BMW launches Ebay parts shop

BMW enters the world of online parts and accessories with an Ebay store

By Tim Kendall | 9th May 2011

BMW has hopped into bed with Ebay to launch an online parts store. As the first manufacturer to sell parts via the online auction site, BMW hopes to tap into the 600,000 searches for the marque every month. Dubbed ‘BMW Direct’, the site is now live, with orders being fulfilled by BMW’s Park Lane dealership in London, and BMW UK administering the ‘shop front’.

BMW Direct Ebay store

It’s a shrewd move, given a huge amount of Ebay’s 96 million worldwide users visit the site to search for car parts and accessories. The market for car parts on Ebay generally falls into two camps; second-hand parts sold by breakers, and new or pattern parts, often from eastern Europe. Given warranties and back-up on parts from such sources tend to be limited or non-existent, providing an official source of parts online with a two-year warranty, gives BMW a unique market position. That said, a handful of franchised BMW dealers have already been playing the Ebay game for a few years, so it wouldn’t be too surprising if a few other manufacturers followed BMW UK’s lead, and launch their own ‘official’ Ebay stores.

Carl Sanderson, General Manager Aftersales Development, said: “As a premium car manufacturer, we are always interested in understanding customer preferences when it comes to buying products.  We recognise that there are customers who wish to buy BMW products but do not necessarily want to travel to a BMW dealer to make a purchase. 

“As such we see eBay as the perfect solution for them.  By embracing this modern retailing approach, we believe we can engage with and satisfy a number of additional customers through what is a new retail channel for BMW.”

It’s charmingly old-school – describing Ebay as a ‘modern retailing approach’, but there’s no denying the rationale behind the move seems fairly sound. More to the point, the simplest ideas are usually the best ones.

By Tim Kendall
9th May 2011

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