Aftermarket companies in the automobile sector confront a unique set of challenges that are not encountered by other businesses. Unlike other firms, auto maintenance businesses must manage stringent data requirements and marketing concerns.
Customers’ demand for greater digitization has never been higher, owing to the current COVID-19 epidemic and increased internet use for purchasing. Online shopping has not only made the process easier and more convenient, but it also allows consumers to read product reviews from other customers, compare pricing alternatives, and find the finest values that match their needs.
The worldwide automotive aftermarket industry reached over $722.8 billion in 2021, with digitally-influenced vehicle sales in the automobile eCommerce sector anticipated to rise even more over the coming years. Those who operate in this area should focus their attention on eCommerce and internet purchasing platforms and invest in auto component catalog software that best meets their requirements as a result of these projections.
If you’re in the auto part catalog software market, it can be not easy to know where to start. There are so many options available, each claiming to be the best. How do you know which one is right for your business? This article will discuss what auto part catalog management software is and how it works. We will also take a look at some of the services these programs provide, so you can decide which one is right for you.
The Importance of Auto Parts Catalog Management Software
The Vehicle Configuration Database (VCdb) and the Parts Configuration Database (PCdb) are the ACES automotive industry standard’s two main databases. These contain all of North America’s vehicle configurations at a given moment in time. Researchers from the Auto Care Association (ACA) review several specialized publications on a regular basis, attempting to keep these databases up to date.
However, because original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) do not provide this information, it may not always be correct or exhaustive. As a result, aftermarket catalog fitment data has a limited shelf life.
When your catalog data is not updated and validated on a regular basis (about once every month), you risk having less trustworthy fitment information. As the ACA replaces outdated vehicle configurations with new ones, you will notice “holes” in your fitment data. If you have product information mapped to the previous conditions and someone searches for it, they will be unable to see it.
To keep your catalog product data up to date, you’ll need to do monthly validations. You may manually perform this, but attempting to find and repair all of the new holes one by one is time-consuming and laborious. Catalog systems are far easier, more precise, and more efficient than doing it the old way. Even though they will not solve all of the fitment data issues that might emerge, catalog systems will relieve a lot of stress and manual effort.
How Does an Auto Part Catalog Management Software Work?
While it relies on how each program was developed and built, employing data management systems should be relatively simple and natural. The system should be able to connect you to every car type currently listed in the Vehicle Configuration Database (VCdb), as well as product data from the PCdb and Product Attribute database (PAdb).
The software will help you evaluate your catalog data against the freshly generated PIES and ACES XML files, pointing out any existing issues and providing you with practical recommendations on how to address them. You’ll also need a method for adding various levels of information to your aftermarket parts data, which implies that the program must allow you to customize how it’s mapped. A year/make/model configuration or as complex as additional elements such as fuel types, engines, body styles, and other features may be included if necessary.
The ideal catalog data management system should be able to do more than simply keep a list of your items. It should also be able to check your ACES data regularly, ensuring the long-term viability of your aftermarket catalog. These comprehensive checks on both application and product data will almost certainly show and, in most cases, address any issues that may arise. More professional options give you additional reporting tools so you can see where you might add further information in line with your current coverage objectives.
What Does Auto Part Management Software Need to Include?
There are a variety of digital asset management solutions available, but not all of them will provide you with the needed benefits to keep ahead of the competition. Many features of the tools that may help you in today’s highly competitive and increasingly digitized business environment are similar. The following are some examples.
Application Fitment Management
A vehicle configuration database (VCdb), parts configuration database (PCdb), and product attribute database (PAdb) will need to be linked to your system. All of these databases, as well as any other necessary subscriptions, will almost certainly require payment. A good program will allow you to access it without paying extra fees.
A good aftermarket catalog solution not only helps you stay up with the monthly changes in product and vehicle definitions but will also assist you in managing your data. Your data management system will not only have to be capable of comparing your catalog’s data against the new criteria, but it will also need to give you a collection of simple dashboards displaying the outcomes.
This information will help you identify the most up-to-date, safest, and most efficient option for your company. It should also provide clear answers and data mapping options that can be customized to meet your specific needs and demands. This implies that you may go as simple as a year/make/model combination or more complicated if desired, depending on your demands and standards.
It should go without saying that a fantastic aftermarket parts catalog software will ensure that all automobile part data is entered correctly and maintained regularly. It should have a list of unique product data indicators so that your aftermarket business may check for existing product data problems and other similar anomalies.
Also, the platform will have to accommodate all of your branding needs and any brand-specific overrides for your PIES data elements and target ACES data notes. As a result, you will be able to tailor your product information based on channel partner-specific criteria and private label demands.
Have Access to Actionable Insights
Aside from giving you access to the databases mentioned above, a professional catalog management system will include a live vehicle mapping interface that offers real-time feedback on all available car options that match your specified criteria. Because new car models and components are released frequently, and existing ones are redefined, keeping your catalog information up to date is critical for the program.
It should also provide user-friendly and straightforward interfaces that identify any concerns and solutions for you. While no system will ever solve all fitment data problems, they should handle the vast majority of them. Furthermore, your ACES and PIES solution should be capable of identifying any places where you may add more information in a way that satisfies all of your coverage goals.
Good Data Security
Finally, the solution must protect your digital assets from data breaches. Antivirus and anti-malware protection, multi-factor authentication, DDoS Protection, unified threat management, HIPAA and PCI DSS compliance, and access control lists should all be included and ready to use.
Aftermarket catalogs like Evokat Premier are one of these that will give you all of these benefits. You may use it from anywhere with an internet connection because it’s a cloud-based, Software as a Service – SaaS platform. It’ll also aid in increasing the speed to market, lower product returns, and minimizing lost sales possibilities.