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Localisation Services: Pivoting Automotive Businesses From Traditional Sales To E-Commerce

Posted 27 September 2023

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In the automotive aftermarket sector, small businesses were hit particularly hard by the pandemic.

These smaller e-retailers faced a tough choice: adapt to an online marketplace or risk going out of business.

Many chose the path of digital transformation, migrating their businesses to e-commerce platforms.

For automotive e-retailers, this shift to online marketplaces – whether general ones like Amazon and eBay, or country-specific sites like MyGermany.com and Allegro – opened up a world of opportunities and challenges.

Let’s explore the advantages and disadvantages of these three routes: general online marketplaces, brand-specific e-commerce sites and dedicated automotive marketplaces like Auto Trader.

1 – General Online Marketplaces


Wide Reach

These platforms already have millions of daily users, which can provide businesses with an immediate and vast customer base if they know how to position themselves correctly and climb the rankings.

Ease Of Setup

The infrastructure is already in place, allowing businesses to get up and running relatively quickly. The online marketplaces will typically offer some relevant guides and tutorials to enable new sellers to make the most of their listings and squeeze as much value from the marketplace as possible.

Built-In Trust

Consumers often trust established platforms. This can accelerate purchases and make consumers generally more likely to buy from sellers. Rather than setting up e-commerce websites, this is why many sellers in the automotive sector gravitate toward established marketplaces.


High Competition

Thousands of sellers might be offering similar products and the more established are likely to appear higher in the rankings on these marketplaces. It can sometimes prove difficult to stand out from the crowd and beat the competition on these platforms.


Most of these platforms charge listing fees or take a percentage of sales, which can affect profit margins.

Limited Branding

Customisation is often minimal, which can make it hard to stand out or retain brand identity. At the same time, it does give all sellers an equal platform upon which to engage prospective buyers.

2 – Brand-Specific E-Commerce Sites


Complete Control

Businesses can control every aspect of the website design and customer experience. This means they can experiment with different marketing strategies and conversion tactics to drive sales without being restricted by the constraints of one-size-fits-all listings on online marketplaces and platforms.

Brand Consistency

Custom-made e-commerce websites enable companies to present their brand exactly as they wish and capitalise on the potential compounding effects of brand recognition.

Direct Customer Relationships

Without any intermediaries, businesses can build deeper, direct relationships with customers. For instance, you can collect emails on your e-commerce website and leverage email marketing to speak with customers further down the line.


Initial Set-Up Cost

Building a site can be expensive and time-consuming. If you do not have the necessary experience to develop a custom solution, you will inevitably have to hire developers to do the heavy lifting.


Ongoing updates, security and customer support are entirely on the retailer.

Building Traffic

Without the built-in audience of a marketplace, businesses must work to draw customers in.

3 – Automotive Marketplaces


Targeted Audience

These marketplaces will cater specifically to automotive enthusiasts or professionals and have a built-in customer base that sellers can leverage to drive sales.

Industry-Specific Features

Many of these marketplaces will come with tools or features tailor-made for automotive sales.


The marketplaces will often have dedicated forums or communities that enable sellers to hit the ground running and make the most of their listings.


Limited Reach

While the marketplaces might not have as wide an audience as general platforms, they will enable you to tap into a customer base that will at least have some level of interest or understanding of the products you are selling.

Niche Competition

Even though the audience is targeted, competitors are also more specialised. This could give you the opportunity to carve out a niche on a platform and capture a niche market.

Platform Restrictions

Some platforms might have specific guidelines or restrictions.

Localisation as the Key to Success

Regardless of the chosen platform, one point remains clear: the need for accurate and culturally sensitive localisation services. Automotive terms, product descriptions and user manuals often contain specialised language. An error in translation or a cultural oversight can lead to confusion, decreased trust and even safety concerns for customers in some cases.

That’s where ALM Translations comes in. With expert localisation services tailored to the automotive industry, businesses can ensure that their products are presented accurately and appealingly to every target audience, which can lead to increased conversions and consumer confidence.

Whether it’s adjusting to the nuances of a particular language or understanding the cultural intricacies of a specific region, ALM Translations ensures that automotive businesses thrive in e-commerce.

While the shift from traditional sales to e-commerce presents a multitude of decisions for automotive businesses, choosing the right platform and prioritising localisation are pivotal steps towards global success. Contact ALM Translations today for a free quote and consultation.


Specialist automotive translations for leading car, motorcycle and HGV marques - ALM supplies translated content from technical documentation, marketing materials through to diagnostics.

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ALM is a engineering translation company offering multilingual engineering document translations by expert translators - our solid background in engineering translation services makes this one of our most requested services

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