The automotive aftermarket industry is challenging for business owners, with data and marketing needs not found in other sectors. eCommerce has become a major industry with many benefits for consumers, including reviews, price comparisons, and the option to research individual needs.
With over 2.14 billion people worldwide spending over $722.8 billion in the global automotive aftermarket industry by 2021, the automotive eCommerce sector is expected to only increase in the foreseeable future. For businesses to be competitive within this market, they should invest in ACES and PIES software for their business needs.
Finding a digital asset management solution to meet your enterprise needs is not an easy task. It will take significant investment, as well as making the right selection with regards to the features that are needed. This includes streamlining communication, increasing customer experience, and improving data fitment capabilities.
In the automotive aftermarket industry, ACES and PIES software is crucial to any eCommerce catalog. This software will ensure that product fitment data is accurate and provide insights into the products and services being offered by the company as well as brand identity. That said, the ACES and PIES standards are the backbone of the automotive aftermarket industry.
In this complete guide, we will explore ACES and PIES in eCommerce – how they are needed for those operating in the automotive aftermarket industry to communicate with their clients and other stakeholders in the supply chain and how to maintain fitment data up-to-date. We’ll also discuss what ACES/PIES software is available, which one might be best suited for your needs, and why it’s essential to choose a tool that integrates ACES/PIES standards with your eCommerce catalog.
Understanding ACES and PIES
ACES and PIES are industry standards used in the automotive aftermarket industry. This industry is the business of maintaining or modifying vehicles after they are bought from the original manufacturer. The automotive aftermarket industry is an enormous contributor to a global $228 billion market. In the U.S., they are estimated to have an annual worth of just over $45 billion, making it one of the largest markets in the world for new cars and light trucks.
The ACES and PIES standards have opened up a new way to broadly communicate information across the automotive aftermarket industry, including manufacturers and retailers. This has helped save time when looking for an appropriate product and fix any fitment errors if they arise in eCommerce platforms such as Amazon Aftermarket Auto Parts or eBay Motors.
ACES – The Aftermarket Catalog Exchange Standard (ACES) standard is a fix for exchanging data between the automotive industry and beyond. It is used to interact with suppliers, partners, and consumers of aftermarket parts. There are a couple of databases in which this information can be found;
- The Vehicle Configuration Database (VCdb) – This automotive database covers 60,000 different vehicles and is updated monthly.
- The Parts Configuration Database (PCdb) – The second ACES database contains a list of all part types, categories, and related information. This resource can be used by manufacturers or retailers for easier product searches.
PIES – The Product Information Exchange Standard (PIES), similar to ACES, deals more with product data than 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 uses the parts configuration database mentioned earlier. In addition, PIES data makes use of and connections to the Product Attribute Database (PAdb).
- The Product Attribute database (PAdb) – The Product Advertising Database (PAdb) has standardized product information for aftermarket products. The Catalog of Automotive Aftermarket Products–a subset of the PAdb–can be used by the ACES standard to record this data.
The ACES and PIES standards are meant to work alongside each other, but the PIES standard is more specific. This means if a part fits on a vehicle by following the ACES standard listed in an auto parts retail store or warehouse, then the retailer will need to turn to the PIES standard for more information.
The ACES standard is a data management guide that helps sellers organize and keep their product information current. PIES is a standardized method of recording this data to ease the integration to various eCommerce platforms.
When using ACES and PIES data standards in the automotive aftermarket industry, you can minimize the guesswork of ordering electronics for your customers by choosing your components wisely. ACES and ACES standards will help reduce the time it takes to find a specific product or fix any fitment errors.
What Are ACES and PIES Data?
Also known as compatibility or fitment data, ACES and PIES information describes the compatibility of components, parts, or equipment in ACES and PIES format. This ACES and PIES data is used by suppliers of automotive aftermarket industry products and customers who want to purchase the right product for their make/model vehicle without having any issues with fitment.
Fitment data is the information that ACES and PIES need to ensure a product listing on an online catalog fits all the specs. The purpose of this content is to educate customers on how they may go about finding the perfect fit for their vehicle.
Fitment data is of critical importance to businesses operating online auto parts catalogs. If an eCommerce catalog’s fitment database isn’t regularly updated with the ACES and PIES standards, it will start to have information gaps. This has the effect of eliminating access to certain parts or components. However, how can an online retailer keep fitment information up-to-date?
How To Use ACES and PIES in eCommerce
ACES and PIES are the standards for the automotive aftermarket industry. The ACES and PIES standards are a language that is used across the automotive aftermarket industry, so all parties know what they need to know about any particular auto part, component, etc.
ACES and PIES are 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).
The PIES standard is used to exchange product fitment data, which the customer requires to find a part for their car. ACES and PIES are used by many in the automotive aftermarket industry. These standards help to connect manufacturers and consumers and avoid miscommunication which can cause delays or issues.
The Fate of Outdated ACES and PIES Fitment Data
When fitment data becomes outdated with the ACES and PIES industry standards, then it does not reflect these updates well. This could mean missing significant safety recalls or technical information for maintenance purposes.
Maintaining ACES and PIES data is crucial because out-of-date information can leave your website lacking features, 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. ACES and PIES data is also used to calibrate ACES and PIES software, which can significantly impact the reliability of your website.
A Product Information Management (PIM) solution can help those in the automotive aftermarket industry keep their ACES and PIES database up-to-date while keeping updated on customer trends.
When vendors fail to use proper management methods, they risk these consequences:
- The data becomes inaccurate and unreliable.
- Beyond updating the catalog with new information, no other work is done for a year-long period because there’s no staff in charge of this process.
- Data can become difficult to update and maintain.
- Needless data clutter will develop.
- Incomplete information about inventory will hurt the reliability of data.
- 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.
Why Keep ACES and PIES Data Clean
The Auto Care Association is in charge of maintaining a standardized language for the automotive aftermarket industry. This initiative aims to make everyone speak the same lingo so that any lost details are accounted for, and there’s no confusion.
The Auto Care Association has defined the ACES to maintain up-to-date fitment data: vehicle-specific part number, price, and specifications. Proprietary PIES then allows seamless exchange of description text between all stakeholders.
Periodically, the standards for ACES and PIES will be updated. As these updates come out, auto parts catalogs need to be kept up-to-date, or else their data becomes unreliable or even unusable over time. It’s, therefore, in everyone’s best interest to keep this data clean and up-to-date.
The ACES and PIES standards are essential to the automotive aftermarket industry because they ensure that car parts catalogs maintain accurate, reliable data on their products. Periodically updating ACES and PIES ensures that this data remains clean and usable for a long time, so it’s in everyone’s best interest to do so.
That said, this process is often easier said than done. Entering and updating fitment data on big eCommerce marketplaces such as Amazon, Wal-Mart, or eBay Motors can be pretty time-consuming and labor-intensive.
This is where a Product Information Management (PIM) system comes into play.
What Is a Product Information Management System?
Product information management (PIM) is a set of applications that manages and stores data related to products. These include ACES/PIES as well as other eCommerce features. A product information management solution can also come in handy. The PIM software is your single source of truth for managing the data on your products, filling in any gaps when you input the details and giving companies more control over their inventory data.
Product information management offers a long-term solution for those involved in the automotive aftermarket industry. It saves everyone’s time by automating data entry and calculations, which ensures that all product information is accurate. With no room for human error or faulty transmissions, manufacturing misinformation about products has become a thing of the past.
Providing the correct tags is essential for maintaining ACES and PIES. The most important tags are vehicle make, model, year, trim level, engine type, transmission (manual or automatic), wheelbase dimensions as well as additional information about ACES-equipped vehicles.
Questions to ask when considering ACES tags include: What is your intent? Do you only want this product sold in a specific area, such as a particular state or country? If so, then you’ll need an appropriate ACES tag for that region.
Automotive ACES and PIES data needs to be available for purchase on an ongoing basis to keep it accurate. If the ACES and PIES information is not maintained regularly, someone could have an incorrect fitment because newer vehicles will continue to release with different changes. This also carries over into ordering decisions if the numbers are outdated or inaccurate.
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, defining the different roles of each stakeholder for a smooth workflow for all involved parties.
Maintaining a retail web inventory in the most up-to-date fashion can be challenging for businesses. Doing an audit on existing databases ensures that there are no missing or inaccurate records. This allows eCommerce customers to view complete product data with accurate information.
Before deciding on your business’ 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.
Choosing the Best ACES and PIES Software for eCommerce
When you have an eCommerce catalog in the automotive aftermarket industry, it is essential to use software that ensures all your digital assets are up-to-date and accurate. Product Information Management systems are typically the best for this purpose because ACES and PIES are vital components to developing an eCommerce catalog. Many different tools are available, but not all of them provide the benefits you need to move forward with your business.
Effective Fitment Data Management
It is essential to have ACES and PIES software so you can effectively manage your data. You also need ACES and PIES for managing digital assets to achieve a uniform look in all sections of your eCommerce catalog.
ACES and PIES are critical components to the success of an automotive aftermarket eCommerce business because they provide comprehensive data management for all aspects of your ACES and PIES content, including fitment data. ACES and PIES data management systems allow you to calibrate fitment data with ACES and PIES standards, so your eCommerce catalog is entirely accurate.
Automotive Industry-specific eCommerce software should be able to connect you with the Vehicle Configuration Database, Parts Configuration Database, and Product Attribute database. 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.
Choosing eCommerce catalog software for the automotive aftermarket industry requires three essential components: accuracy and reliability in dealing with auto care association standards, a way to maintain fitment data up-to-date, as well as a plan for choosing the best ACES and PIES software.
It should allow you to configure many options regardless of how detailed or basic they may be. You can include as much detail as your company needs for each configuration, such as year, make, model, and up to three body styles like sedan, coupe, or hatchback.
Enhanced Data Security
The platform that ACES and PIES software runs on must offer strong security with encryption to protect sensitive data. eCommerce catalogs are particularly vulnerable for hackers looking to steal information from this system, which is why a firewall is mandatory within the interface of these types of programs.
Digital assets are susceptible to data breaches and malware infecting mobile devices. To keep your information safe, the system will need SSL/TSL security protocols, an automatic update feature for security patches and real-time alerts for website vulnerabilities.
Comprehensive ACES and PIES compliant software is required to ensure accuracy, even for the smallest of online stores. Data must also be updated regularly to maintain the most current components possible.
Many software packages are available to help you manage your ACES and PIES data, but the best applications provide more than just a file structure. They also offer suggestions for improving your business, as well as insights into any possible trouble areas. It’s also a good idea to make sure that your ACES and PIES software is flexible enough for you to customize the data fields.
Product Branding Capabilities
Data entry errors are a common issue for any company which has an eCommerce catalog. With the need to restore items quickly to meet customer demand, you must find a solution that will allow you easy access to your catalog of metrics.
However, the platform should also consider your brand needs and allow for changes to PIES data elements or ACES items. You will have all the necessary flexibility to tailor your product information however you need it based on channel partner demands.
Evokat Premier is the best ACES and PIES software. It’s a SaaS, which you can access anywhere in the world with an internet connection. That’ll reduce product returns, increase marketing speeds of products, and decrease lost sales opportunities.