Australia has recently seen the launch of a new car parts and service website called Sparesbox, which ambitiously aims to disrupt the car service industry. And what they want to offer sounds interesting, to say the least. They promise a more transparent experience when it comes to car servicing than you would get traditionally. It sounds like a very difficult task, but the concept itself does make sense.
Let's dive in and see how they do it.
Here's some inside scoop on the state of Australian car servicing industry. People who want to get their late model vehicle serviced usually have to go to their dealer. This is especially convenient if one is under warranty. But the majority of car owners believe that they must take their cars to their dealer because that is how they will preserve their warranty, but this is simply not true. You can have your car serviced at a local mechanic and still preserve the warranty.
This is a bit of a problem for an independent mechanics and Sparesbox for that matter because Australians do not really trust car mechanics. They usually choose to go to a dealer, but doing so is alarmingly expensive. Nevertheless, you can rest assured that your vehicle will be properly serviced.
But is it really worth that much? Regular mechanics can also do a great job for less money, but with more transparency than you will get at the dealers.
Sparesbox' founder Leon Saliba noticed that his fellow Australians are paying way too much money for car parts at dealers and mechanics. That is why he got the idea to create an online marketplace that would connect car part buyers with the part suppliers. After Saliba got an initial angel investment round in 2014, he secured a 3.5 million round of venture capital funding from Moelis Australia Asset Management and Carthona.
Sparesbox quickly went on to become the biggest online car parts seller in Australia. They had 100 000 auto parts available for more than 80 brands. But the customers started asking if Sparesbox could possibly fit parts for them too because most people do not really know how to service their cars by themselves. Sparesbox found an excellent solution to their problem - a fleet of on-demand mechanics who would service the users' cars while they are at home or at the office. This new system proved to be very convenient for people who live in houses or have room in their work parking spots.
Sparesbox website has a very nice overall UX. When you first open it, you are able to enter your car details and save them for any future searches once you finish the registration. Afterward, you can add registration, the last service date, transmission, VIN number, usage, and a photo. Searches are automatically filtered for your car once you create your garage. All parts are placed in categories and subcategories, a feature which makes the search pretty easy to perform. Australians can try it for themselves and see if they are satisfied. To me, this story is very interesting for the global car market as well.
There is always room for disruption, but you have to do it step-by-step. In the case of Sparesbox, they went for one small innovation at a time and let the users take them to the next evolutive process. Now they have a company that is on the forefront of innovation and at the same time satisfied customers who can enjoy an easier purchase of parts and service of their vehicles, and at a significantly lower price too.