The global aftermarket for automobiles is undergoing significant changes. As customer needs change and technological progress appears to be accelerating, a major shift between automobile manufacturers is on the way. These adjustments will only alter how auto components eCommerce businesses and other participants in the sector operate and create value for themselves and their clients.
Emerging markets are already placing new demands and pressures on automobile eCommerce firms to take the lead. It’s vital to remember that the North American auto aftermarket is worth more than $16 billion. It’s also growing at a 15% yearly rate. The overall aftermarket sector of the automotive industry is valued at $381 billion, whereas the light-duty vehicle market accounts for around $282 billion.
Furthermore, digital technologies significantly impact roughly $150 billion in automotive parts across brick-and-mortar and internet sales channels. That amount is anticipated to top $160 billion over the next several years. As a result, it’s reasonable to assume that ACES and PIES software demand has never been greater.
Automotive aftermarket retailers are constantly looking for new ways to compete with each other and generate more revenue. ACES and PIES software can help them do just that by managing their fitment data, which is the most important aspect of any retail business. ACES and PIES software allows auto parts stores to manage their inventory more effectively, decrease time on the sales floor per customer visit, increase conversion rates (and therefore profits), as well as improve customer experience through cross-sells and/or up-sells.
But before we get into how these programs are used, let’s take a closer look at the aforementioned aftermarket data standards, as well as why it’s critical to use them in the first place.
What are the ACES and PIES standards?
Unlike all other sectors, the automotive aftermarket industry has to use fitment data to function efficiently. Retailers and manufacturers require seamless compatibility data to obtain correct automotive parts for aftermarket businesses and customers to know what auto components and accessories they need. Fitment data includes elements such as year/make/model of the car and trim, submodel, engine, fuel type, and other product information. The ACES and PIES aftermarket data standards were developed to manage all of this information effectively.
The primary goal of data management solutions is to make sense of the Auto Care Association’s (ACA) ACES and PIES standards. To make things easier, the Auto Care Association (ACA) established the Aftermarket Catalog Exchange Standard (ACES), as well as the Product Information Exchange Standard (PIES), to be used by members in the automotive aftermarket sector. They are used to manage and exchange fitment data and part number information among all trading partners.
When a manufacturer, supplier, or retailer needs to figure out which automobile part or accessory they’re looking for, they’ll usually start by consulting ACES. This data standard determines whether the component will fit a certain vehicle. If it’s suitable, they’ll go to the PIES data standard and see if that auto part can meet all of the required specifications.
Manufacturers, distributors, merchants, and consumers will be able to eliminate most of the guesswork that goes into selecting the correct automotive components and products using ACES and PIES together. This procedure also helps reduce the total number of fitment application forms, product returns, and missed sales.
Why do retailers need ACES and PIES software?
The ACES automotive industry-standard comprises two databases: the Vehicle Configuration Database (VCdb) and the Parts Configuration Database (PCdb). These contain all of North America’s vehicle configurations at a specific moment in time. Researchers from the Auto Care Association analyze various specialized publications regularly, looking to update these databases.
However, since original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) do not provide this information, it may not always be correct or comprehensive. As a result, aftermarket catalog fitment data has a limited shelf life.
When your catalog data is not updated and validated regularly (about once per month – comparable to the Auto Care Association’s database updates), you run the danger of your fitment information becoming less reliable. As the ACA removes and replaces old vehicle configurations with new ones, you will begin to see “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 view it.
To prevent your catalog product data from becoming outdated, you’ll need to execute monthly validations. You may do this manually, but attempting to find and repair all of the new holes one by one is a time-consuming and laborious process. Catalog systems are a lot easier, more accurate, and quicker than doing it manually. Even though they will not fix all of the fitment data issues that may arise, catalog systems will alleviate a significant amount of stress and manual labor.
How To Use ACES and PIES Software
While it largely depends on how each program was created and built, employing data management systems should be rather simple and natural. The system should be able to link you to every car type currently published in the Vehicle Configuration Database (VCdb) and product data from the PCdb and Product Attribute database (PAdb).
The program will assist you in evaluating your catalog data against the freshly generated PIES and ACES XML files, highlighting any existing problems and providing you with actionable insights on how to address them. The software will also have to allow you to customize the way your aftermarket parts data is mapped. This implies that you’ll need a mechanism for adding various levels of information to your components. You may go as basic as a year/make/model configuration or as complex as additional elements such as fuel types, engines, body styles, and other characteristics if necessary.
The ideal catalog data management platform should be able to do more than only maintain a list of your products. It should also be able to check your ACES data for you regularly, ensuring the sustainability of your aftermarket catalog. These comprehensive health checks on both application and product data will almost certainly reveal and, in most situations, fix any issues that may arise. More professional solutions give you more reporting tools so you can see where you might add additional information in line with your current coverage goals.
How The Evokat Premier Software Will Help
A truly professional ACES and PIES platform will be able to give all of what we’ve discussed thus far, as well as others. This is where Evokat Premier enters the picture. It’s an extremely versatile tool that allows you to handle all disparate demands from a single location while also providing highly customizable authoring and reporting capabilities. To put it another way, Evokat Premier will provide you with incredibly configurable authoring and reporting functions, as well as an intuitive interface that is consistent with ACES, PIES, and their databases.
Evokat Premier is also a Software as a Service (SaaS) aftermarket catalog solution, which means you can access and manage your automotive catalog applications data from anywhere with an internet connection. Because it’s cloud-based, you won’t need to buy any hardware or software to use it. The system also includes enhanced security functionality and branding flexibility to sell your items in numerous marketplaces while maintaining the same brand.
If you work in the automotive aftermarket industry, constantly keeping your fitment data clean and up to date is almost inevitable. To maintain that level of consistency, you’ll need aftermarket ACES and PIES software. It will also allow you to increase your speed to market, reduce product returns, and boost monthly sales.