The automotive aftermarket is the business of selling auto body parts, replacement tires, accessories, and everything else in-between. With digitization comes many advancements which have progressed the aftermarket to one of the leading trends for manufacturers.
The prominence of digital channels like Amazon, eBay, and Wal-Mart in online sales and other venues offers helpful information such as component prices or how components fit a vehicle’s make and model. Product information management represents an integral part of today’s automotive aftermarket industry. Many OEMs, distributors, and retailers are taking advantage of the present situation by using car part catalogs.
The ACES and PIES industry standards have been in place for quite some time now. This means that any company that is a part of this industry is required to keep its ACES and PIES data up-to-date. Maintaining ACES and PIES data in eCommerce can be complex, which is why there are many solutions available on the market today to help with this process. In this article, you will learn more about ACES and PIES fitment data maintenance, as well as how to keep your fitment data clean using an automated product information management solution.
What Happens to Outdated eCommerce ACES and PIES Data?
Fitment data can become out of date with the ACES and PIES industry standards. This means that when ACES and PIES are modified, this data will not accurately reflect these changes to fitment. It could also mean missing updates on things like safety recalls or technical information for maintenance purposes.
Keeping ACES and PIES data up to date is crucial because it ensures that the data will not become irrelevant or inaccurate. When ACES and PIES information is old, this could mean lacking features on your website, such as new vehicle technology updates. If ACES and PIES are outdated, you cannot provide accurate fitment information for customers looking to purchase a product online.
By using a Product Information Management (PIM) solution, those in the automotive aftermarket industry can keep their ACES and PIES database current with ACES modifications while staying updated with market trends via customer feedback requests from their own sites visit analytics reports.
When vendors don’t use the proper management methods of their catalogs, they risk these consequences:
- Data can become hard to update and maintain.
- Unnecessary data clutter will develop.
- Reliable data will be hampered by incomplete information about parts in inventory.
- Some products may no longer be available to customers.
- Shoppers will have trouble finding an exact product for their needs.
- The return rate of products will increase, and customer satisfaction levels will decrease.
- Business owners won’t be aware when an item is about to be discontinued and stop selling it to make room for new inventory.
- When fitment data is not updated regularly, it may be unfit for competition against other companies.
What Is Product Information Management Software?
Product information management (PIM) software is a set of applications that manages and stores data related to products. ACES/PIES, as well as other eCommerce features, are also included in this type of system.
The ACES acronym stands for Aftermarket Catalog Exchange Standard, while PIES refers to the Product Information Exchange Standard. ACES fittings have been around since 2010 when they were first introduced by IEMA, an organization focusing on supplying parts manufacturers with high-quality fitting standards.
A product information management solution automatically makes sure the digital catalogs are up to date. The PIM software is your single source of truth for product management. It contains product specifications, product descriptions, videos, image collections, price lists, digital assets, and more. Automating data updates can ensure that nothing falls through the cracks during data entry, which gives businesses ultimate control over their systems.
Product information management takes the strain off of those involved in the long run by automating tasks like data entry, calculations, and pretty much anything else you can think of. Not only does this save time for everyone involved, but it also ensures that all product data is accurate. With a system like this, there’s no room for human error or faulty transmissions that might cause misinformation to be spread about certain products.
If you want to maintain product information neatly, take heed of these best practice tips and tricks.
Tagging and Categorizing Auto Parts
Tagging and categorizing ACES fitment data is one of the most important parts of maintaining ACES and PIES. ACES tags are used to track vehicle make, model, year, trim level, engine type, transmission type (manual or automatic), wheelbase dimensions, and other information about ACES-equipped vehicles.
One common mistake made by those operating in the automotive aftermarket industry is not tagging or categorizing their products with ACES tags correctly, which leads to inaccurate data for auto part retailers who sell these products online.
The following questions should be answered when identifying ACES tag requirements: What’s your intent? Do you want this product only sold within a specific geographic region? If so, then you would need ACES tags for the area. ACES data also needs to be localized by vehicle make, model and year so that ACES-equipped vehicles can find ACES products they need.
Keeping Fitment Data Clean
Automotive ACES and PIES data needs to be updated regularly for it to maintain its accuracy. If ACES and PIES data is not kept up-to-date, the fitment will become less accurate over time as products frequently change with new generations of vehicles being released. This type of information can also affect ordering decisions if ACES or PIES numbers are inaccurate or outdated.
Maintaining a clean and updated product catalog relies on your ability to maintain an information database. You can do this by keeping your eCommerce system up-to-date and defining the different roles of each stakeholder for a smooth workflow for all involved parties.
An inventory database should be checked for accuracy before publishing updates to a retail website or submitting new catalogs. Accessing all the various databases that are relevant for your business will ensure only accurate information is shown. This simple step keeps customers from seeing incomplete product data.
Before deciding on your business’s eCommerce platform, assess the current health of data in your catalog. Consider how easily it can be managed, collected, and organized before taking further steps.
Eliminating ACES and PIES Data Inaccuracies
The Auto Care Association is in charge of maintaining a standardized language in the automotive industry. These initiatives aim to make everyone involved speak the same language so that there’s no more confusion and any lost details are accounted for.
Created by Auto Care Association, ACES is designed to maintain fitment data: vehicle-specific part number, price, specifications, and delivery time. Proprietary PIES then allows seamless exchange of description text between all stakeholders.
Periodically, the ACES and PIES standards may be updated. By extension, those who maintain an auto parts catalog need to remain current with these infrequent changes as well. Otherwise, inaccuracies will continue to accumulate, and their catalogs will become unusable before long.
To prevent these inaccuracies, users need to go over their catalogs regularly and update them by hand. However, third-party solutions such as Evokat Premier can help. Evokat is a cloud-based digital product information management (PIM) system that will help you automate monthly updates to fitment data and keep it up to date.
It is crucial for automotive aftermarket businesses to adjust their products and configurations in line with customer requirements. Evokat’s vehicle mapping interface lets you receive immediate feedback on your target attributes, ensuring they are being met. Evokat Premier provides flexibility, ranging from a basic make/model system to an extensive model designation for all possible information.
Product information health checks are essential to identify any possible errors in your data or application. This is done through easy-to-use dashboards that can spot these instances while also providing a clear path for how to fix the issue, wherever it may be found in your catalog.
Using an accurate and complete product data management solution will save you time and money, reduce the total number of lost sales or costly returns, and increase the speed to market your products. This expanded customer base will include bigger repair shops that can work with the information quickly.
For those who don’t have the time to maintain their catalog, we at Illumaware offer several solutions. If you’re interested in learning more about these services, contact us today!