Five Things I Wish I Knew

Before I Started To Sell On eBay Or E-Commerce Sites

Many of us see e-commerce becoming a bigger part of our sales growth. Some people know yards that only sell through the e-commerce channel. We feel that e-commerce HAS to become a part of your current business today. E-commerce is becoming one of the 5 channels of revenue we currently have, like retail, wholesale, core, scrap, and now e-commerce.

Here are the five things I wish I knew before jumping in feet first into e-commerce / eBay.

Better Pictures and More Pictures. Buy a good camera with good resolution that can take pictures and shoot video. We use a Samsung Galaxy camera; not a Samsung phone – a camera with a zoom lens. The model that we use is EK-GC 110. Make sure to open a picture sharing app, such as Dropbox or Google Photos, as this will allow any pictures to be shared with your complete staff without tying up email or time. Follow your standard stock number configuration when cataloging these photos.

Pricing. All parts must be priced. Period. No exceptions! E-commerce pricing does not have to match your current retail or wholesale pricing due to the fact that e-commerce customers have a different expectation of warranty, delivery and quality.

Ease of Transaction. E-commerce customers demand low prices, lots of information and the ability to order with just a click of a button. Remember you’re only one quarter of an inch away from your competitor. Your rating, return policy and shipping times are what dictates if the customer will order the part from you. This part of the equation was the hardest for us to learn because we were dealing with customers that we had not spoken to. Therefore, their expectations are different than a typical phone customer. Sometimes expectations are higher, and sometimes lower.

Shipping Program. This is critical to your success. Make sure you are using some sort of shipping software program, like ProShip, ShipWorks or UPS WorldShip. The reason this is so critical to your success is that e-commerce customers require tracking updates emailed to them when a part ships. If you do not use a program, you will spend hours communicating to customers about the transaction and tracking information.

Set Up an Efficient Shipping and QC Department. 

  • Set up to take pictures before shipping the part. Like I said before, set up a picture sharing folder with Dropbox. The difference this time is to log all of the pictures using the work order and or invoice number to catalog pictures of parts before they are shipped. This will provide back up on any disputes of quality or shipping damage. Both Pinnacle and Hollander allow you to add pictures to their programs post invoice.
  • Buy boxes. Pick five to 10 different standard size boxes that will allow your shipping / QC department to effectively package and ship parts efficiently.
  • Buy pallets. Take the time to prepare yourself to ship engines, transmissions, rear axles, doors, fenders, hoods and seats efficiently, without having to create one off pallets every time. Create a process around this. You want a professional shipping and receiving person, not a carpenter.
  • Black plastic wrap is your friend. We wrap all of our parts in black plastic wrap for a reason; we do not want shipping people outside of our company to see what we are shipping for possible theft and or damage. Also, we use black wrap if we are shipping an engine, transmission, or rear axle because if we do have minor fluid leak the black wrap will cover it up.

I hope that these five steps help you make a smooth transition into e-commerce sales. If you have any questions feel free to contact me via email I would be happy to answer any questions.


John F. Cahill (JC) is the owner of New England Auto & Truck Recyclers in Winchendon, Mass. He has been in the auto recycling industry for 25 years and is also a consultant. He regularly speaks at industry events like the URG Annual Training Conference. Contact him at or

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