Industry Weighs In On Amazon Threat

By Bill Grabarek

Amazon’s selling of heavy-duty truck parts has undoubtedly caused some hand wringing. Although the Internet giant has and likely will continue to create challenges within the industry, Amazon has its limitations. Within those limitation are opportunities for aftermarket parts and service providers.

Bill Wade, managing partner, Wade & Partners, addressed the threat as well as how the online retailer has changed expectations of not only industry customers, but for consumers, in general, as part of a session entitled “The Amazon Effect” during Service Opportunity Learning Days (SOLD!) 2019 held last week as part of Heavy Duty Aftermarket Week (HDAW) 2019 in Las Vegas.

The Amazon Effect is what has changed expectations and it is rooted in its Amazon Prime service.


“I wake up in the morning and Amazon has sent me an email saying, ‘We think you’d like this book.’ Since they’ve sold me my last hundred books, they know what I like. So, I push the button and the next day it’s there,” Wade said. “Why is that important for us? Because everybody — your customers, suppliers, employees, — is [expecting that Amazon Prime type of service]. It’s changing how they think. What Amazon has done is, not so much by selling parts, but it has created this visceral reaction to distribution. [Customers] want it when they want it.”

Some might say Amazon isn’t going to be in the heavy-duty truck parts business because the parts are big and heavy. However, he warns, “Amazon last year built 51 1 million sq.-ft. distribution centers just for furniture. At one point, those furniture companies said, ‘Oh, they’ll never get to us. Couches are too big.’ If you think Amazon can’t ship an axle right now, you’re wrong.”