The eCommerce sector has been steadily increasing over the years. But with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, digital commerce platforms, and online retailers have seen a dramatic increase in their revenue. The automotive aftermarket sector has also seen a similar increase, especially for those retailers who’ve embraced the eCommerce sector.
In the automotive aftermarket sector, ACES and PIES are two industry standards that help ensure accurate fitment data for manufacturers’ products, so it is essential to find out what these terms stand for and how they work together with AC and PIES.
As ACES and PIES standards are increasingly being used in the automotive aftermarket sector, many online retailers are switching to these industry standards for their eCommerce websites. ACES and PIES provide a standardized way for catalogs to share product information like fitment data with other businesses.
What Is The Automotive Aftermarket Industry?
The automotive aftermarket industry is a broad term that encompasses the business of supplying, maintaining, and repairing vehicles. The market includes everything from car dealerships to independent workshops that sell parts like exhausts for vehicles.
On a global scale, the automotive aftermarket industry is valued at $228 billion. The U.S., as one of the largest markets for new cars and light trucks in the world, has an estimated value of around $45 billion annually. There have been significant changes to how people buy vehicles in recent years, with some sales moving online.
What Are ACES and PIES?
The ACES and PIES standards have been adopted across the automotive aftermarket industry to provide a standard way of accessing product information for both manufacturers and retailers. It also fixes fitment errors in online catalogs from ACES-compliant suppliers that would otherwise create problems on eCommerce platforms such as Amazon Aftermarket Auto Parts or eBay Motors, among others.
ACES – Often shortened to ACES, the Aftermarket Catalog Exchange Standard is a standard for exchanging and managing automotive catalog applications data. Manufacturers will send and receive year, make, model, and part types via industry-standard application formats. The ACES standard’s information is also configured in several databases as follows:
- The Vehicle Configuration Database (VCdb) – This particular database covers 60,000 year/make/model vehicle combinations from the United States, Canada, and Mexico. The ACA updates and maintains this database monthly, adding or removing various vehicle configurations.
- The Parts Configuration Database (PCdb) – The second ACES database contains a list of all part types and categories, which include service items, replacement parts, and similar supplies found in the automotive aftermarket industry. Manufacturers, suppliers, and retailers can use this database to compare parts more easily.
PIES – The Product Information Exchange Standard (PIES), which is somewhat similar to ACES, deals with product data instead of application information. It focuses on automotive parts and various other accessories. The automotive aftermarket industry-standard Pies combines over 20,000 product types with 25 product categories and 180 data points across electronic databases.
Like ACES, PIES also makes use of the parts configuration database mentioned earlier. In addition, PIES data makes use of the Product Attribute Database (PAdb).
- The Product Attribute database (PAdb) – This database contains a catalog of aftermarket products that covers their features such as color, finish, material, outside diameter, horsepower, etc. In addition, the Product Advertising Database (PAdb) standardizes this automotive product data in a coded manner. Its attributes are assigned to each product classification found in the Product Classification database (PCdb), which the ACES standard can also use.
When it comes to data in the automotive aftermarket industry, ACES and PIES standards are meant to work together. When an auto parts retailer or warehouse manager needs to determine whether a certain part fits a particular vehicle, they use the ACES standard. If it fits, they will turn to the PIES standard for more information and confirm or deny a fit with their intended vehicle.
The ACES standard is used to help ACES-compliant sellers better manage their product information and keep it accurate. On the other hand, PIES is a standardized way of exchanging that data between ACES participants to ease integration into eCommerce platforms like Amazon Aftermarket Auto Parts or eBay Motors.
You can eliminate most of the guesswork when selecting and ordering parts in an electronic catalog by using ACES and PIES data standards. The fitment data must be maintained regularly so that it is accurate for your customers.
What Is Fitment Data?
Fitment data is the information that ACES and PIES require to ensure a product listing on an online catalog fits with the true make, model, year, engine size, and other ACES or PIES-specific attributes. It’s the type of information that customers will access to make sure that the part or accessory they are looking at will fit their vehicle.
In a sense, fitment data is a business-critical asset, especially for those managing and operating an online auto parts catalog. Suppose the fitment data in your eCommerce catalog is not adequately maintained and is out of date compared to the ACES and PIES standards that are regularly updated. In that case, the auto parts catalog can end up with so-called “information gaps.” This means that when people look up certain parts or components, they will not see them. But how can an online retailer ensure this fitment information is up-to-date?
Using ACES and PIES in eCommerce
ACES and PIES standards are used in the automotive aftermarket sector as a sort of “standardized language” that allows all stakeholders within the supply chain, from manufacturer distributor, retailer, customer, etc., know all there is to know about each auto part or component.
ACES and PIES are industry-specific technical standards that define the data structure for ACES and PIES messages. ACES is used to exchange information about aftermarket catalogs, while PIES defines the format of product fitment data (purchasing specifications). ACES content includes car parts or components such as air filters, mufflers, battery terminals, and ACES messages can consist of photos, videos, and other multimedia content.
PIES is utilized to exchange information such as product fitment data (including purchasing specifications) that the customer needs to find a particular part for their car. ACES and PIES are currently used by many of the biggest automotive aftermarket retailers and manufacturers. ACES and PIES are integral to the success of their businesses.
Using a Product Information Management Solution
Using a Product Information Management (PIM) solution is one way to comply with ACES and PIES standards. Product Information Management is a piece of software that will provide product data stores and organize all of the information for your eCommerce business. It does this to make it easier when you are distributing said information across various platforms and channels.
This software solution is an invaluable tool in today’s rapidly changing digital world, where competition is fierce, and a business can’t afford to waste time or money on inefficiencies. If you are a car parts salesperson who has been looking for ways to improve your efficiency at work, it is time to consider a product management solution. They allow you to manipulate data in your own way and streamline the logistics of doing business.
There are many different PIM vendors, so you need to find one with the right features for your needs. In the automotive aftermarket industry, PIM solutions tackle fitment data and ACES/PIES, two of the most critical points. Evokat Premier is specifically designed for those looking to thrive in the automotive aftermarket sector as one of the best and easily manageable PIM solutions on the market. Contact us for more information!