who paid cash. Meaning no delivery expenses. No hassle. It was pure profit. I later saw them trying to re-sell the items again for less than they paid me! It was clear I had made a great deal there.

Crazylister also took notice of the performance of my ads.

Something Memorable

Robert, I proved you wrong…

Stop what you are doing. It will take years to develop a nationwide network. You are wasting your time. If you don’t stop I will make sure your business fails.

Robert Basset
EU Director of Revenue Labs, eBay

Evaluation

What I would do moving forward…The things I would change, or improve with 20-20 hindsight vision.

– I wasted a lot of time trying to sell little parts, that were very specialised and low value. The amount of labour required to process these orders wasn’t worth it.

– I should have just focussed on shifting the bigger expensive parts.

– I also spent too much money on packaging and branding, when really I found that a lot of garages would or DIY people wouldn’t care.

– Sometimes I had returned items and they would steal the packaging. Meaning I lost some money. It was a joke. It’s annoying how they got away with it.

Things I would improve.

– I would look to keep the same sales strategy of shifting the parts. But I would try to import parts from China. Put my own branding on them, then sell them as my own brand.

– I could even work with an existing UK parts manufacturer.

– Either way, the plan would be to drop-ship the parts straight to the customer. So you make a sale, before you even have the part in stock. You don’t even need stock.

– The trick would be whether enough people could wait days for a part to get shipped over from China.

Selling the first job lot of brand new Peugeot car parts was a great experience. I learnt how to work with developers to design a system so we could acquire all the parts data and then make it easy to upload all the parts, so we could sell them.

The main problem with buying ex-stock is that some of the parts are older. So it is a waiting game. Some of the parts can be sitting on the shelves for far too long as they are rare and there is not much demand for them. That is if you try to sell all the parts for high prices.

Selling costs advertising money so each month you are burning cash. Unsold items cost a lot to advertise so it is a question of how long can you wait until they are sold.

My strategy was to see what sells. I got rid of the best parts where all the profit was made. Then the rest I just sold to someone as a job lot for the right price still. But the buyer thought they were getting a bargain. I’d rather have the cold hard cash than the potential to make more. Unsold parts aren’t really worth anything. 

I also discovered that some people are willing to sell things far too cheaply. If you can buy things at the right price, you have a chance at competing with them, if you add some benefits. So if this business continued, it would have to be done differently than what other people achieve.

I would make sure the parts I acquire were very high value. So they don’t take up space. I’d rather sell 1 part for £700 than 700 parts for £1.

Knowing that Dealers look to get rid of ex-stock I could also reach out to other dealers to see if the same deals could be done.

 

 

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