If you’re a business that sells aftermarket auto parts, then you know how important it is to have an up-to-date auto parts catalog. Not only do you need to keep your catalog current to ensure that you are selling the most recent products, but you also need to make sure that your customers can find the right parts for their vehicles.
Aftermarket companies have a lot of obstacles in the eCommerce market sector of the auto aftermarket industry. Online merchants of automobile parts provide evidence of this. Over the last two decades, there have been numerous changes in the industry owing to consumer demands and expectations, increased competition, and technological progress. These influence how auto component producers, original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), dealers, and customers.
Aftermarket parts businesses, including repair shops and component makers, are worth about $400 billion in the United States, Canada, and Mexico. Aftermarket components purchases plummeted from millions of customers at a time when the rest of the automobile industry has been experiencing a severe decline since the beginning of the COVID-19 epidemic. There are several important areas where companies that deal with aftermarket components can enhance sales, brand image, and overall parts inventory management system.
Today’s automotive aftermarket parts catalogs are essential, not just for eCommerce in the automobile sector. Customers visit these sites to discover the components they require and see if they fit their cars. However, selling auto parts over the internet is a different experience than any other product. To connect with their supply chain partners and assist their client base in its search, those in the industry will need to employ appropriate data.
Fitment data provide important information in the form of year, make, and model of the vehicle and more specific details about each component in the form of submodel, trim, engine type, and more. It’s compatible with hundreds of distinct automobiles, including typical cars or trucks. Hundreds of vehicles are supported by this gadget, including the air filter, ignition switch, and fuel pump. The information on fitment (compatibility) should be precise, accurate, thorough, and complete. Your consumers will be able to locate the correct components in this manner readily.
Aftermarket and original equipment manufacturers, distributors, dealers, and other aftermarket automotive eCommerce firms will benefit from online automobile part catalogs. It also helps those starting an internet auto parts company by providing them with website creation assistance, warehouse stock management tools, and a platform to distinguish themselves from the competition.
This article will discuss auto part catalogs and why they are so important. We’ll also talk about how to keep your catalog up-to-date and how to find the right auto part catalog management software for your needs.
Why Auto Parts Catalogs Are Important
With the automotive aftermarket industry seeing more and more business online, auto part catalogs play an important role in getting your potential customers to find and buy the parts you sell. It isn’t easy, but it can be simplified with a well-made auto-part catalog management system.
The reason for this is that companies often use auto part catalogs as the primary way of organizing their fitment data so that users can easily search through it to find what they need. Due to demand or other reasons, fitment data becomes outdated quickly and must be kept up-to-date at all times. That’s if you want your customers to have access to accurate information about products you do sell them (and not those which aren’t available). That’s why finding good software includes looking at features like automatic updates to ensure that you’re always using the latest data.
Catalogs also play an important role in marketing your products. Having a well-made catalog lets you show off your products in their best light and help convince customers to buy from you rather than a competitor. A good catalog will also help increase customer loyalty by providing an easy way to find the parts they need and confirming that you are the best source for them.
In short, auto part catalogs are one of the most important tools at your disposal as an automotive aftermarket business owner. They should be taken seriously if you want to succeed online. The wrong software can cripple your efforts, but it becomes much easier to keep your catalog up-to-date and looking great with the right management system in place. Make sure to research your options carefully!
What Is Fitment Data?
Also known as compatibility information, fitment data is a manufacturer’s information about which vehicles, models, and years their parts fit. Fitment data includes model year ranges and more detailed data such as engine and fuel type, transmission, and more. It also includes other metadata like where on the vehicle it goes, any special installation notes for it, what trim levels of that model year have been verified as compatible with that particular auto part number in question.
This is so important because today’s customers perform a lot of research online before making purchase decisions. This means they will be digging around your website looking at product pages trying to determine whether or not certain parts fit their specific car make & model year. Suppose you don’t have fitment data readily available on your website. In that case, it can lead to customers abandoning your page and going somewhere else where they can find that information more easily.
And as we all know, lost sales are never a good thing.
What Are the ACES and PIES Industry Standards?
To make it easier for parts manufacturers and distributors to share fitment data, two important standards have been developed: Aftermarket Catalog Exchange Standard (ACES) and the Product Information Exchange Standard (PIES).
The ACES standard is an XML-based schema that defines the structure of the data being shared. It covers everything from part numbers and descriptions to vehicle applications, cross-references, and more. The PIES specification provides the technical details on how that data should be formatted to be easily read and processed by computers.
These standards are important because they allow different companies to share data in a standard way, regardless of the format or software used. As a result, auto part catalogs can become more and more accurate over time as more and more companies adopt them. Through these industry standards, working together with fitment data, we’re able to make sure your customers can find the parts they need for their vehicle and that you can sell those parts with confidence.
Why You Need To Keep Your Auto Parts Catalog Current and Accurate
An auto parts catalog is a database that contains information about all the products your company sells. The auto part catalog tells you what vehicles each product fits, which year and make it will fit, if it’s compatible with certain engines or transmissions, etc. It’s essential to organize your inventory so customers can find what they’re looking for when shopping online. Having an accurate auto part catalog will help them find the right fitment data quickly and easily – saving time on both ends!
Here are some examples of up-to-date auto parts catalog benefits:
- Customers can search for the exact part they need in seconds instead of minutes or hours.
- It’s easy to find what will fit their car by entering make/model year range, etc., into an auto parts catalog database, so you don’t have any guesswork involved when choosing products from your store! This makes it more likely that customers will purchase something because there isn’t any confusion over whether or not something fits their vehicle (which could lead them elsewhere).
- When searching through auto parts catalogs online, they can see pictures and descriptions of items without having to leave home, making browsing easier than ever before! Having this information at hand reduces return rates since people won’t get frustrated if they can’t find the part they need in-store.
- Auto parts catalogs help businesses stay organized and can be exported into different formats for analysis or shared with other company teams.
It’s clear that having an up-to-date auto parts catalog is key to success – both online and in physical stores! Make sure you’re taking advantage of all the benefits it offers customers and keeping your inventory accurate. Cataloging software makes this easier than ever before – so make sure you research what will work best for your business.
The accuracy of an auto part catalog needs to be maintained on a continuous basis. This is especially true for new parts that are added to the catalog.
For example, let’s say you add a new part number for an oil filter. If this part does not fit any of your vehicles, then it will show up in searches as “not available” or “incompatible.” This is bad news for the customer looking through auto parts catalogs hoping to find something they need.
Ensure all items sold at your store have accurate information listed, including year/make/model ranges. It should also contain other details so customers don’t get frustrated by inaccurate data on websites like Amazon, where everything seems perfect until there’s a problem! This can lead to increased returns since people don’t have time wasted searching through auto parts catalogs online, hoping something will fit their vehicle only for it not to work out in the end.
How To Manage and Maintain an Auto Parts Catalog
Auto part catalogs are an important aspect of online and physical stores. The benefits of having a current, accurate auto parts catalog can’t be understated. From increased sales to decreased return rates, it’s clear that having one is key to success. However, keeping up with the demands of an auto parts catalog can be difficult. Here are some tips on how to manage and maintain your catalog:
- Ensure all items sold at your store have accurate information listed, including year/make/model ranges and other details. Inaccurate information can lead to increased return rates. People don’t have time to waste searching through auto parts catalogs online, hoping something will fit their vehicle only for it not to work out in the end.
- Make sure you have a process to add and update new items. It could involve getting fitment data from the manufacturer or another reliable source.
- Set a schedule for regular updates and stick to it.
- Use a professional auto part management software solution that makes it easy to keep your catalog up-to-date.
How To Find The Right Software For Managing Auto Parts Catalogs
While it is dependent on how each program was built and developed, data management systems should be straightforward and natural to use. The system should be able to connect you to every vehicle type listed in the Vehicle Configuration Database (VCdb), as well as product data from the PCdb and Product Attribute database (PAdb).
The software will assist you in comparing your catalog data to the freshly generated PIES and ACES XML files, identifying any issues, and suggesting solutions. You’ll also need a method for adding various levels of information to your aftermarket parts data, which implies that the program must be configurable. If required, a year/make/model configuration or as complex as additional elements such as fuel types, engines, body styles, and other features may be included.
The ideal catalog data management solution should be able to do more than simply keep a list of your products. It should also be able to check your ACES data regularly, ensuring the long-term sustainability of your aftermarket catalog. These comprehensive checks on both application and product data will almost certainly reveal and, in most situations, address any concerns that may emerge. Professional alternatives allow you to access extra reporting options so you can see where you might add further information in line with your current coverage goals.
There are several digital asset management solutions on the market, but not all of them will provide you with the advantages you need to stay ahead of your competition. Many characteristics of the tools that may assist you in today’s highly competitive and increasingly digitized business world are similar. The following are some examples of features that will be useful in software for managing auto parts catalogs.
Application Fitment Management
To access your system, you’ll need to install a vehicle configuration database (VCdb), parts configuration database (PCdb), and product attribute database (PAdb). All of these databases and any additional required subscriptions will almost certainly need to be paid for. A fantastic program will allow you to use it without incurring additional costs.
A decent aftermarket catalog software not only keeps you up with the month’s modifications in terms of product and vehicle definitions but will also aid you in managing your data. Your data management system will not only have to be able to compare your catalog’s data against the new criteria, but it will also need to provide you with a variety of simple dashboards summarizing the results.
This data will assist you in selecting the most up-to-date, safe, and efficient solution for your business. It should also provide clear answers and mapping options that can be modified to fit your specific requirements and demands. This implies that you may choose as simple as a year/make/model combination or as complicated as you like depending on your needs and standards.
It should go without saying that a good aftermarket parts catalog software will ensure that all auto part information is entered correctly and updated on a regular basis. It should have a list of unique product data indicators so that your aftermarket firm may check for existing product data issues and other similar issues.
The platform will also have to satisfy all of your branding requirements and any brand-specific overrides for your PIES data elements and target ACES data notes. As a result, you’ll be able to tailor your product information based on channel partner-specific criteria and private label needs.
Have Access to Actionable Insights
Aside from allowing you access to the databases listed above, a professional catalog management system will also include a real-time vehicle mapping interface that gives immediate feedback on all available car choices that match your search criteria. Keeping your catalog information current is critical for the program because new automobile models and components are introduced regularly, and existing ones are redefined.
It should also have user-friendly and intuitive user interfaces that point out any concerns and solutions. While no system can ever solve all fitment data issues, they should be able to handle the vast majority of them. Furthermore, your ACES and PIES solution should be capable of locating any locations where you may include more information in a way that fulfills all of your coverage objectives.
Good Data Security
Finally, the solution must safeguard your digital assets from data breaches. Antivirus and anti-malware protection, multi-factor authentication, DDoS Protection, unified threat management, HIPAA and PCI DSS compliance, as well as access control lists, should all be included and ready to use.
One of these is aftermarket catalogs like Evokat Premier, which provide you with these advantages. It’s a cloud-based, software as a Service – SaaS platform that may be accessed from anywhere there is an internet connection. It’ll also help you get to market faster, reduce product returns, and minimize lost sales possibilities.