Frequently Asked Questions
The questions and answers below should help you get started. When you are ready to go, or need more info please do not hestitate to call us 24 hours a day at 1-888-563-2591.
Can I succeed at selling auto parts online?
Annual sales of both OE and Aftermarket parts are measured in the hundreds of billions of dollars in the USA. According to NADA and Autocare.org sales are growing exponentially each year. Every day buyers and sellers like you switch to the web for buying. Can you succeed at selling parts online? Yes.
What is a Sophio Webstore?
A Sophio Webstore is all that you need to power your online auto parts business. Sophio is an eCommerce framework designed specifically for Auto Parts sellers. Our system is designed to work with our merchants existing warehouse or dealer management system. In fact we are directly integrated with more than three dozen systems and platforms. This is the power of our framework.
Is there a transaction fee?
Nope! Sell all you can and pay only your standard Paypal or payment gateway fee's when using our Fulfillment services.
How long have you been doing this?
We have been selling our solutions to the Automotive industry since 1999. Our clients range from multi-billion dollar international automobile manufacturers all the way down to start-up dot-com's and everyone in between. Our pricing is location and site based so you will be surprised to learn how inexpensively you can get up and running.
Who's Shopping Cart can I use?
Sophio includes a shopping cart, but you can use your own shopping cart or an open source cart if you wish. Doing so may eliminate the most valuable features of our system. We regularly replace the shopping cart and ecommerce system of a clients existing site when they switch to Sophio.
Can I just sell on Amazon or eBay or Home Depot?
Selling parts on marketplaces or retail sites like Home Depot is certainly possible to do with your Sophio account. However, most marketplaces these days require your business to be a recognizable brand in the automotive industry. This may not necessarily be true for marketplaces such as eBay, and in some cases Amazon may allow you to open a seller account (if you are a repair shop for example). Before you sign up with us with the specific intention of selling to Home Depot or Amazon, google your company name. Do you come up on page one? If not, you are not likely to be approved to sell on their marketplaces. If you still want to sell parts online you can of course use Sophio to power your Automotive eCommerce website.
What if i have some of my own content, but want to use yours?
One of the best features of our system is the ability to sell from multiple catalogs at the same time, with a single shopping cart and one page checkout. you can bring your own content, or build it with our tools. You can use a third party catalog with your own as well. For example you might 'bolt on' an Accessory or Wheel catalog to your replacement parts catalog.
How to get started?
The process starts with you, the merchant choosing one of our many Original Equipment, Aftermarket, or Accessory catalogs. We work with many catalog content providers such as WHI Solutions, DCI, and SMTP. Sophio has over ten years and hundreds of thousands of dollars licensing the complex web services from our sources so you don't have to.
Next we'll create you a web design or use your existing one and wrap it around our catalog, shopping cart, and checkout system (the Sophio eCommerce system). We'll give you a list of dozens of payment gateways to choose from for credit card processing. We will configure your pricing, taxation, and shipping; and finally we'll train you how to process transactions and deal with customer service inquiries. The final step is for you to point your domain name to our servers and wallah your in business!
How do my customers buy parts from my webstore?
All of our catalogs work virtually the same. Buyers can search by part number or sku, vehicle (year make and model), VIN, Keyword, Part Type, Category, and virtually any combination of the above.
How do I set my selling prices?
Pricing can be managed as a markup from cost for all parts and or categories, a discount from jobber or list, or on a part number by part number basis. Since most of our clients integrate their stores with their existing business management systems (or their supplier systems), pricing can be managed in real time , meaning you create custom pricing models and the system can calculate price.
How does shipping work?
There are lots of ways to for your store to handle shipping. The best way and recommended way is 'real time' integration with UPS, FEDEX, DHL, AND USPS. Your website will use weight and the zip/postal codes to calculate a real time and accurate shipping amount. This amount is controlled by you via the control panel, so if you want to offer free shipping on certain orders (over $75 for example), it is no problem.
You can setup one shipper such as UPS or use all four major shipping companies. You can even opt to use a flat rate amount for all orders. In summary, shipping is very flexible. We offer INTERNATIONAL shipping calculations as well and work with folks such as Bongo International.
How does B2B work at my webstore?
You can allow buyers to register, not pay taxes (if they have a tax id number), and you can offer per customer pricing. No problem!
How do orders get processed?
The main reason to use Sophio instead of our competitors is that we offer
100% business automation. If you use one of the dozens of systems we integrate with, orders with approved payments simply print in your warehouse or parts department as if you entered them into your existing system. If you are a 'pure dot com' your orders can be electronically fulfilled by any of the hundreds of distributors points we connect to.
Alternatively, if your website is not integrated with your business management system, we can have the system email you an order which can be forwarded or printed.
Can my suppliers retrieve orders somehow even if they are not integrated with you?
All orders created by a Sophio web store are forever stored in our data warehouse. It's primary purpose is to make it easy for your warehouse, suppliers, and partners to print packing slips, update order status, etc. Let's say you deal with a small accessory manufacturer who still uses paper catalogs and fax machines. They can be given a login to Sophio to download packing slips for orders for the parts they sell and ship to you. You can setup as many accounts for as many suppliers as you wish, or you could just buy your parts from Sophio.
Do I pay commission or transaction fees on orders?
Only if you use Sophio to power a third party licensed catalog or platform such as Epicor or WHI Solutions. The rates range from 0.1 to 2.00 % per sale. The rates are determined by the third parties.
Who manages the look and feel of my site?
We include a content management system in the control panel of your website. If you are a web developer you have direct access to the html, css, and js files. If you are not technical or articistic we are happy to offer professional services starting at $75 per hour.
Do you have an affiliate program?
We sure do! You can make money by helping us get more sellers. We offer our affiliates $500 for each new client that you refer and successfully builds a Sophio store. Yup - $500! Get started by registering here.
How long will it take to get going?
The configuration of your new store takes one business day. The day you signup, you'll have a link to start learning, playing, and conifugring your store. The design, credit card processing and management system integration can take up to thirty days from the date of signup.