According to a global market survey carried out by Satair in early 2022, roughly one in five sellers of used serviceable material (USM) and surplus aircraft parts weren’t taking advantage of digital marketplace solutions due to a lack of resources.

The lack of resources were also to blame for the majority of sellers relying on traditional selling methods instead of online platforms.

More than one-third of the respondents primarily sold parts through a third-party broker, 15 percent used a traditional tender or request for proposal (RFP) process, and 13 percent relied on connections made through their past customer relationships.

In total, these traditional methods were the go-to strategies for 68 percent of the surveyed sellers, compared to just 38 percent who currently use digital platforms.

Numbers quadrupled since early 2022

But what a difference a year makes! 

According to Vincent Joséphine, the B2B Customer Success Manager at e-commerce company Mirakl, sellers are increasingly starting to realise the benefits of listing their parts on digital platforms.

"Sellers are able to expand their customer base through digital marketplaces, increase their sales and reduce their overstock," Joséphine says.

The proof can be seen in the numbers using Satair Marketplace, the digital marketplace – where in addition to the 1.5 million parts sold directly by Satair, the total is closing in on 2 million.

In early 2022, Satair Marketplace had just ten approved third-party sellers using the platform to sell more than 75,000 products. But by October 2023, some 46 sellers were using the platform, with more than 350,000 products available.

Valuable insights into customer behaviour

In addition to allowing sellers to reach more customers and achieve higher margins on their goods by cutting out brokers, aviation parts e-commerce platforms like Satair Marketplace give sellers valuable insight into customer behaviour and market dynamics.

“At the Satair Marketplace, buyers can see who is looking for what, whether buyers are more interested in new parts than used, or vice versa, and whether there are any regional differences when it comes to buyer behaviour,” explains Satair’s Director of Commercial Strategic Programmes, Allan Uldahl Riis.

Sellers that rely on brokers or more old-school methods don’t have access to this insight. 

“It’s all a black hole,” contends Riis.

Excellent indicator of availability

By gaining awareness of customer behaviours, sellers are also able to gauge the availability of certain parts. If a seller can see that demand is greater than supply, they can take advantage of that scarcity to set a price that accurately reflects the part’s fair market value.

In addition to influencing pricing, the insight into buyer demands and behaviour can also help sellers make decisions about how to position themselves competitively. 

All sellers on the Satair Marketplace can create a profile page where they can promote special offers to try to stand out from the pack and appeal to buyers. They might, for example, offer a service upgrade of a used part or direct delivery to a customer's door.

Book a meeting to learn more about Satair Marketplace

No more cuts to the middlemen

According to Riis, parts sellers are realising that listing their inventory on digital marketplaces means that they don’t need to give a cut of their margins to third-party brokers.

“We can see that more sellers are taking on the direct selling activity themselves rather than offloading large chunks of their inventory to another party that turns around and sells it at a markup,” he says. 

“And the other thing is that they’ve simply realised that it’s actually quite easy to sell directly because there are platforms available for that.”

Small sellers can capitalise too

With digital marketplaces, even smaller sellers can make the most out of their inventory.

“If you’re a repair shop, you’re not really in the business of selling parts. So traditionally your customer base would be fairly small,” Riis says. 

“But by using these types of platforms, you can get easy access to new customers without having to commit many resources to it. You can just let the technology work for you and suddenly you have a revenue stream that wasn’t there before.”