TruckHub: Leading Ford into the New Era of E-Commerce

TruckHub serves as an online truck owner community platform curating user-generated content to feed their passion while making online parts sales 10x more efficient than current avenues.

Tdrews
FordLabs

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OUR CHALLENGE

How might we fuel the DIY truck passion while providing easier access to quality parts?

F-150 owners are very handy and creative when it comes to accessorizing their trucks and they love to show off their upgraded baby. But there isn’t an official hub where they can share their learnings with a knowledgeable community and get easy access to quality original equipment manufacturer parts.

OUR PROCESS

Flexibly Pivoting Beginnings from Presumptions

Ford’s primary avenue for parts sales is through dealers, but only 14% of the truck accessory market purchases are from dealers while 40% are online purchases. Based on this research, we initially assumed a sole online marketplace for DIY truck accessories would solve the needs of DIY truck owners.

However, through rapid experimentation, we uncovered new opportunities and quickly found a larger underlying motivation that could propel online parts sales even further.

Rapid Experimentation

To test our assumptions, we mocked up a Google Shopping page and standardized the pricing, materials, and products to eliminate variability in the purchase decision. We then evaluated which products DIY truck owners were more compelled to purchase.

Of all the products shown, we discovered a unanimous rejection of DIY kits. Truck owners continuously expressed that the kits would be “janky.” When it comes to their trucks, they don’t want to just buy anything off the streets but prefer to spend more money on robust and lasting quality products.

New Opportunities

We also discovered that truck owners are highly engaged in online communities as observed in F-150 forums and proven by the large #F150 and #raptor Instagram following. They achieve a sense of community by sharing the upgrades on their trucks and receiving inspiration from others. This space has been largely untapped by Ford despite having the best-selling truck in the world.

This is where we pivoted from a pure marketplace to a community-driven engagement platform with a direct-to-consumer sales channel.

OUR SOLUTION

A Grassroots Truck Owners Platform

We created and grew a revenue-generating platform called TruckHub. This platform integrated an active Instagram community with user-generated truck content and a direct-to-consumer e-commerce website powered by Shopify. We launched this platform in a four-week sales pilot and achieved astounding results.

An Active Instagram Community

An Instagram account @yourtruckhub was created to curate content from existing DIY truck enthusiasts. Within three months, we grew our following to over 5,030 followers with more than 120 new followers per week.

User-Generated Content

We acquired and curated user-generated content from Ford’s most enthusiastic fans to build a community and customer base that trusts us. 92% of all content was generated by the community with over 320 photos and videos, leading to 143k website visitors within 90 days.

Simplified E-Commerce Website

We efficiently built and launched our modern, easy-to-maintain e-commerce website powered by Shopify in less than 48 hours and tied our social media accounts and user-generated content together to gain traction and increase sales conversion rates.

“The mission of TruckHub seems fantastic. It has content by people who actually use these things, not by marketing agencies. So it definitely seems like a very solid community-driven place to learn and talk about [trucks],” said one TruckHub community member.

OUR RESULTS

Opening New RoadsNew AgeFor Ford in This

TruckHub created two new sustainable revenue streams for Ford — direct sales and affiliate sales — from lost customers after the point of sale. It has proven that being on platforms where customers already are, utilizing user-generated content to grow a community organically, and maintaining continuous brand engagement through these means will lead Ford forward into a new era of e-commerce opportunities.

This newfound community-centered model has now been adopted by Ford Performance Parts as the official hub to build lifetime value for an engaged community.

25x More Customer Interactions

For every $1 investment, the dealer-only channel generated 1–2 customer interactions with one-time sales while TruckHub’s organic method generated 25 interactions and 2–5 sales.

78% Decrease in Drop-Off Rate

Accessories.ford.com averaged 9–12 clicks to checkout with approximately 80% shopper drop-off rate while TruckHub averaged 2 clicks with 18% drop-off rate.

$24k Direct & Affiliate Sales Revenue

Within a four-week sales pilot, TruckHub gained $4.32k in direct sales revenue and $19.3k in affiliated revenue with an average customer order value of $153.

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