The automotive aftermarket industry is known for having very particular challenges that are not found in other sectors. Unlike other storefronts, businesses in this industry must deal with data requirements and marketing needs specific to the auto care industry.
Recently, online shopping has become commonplace with the COVID-19 pandemic and its subsequent disruption in transportation infrastructure. With reviews, price comparisons, and other customers to confer with before a purchase is made, online shopping makes it easier for consumers to find deals that will fit their individual needs.
With over 2.14 billion people worldwide making online purchases and spending over $722.8 billion in the global automotive aftermarket industry by 2021, the automotive eCommerce sector is only expected to increase in the foreseeable future. To increase their competitiveness in the automotive aftermarket industry, a business should invest in ACES and PIES software.
Consequently, just selling car parts online will not automatically guarantee that you will increase sales and stay ahead of the competition. You need to find a digital asset management solution capable of streamlining communications with trading partners, improving customer experience, driving opportunities, as well as ensuring that you are up-to-date on product fitment and data.
In the automotive aftermarket industry, ACES and PIES software is a must-have for any business that has an eCommerce catalog. This software will ensure that fitment data is accurate and provide insights into the business as well as product branding.
Why Use ACES and PIES Software?
It is important to understand the role of ACES and PIES data standards when using an eCommerce catalog. The Auto Care Association (ACA) has created the ACES and PIES standards to help with searches and lookups and a mechanism for managing and exchanging fitment data between channel partners and customers. This standard is also a “universal language” in coded form, making it possible for every trading partner within the supply chain to understand each other.
- The Aftermarket Catalog Exchange Standard (ACES) houses vehicle configuration information and documentation about North American vehicles.
- The Product Information Exchange Standard (PIES) tackles automotive product data on various aftermarket auto parts and accessories sold on the automotive aftermarket.
Unlike other industries, the aftermarket automotive industry operates using fitment data. This data is used by both dealers and customers when shopping for auto parts and accessories, ensuring that each piece of equipment will be compatible with specific vehicles. Automotive eCommerce companies that handle products in the automotive aftermarket industry need to have an ACES and PIES solution. Without it, people will not find what they are looking for because there is no other way to categorize data properly.
As with any other institution that sells products in the automotive aftermarket industry, businesses need to ensure they have accurate and complete information on their listings. Failing to have such data makes it challenging for customers to find what they might be looking for and risks exposing them to various problems, from receiving incorrect orders or even unknowingly ordering the wrong parts.
Missing ACES and PIES data standards can result in a marked increase in product returns, customer complaints, and a negative impact on your brand’s reputation. This also leads to missed sales opportunities.
Ensuring that an aftermarket catalog’s fitment data is up-to-date and accurate can be a challenge. Since the ACES and PIES industry standards update fairly regularly, it may be challenging to ensure that your company’s fitment data remains compliant. Setting up an Aftermarket catalog and database is not a one-time deal. If the ACES, PIES, fitment data does not match the new changes in vehicle configurations (including those from OEMs), then “holes” will start to appear where classic fits are no longer available.
Amazon and eBay Motors offer catalogs of vehicle models for users who are available to review fitment data. These platforms, however, do not update themselves automatically – despite the fact that they keep decent track of data changes. Reviewing files takes time and labor; even just adding a few items is an endeavor worth considering carefully.
But if you want to avoid making mistakes that will cost your business dearly, it’s important to know what type of tools are at work in the automotive aftermarket industry. One such digital tool is ACES and PIES software that needs to ensure fitment data is accurate and meets all standards for validation.
Retailers in the automotive aftermarket industry need to comply with ACES and PIES data standards that use an integrated software solution. The best products also have strong data security, provide essential insights on inventory management, effective product branding, and bulk importing features.
How to Choose the Best ACES and PIES Software for eCommerce
eCommerce catalogs in the automotive aftermarket industry depend on specific software to ensure that their digital assets are up-to-date and accurate. Many different tools are available, but not all provide the necessary benefits to grow your business.
Fitment Data Management
Automotive industry eCommerce catalogs need to connect you with the Vehicle Configuration Database (VCdb), Parts Configuration Database (PCdb), and Product Attribute database (PAdb). The subscriptions for these ACES and PIES databases are usually separate, but top-tier software will have the capability of accessing them without costing more.
When choosing eCommerce catalog software for the automotive aftermarket industry, be aware of essential components. It needs to accurately and consistently work with newly updated Auto Care Association standards for service and parts information.
It should allow you to customize your own parameters. This means that you can go as simple as a year, make, and model configuration; or add extra details such as body styles, engines, fuel types, brand IDs based on what’s relevant to your business needs.
Excellent Data Security
ACES and PIES software needs to be built on a platform that has excellent security. ACES data can be sensitive, so it’s crucial for ACES and PIES software to offer the best encryption protection. The eCommerce catalog is also extremely valuable, which means there are many potential risks associated with hackers trying to steal information from this database. ACES and PIES software needs to have a firewall in place, as well.
To keep your digital assets safe and secure from data breaches, the system will need to have a secure URL management program that supports SSL or TSL security protocols. It should also provide an automatic update feature to install security patches on demand as well as real-time analytics notifications for monitored websites and critical vulnerabilities.
Regardless of catalog size or complexity, ACES and PIES compliant software with a robust data security system must be used to ensure accuracy. Tools should also offer a live vehicle mapping interface for immediate feedback on matching vehicles. Updates are important as new components come out constantly.
Many software packages will help you keep your ACES and PIES data in order, but the best ones will do more than just set up a file structure – they’ll also provide insights into how to improve your business. The solution needs to inform you of any troubled areas as well as how to fix them.
The ACES and PIES software should also be flexible enough to allow you to customize the data fields. This way, it will work for your business instead of against it. Using a system should be easy-to-use even for someone who doesn’t have any experience with operating the system.
Effective Product Branding
It is crucial for any business with an eCommerce catalog to address the issue of data entry errors. The best solution will provide fast, easy access to a catalog of comprehensive product metrics, which can quickly find data issues and similar inconsistencies.
However, the platform should also consider your brand needs and allow for any needed overrides to PIES data elements or ACES items. You will have all the necessary flexibility to tailor your product information based on your channel partner’s custom data requirements or private label demands.
The Evokat Premier is an excellent ACES and PIES software. It’s a SaaS, which means you can access it from anywhere in the world where there’s an internet connection. This will help decrease product returns, increase marketing speeds of products, and reduce lost sales opportunities.