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True Stories: “Amazon is eating your lunch on accessories.”

Leftovers in fridge
Article Highlights:

  • Over half of car buyers spend at least $300 on accessories.
  • "I wish these accessories had been offered to me at the dealership."

In August 2016, Amazon launched Amazon Vehicles, a vehicle research portal and automotive community for car shoppers.

Many automotive media stories have discussed the potential impacts to dealers if Amazon adds vehicle sale listings.

But, while car dealers worry about Amazon someday eating into their vehicle sales, they’re missing the point. Already Amazon is eating their lunch on another profit center: accessories.

According to SEMA, over half of car buyers spend at least $300 on accessories, with nearly a quarter of them spending $1,000 or more.

Over the last 10 years, Amazon Automotive has captured consumer attention and become a one-stop shop for consumers to buy replacement parts and accessories. But, don’t just take my word for it.

Allison R. recently purchased a certified pre-owned vehicle at a dealership along with many accessories from the Amazon Automotive store. Here’s her story:

Buying a Car

“When I was looking for a new ride, my salesperson and I talked a lot about how much I drive, how I would use the vehicle, and what features were ‘must haves’ for me: AWD, backup camera, and moonroof. The cargo area also need to be the right size for my frequent travel companion, my dog.

The salesperson suggested a certified pre-owned Honda CR-V would have the features I wanted at an affordable price. It even was on a list of ‘Best Cars for Dog Owners.’

After I agreed to buy a CR-V already on the lot, I waited 15-20 minutes in the customer lounge before my deal paperwork was ready to sign. I actually got to sign my paperwork on a giant iPad called docuPAD, which was easy—and cool. After what seemed like only a few minutes in the finance office, I was on my way with my new-to-me car.

Making It My Car

Once I got home, I was pleased with my purchase, but also eager to add accessories that would make the CR-V feel less like someone else’s car and more like my car.

So, I went online to Amazon. I was unsure what I’d find there, but it turns out its automotive section has nearly everything you’d want—and then some.

Here’s what I bought:

Item Price
Waterproof cargo area cover $58
Pet safety barrier for cargo area $55
Ice scraper $20
License plate frames $16
Waterproof trash bin $15
Car coasters $14
Automotive fabric protector spray $13
Console organizer $13
Interior duster $6
Total $210

There are a couple more big-ticket items I will eventually buy, including a remote start and body side moldings. I also want rubber floor mats.

I’ve priced these items on Amazon, too. They’ll cost about $600, before installation fees.

Looking back, I wish these accessories had been offered to me at the dealership. It would have saved me a lot of time and effort. It would also have been nice if I could have financed them along with my car to spread the costs over time.”

Conclusion

Worry less about Amazon selling cars in the future and begin recapturing the accessories sales you’re losing now.

Today’s car buyers are looking for accessories to personalize their vehicle. Present accessories to all of your customers to gain additional revenue and create a more engaged, rewarding car-buying experience for your customers.

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Director, Brand Marketing, Reynolds and Reynolds

Ashley is Director of Marketing Communications for Reynolds and Reynolds. In her 10 years with Reynolds, she has managed the marketing strategy for several key Reynolds solutions and branding initiatives. Today, she leads the U.S. and Canadian marketing teams to drive brand awareness, product penetration, and content strategy for Reynolds and other key brands within the Reynolds Retail Management System.

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