Is RockAuto.com Receiving 70,000 Orders A Day?

Date

If you listen to My First Million Podcast (if you don’t you should), on the December 9th podcast you would have heard Sam Parr and Shaan Puri discussed RockAuto.com (see clip below). At the end the clip, Sam estimated that Rock Auto could be generating north of $100M in annual revenue. As you could imagine, this piqued my curiosity and I started tracking Rock Auto on December 11th. 

Website Traffic

As Sam and Shaan highlighted, RockAuto.com is receiving around 20M website visitors a month (according to Similar Web). 96% of Rock Auto’s traffic comes from Direct (62%) and Search (34.83%).

Search

The top paid search term for Rock Auto is “Auto Parts”. This term has 1M average monthly searches but competition is low on this term and top of page bid is estimated between $0.53 – $2.87.

Their brand name, “Rock Auto” on average, is searched about 950,000. The search volume over the past 12 months has been fairly consistent with a slight drop off in Q4 (October, November, December).

Suppliers

Rock Auto uses a network of suppliers to fulfill all of their orders. For instance, I purchased a radiator cap from them. The package came from “RockAuto Returns Dept” at 1200 State Fair BLVD Syracuse NY 13209. If you look up that address, you will see it is the address of United Auto Supply. 

Rock Auto received my order, routed it to United Auto Supply for fulfillment. United Auto Supply applied Rock Auto tape (yes branded tape to close the box) and put Rock Auto’s name on the shipping label. 

This is a well-oiled dropship operation that Rock Auto is running.

Order Volume

Based on my order number tracking, Rock Auto is receiving over 70,000 orders a day over the past 11 days. This is a crazy number of orders to be receiving per day. If I extrapolate that for the month, they are receiving just over 2.1M orders a month.

Based on their estimated website traffic, this would give Rock Auto a conversion rate of about 10%. This is a very high number but not out of the range of possibilities. The traffic going to their website is very targeted and most likely only came to their page if they were in need of purchasing an auto part. This could justify the 10% conversion rate.

Revenue

This is a tough one to estimate. Rock Auto, has over 1M skus. Ranging in price from $0.99 to $1000+. However, after scanning through their items, it does appear that most items are between $5 – $50. They also charge anywhere from $2.99 – $36.99 for shipping.

It is impossible for me to give an accurate guess of what their average order value is, but lets assume their average order value is $30 (seems fair, maybe a little low). At $30 per order and 2.1M orders this month, their revenue would be $63M in December. 

Could they possibly be doing $63M a month? That is a run rate of over $700M in yearly revenue.

Self Doubt

I still haven’t convinced myself that Rock Auto’s order volume is real. I have confirmed that their order numbers are sequential but I still can’t believe they are doing 70,000+ orders a day. The only thing I can think of is maybe an order number is assigned at the time a cart is created (ie an item is added to the cart). So what we might be looking at is the total number of carts created (regardless if the order is completed or not). 

It appears Rock Auto’s e-commerce site is self-built. They are not using a Shopify, Big Commerce, Demandware, or any other out of the box e-commerce solution. So I am unable to recreate their e-commerce system to see if it is a cart number that then becomes the order number. 

If their order numbers are cart created numbers, we could assume that 30-50% of them go on to complete their orders. At the same $30 AOV this would give Rock Auto estimated yearly revenue of $210M to $350M.

Bottom Line: Rock Auto is a very big private business.

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