The auto aftermarket industry is a massive sector that encompasses a wide range of businesses, from parts suppliers and distributors to installers and retailers. In order to be successful in this highly competitive industry, it is essential for businesses to have a product information management (PIM) system in place. PIM systems are vital for managing product data across the entire supply chain, from manufacturers and distributors to retailers and consumers. Without a PIM system, businesses in the automotive aftermarket sector will struggle to keep up with the competition.
The aftermarket for automobiles, which includes parts and maintenance services, is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 3.4 percent and a predicted $529 billion in revenue by 2028. From 2020 to 2021, the worldwide automotive aftermarket’s income has increased from $380 billion to $408 billion.
The automobile component replacement parts and service enablers are the two most important market segments. The development of eCommerce stores (distributor sites) is expected to lead to increased global expansion and investment in this area as these sectors become more digitized.
In this sector, the COVID-19 lockdown has had an impact on product demand. The need for commercial vehicle components began to decline, whereas used vehicles and aftermarket auto parts sales increased. It is anticipated that the recovery of automobile component supply and demand will not follow a typical V pattern as it did in previous financial crises, but rather a slow recovery until 2025.
In this scenario, product information management systems will become more critical for businesses in the auto aftermarket sector. We’ll look at why PIM systems are so important to automotive aftermarket firms and how they may benefit from them. We’ll also look at how PIM systems collaborate with automotive aftermarket industry standards to boost product data accuracy and exposure.
What Is A Product Information Management Solution?
A product information management (PIM) solution is a software system that helps businesses collect, manage, and distribute product data across the entire supply chain. PIM systems are used to manage product data from manufacturers and distributors to retailers and consumers. Product data includes product descriptions, pricing information, product images, and other product-related content.
PIM systems help businesses in the automotive aftermarket industry keep track of their product inventory, price changes, new product releases, and other vital product information. PIM systems also help businesses automate their product data entry processes and improve their customer service operations.
It is used to manage product-related information for marketing and sales in general. Product data from both internal and external sources are accumulated, regardless of whether it’s combined. This might include anything like:
- Product metadata
- Technical specifications
- Rich media
- Digital assets
- Product lifecycle information
A PIM solution helps organizations to be more compliant, consistent, and efficient. Product information may flow from the producer through the chain to the market and into the hands of customers without interruption.
What Are The Main PIM Features?
If you want to start an aftermarket product business, you’ll be happy to hear that there are several features available with a PIM software platform. These are just a few of the main features that every PIM system should include:
- Data Management – Spreadsheets have the disadvantage of being too numerous. It might be challenging for business owners and their internal teams to keep track of which information is accurate and current. PIM software is great for product management since it unifies all information – a “single source of truth” in the IT world. It’s no longer required to maintain several data sources. Consolidating your PIM on a single platform enhances the quality, uniformity, accuracy, and completeness of your product data.
- Data Integration – You can expect to get access to a wide range of information when you run an online automotive aftermarket company. These might be external (online storefronts, mobile apps, suppliers, and so on) or internal (hard drives, internal systems, and applications). Even the most seasoned product managers may find managing all of them separately to be challenging. Linking distinct product information sources is a time-saver for PIM software. This means that all of your data will be kept in one place, on a central platform, regardless of where it comes from. This enables more efficient data tracking and faster reaction times if something goes wrong.
- Customization – A personalized PIM system might be created to meet your specific requirements. Whether you’re simply maintaining track of your current procedures or attempting to expand your business, PIM software may be adapted to keep up with your company goals without issue. The user interface can also be customized to make the most of your time and that of your employees. Customization will also aid in data management and importing and exporting high-quality data.
- Automation – Finally, you’ll no longer be spending time on basic activities like manually validating your work. PIM software may help you save time by allowing you to automate routine activities. It can help with mass tasks, such as verifying job completion in one click and monitoring task completions. Automation saves time and allows you to put your resources where they’re most needed. There’s an increased level of efficiency and productivity when PIM software automates your operations.
Why Do Auto Aftermarket Businesses Need PIMs?
If you own an automotive aftermarket company, you know how important product information is. It’s tough to keep track of everything when you’re dealing with a large number of items. The world of automotive aftermarket design, engineering, and production has changed considerably in just a few years. There’s been a significant increase in data usage across the horizontal and vertical value chains, with suppliers, business partners, internal departments, and end customers.
Manufacturers who regularly deal with a variety of suppliers, service providers, and tier-two providers require a centralized data management solution to ensure that data don’t contradict. Product information isn’t simply a pile of warranties and dimensions anymore. Because so many new automobile models and brands are being launched on a regular basis, buyers now demand sellers to locate compatible vehicles for all “custom-designed” goods.
Every business is different. If you’re just getting started, an all-encompassing, integrated software package that handles a variety of aspects of your company simultaneously may not be necessary. Perhaps you can manage your ACES and PIES data using Excel (or Google) spreadsheets on their own.
However, you will eventually expand. You’ll add more goods to your product catalog, jump to additional automobile eCommerce platforms, and perhaps even hire more staff to assist with daily operations as your business grows. Trying to keep up with all of the ACES and PIES upgrades may become an increasingly difficult task.
Information technology solutions such as Information Product Management enable larger corporations to develop new items, enhance data management, increase the consumer experience, and boost revenue. The fact is that without automation and a system that minimizes the possibility of errors and data inaccuracies, your business will not be able to flourish or succeed. The idea is that, even if you don’t intend to use a PIM application right now, it’s worth thinking about in the future.
Using a PIM Solution to Support ACES and PIES Data Standards
Product information management software is an excellent way to maintain and organize product data for your automotive aftermarket business. The ACES and PIES data standards promote transparency, interoperability, and portability among trading partners in North America. All companies desiring to do business in the region must employ them as well as best practices. A machine-readable XML is the standardized method of exchange used by all trading partners. The following are some of the benefits of using these standards:
- No more duplicate communication and distribution efforts.
- Saving time and money.
- Lower supply chain costs.
- Increase product introduction and speed to market.
- Increased sales, operational efficiencies, and fewer returns.
A PIM system will support the ACES and PIES data standards by allowing you to:
- Store product data in one central location
- Automate product updates across all channels
- Access product data from anywhere, at any time
- Reduce the risk of errors and inaccuracies
How To Use A PIM System In The Auto Aftermarket Industry
A PIM solution may automatically update all digital catalogs available to you rather than doing it by hand. PIM software provides a single source of truth for product management. It includes product specifications, descriptions, videos, photo galleries, price lists, digital assets, and more. This program may automate the transmission of information updates to a network of digital channels and systems in order to avoid anything going unnoticed during data entry.
Automating reduces time and ensures accurate data while also eliminating the danger of human error, which might produce inaccurate information. There’s no room for mistakes when everything is handled with product information management software since there’s no longer any place for it. Here are some best practices and strategies for getting the most out of this process.
Tagging and Categorizing Your Products
When tagging your products, it’s important to be as specific as possible. This allows you to target potential customers with greater accuracy and make product recommendations that are more likely to result in a sale.
The auto aftermarket industry is very competitive, so product differentiation is essential. Use product information management software to its full potential by tagging products with as many attributes as possible. This will allow you to create targeted marketing campaigns and product recommendations that will give you an edge over the competition.
Categorizing your products is also important for two reasons: first, it helps customers find what they’re looking for on your website. Second, it helps you keep track of inventory levels. When categorizing products, be sure to use both general and specific categories.
Auto Parts Catalog Mapping
In the auto aftermarket industry, product information is typically exchanged in the form of an auto parts catalog. This is a database of product information that includes part numbers, descriptions, and other attributes.
Mapping your product data to an auto parts catalog is a good way to ensure that your product information is accurate and up-to-date. It also allows you to share product information with other businesses in the automotive aftermarket industry.
When choosing a product information management system, be sure to choose one that offers auto parts catalog mapping. This will save you time and money in the long run by ensuring that your product data is always accurate and up-to-date.
Keeping Your Product Database Accurate and Up-to-Date
In order to ensure that your product information is accurate and up-to-date, you need to have a process in place for regularly updating your product database.
One way to keep your product database accurate and up-to-date is to set up automatic updates. This means that whenever a new product is released or an existing product is updated, the information in your product database will be automatically updated.
Verify that the inventory database and any other relevant databases are accurate, as well as any updates. This is a crucial stage since it ensures that data is correct before releasing new catalogs or making online modifications. You don’t want your customers to have access to incorrect product information.
If you’re considering adding another eCommerce platform to your business, you should first evaluate your existing data structure. Is product catalog information easy to handle, collect, and arrange? If not, you’ll have to perform some data movement or internal data organization before moving ahead.
How to Choose The Right PIM Software Solution?
Now that you know the importance of product information management software in the auto aftermarket industry, you need to choose the right PIM software solution for your business. There are a number of factors to consider, just like with any other company decision. When searching for the finest PIM system, there are several key things to consider.
- Is It The Correct Size? – Is it the perfect match for your organization? Because a big business has distinct PIM needs from a small company, its size is an important consideration. You want a PIM solution that is tailored to your industry and company size while also allowing room for growth. A bigger company may need a specialized PIM system. In addition, a PIM solution for a big company should ideally offer a free trial so that you can see if it is the best fit.
- Does It Save Time and Money? – A PIM system saves time by cutting down on the number of time employees spend hunting through numerous spreadsheets and documentation for specified information. Instead of poring over several spreadsheets and documents for vital data, they can find it immediately on the PIM software. This capability is also available in your PIM solution. The PIM software may also help you save money by allowing you to advertise faster. The ability to alter information in the program and have it instantly sent to your sales and marketing systems in real-time is a major advantage. This can provide you with a significant competitive edge.
- Will It Integrate With Your Existing IT Infrastructure? – You already have IT systems in place as a continuing business. It’s critical that the new PIM system be immediately compatible with your existing solutions and software. Those in the automotive aftermarket sector typically use an ERP system. Product information management software needs to integrate with this type of program. In addition, the PIM system must also be able to work with your company’s other software, such as your eCommerce platform, order management system, and product data enrichment solution.
- Does It Enhance and Facilitate Communication? – The PIM software you select should fit hand-in-glove with how your organization communicates. If you have a distributed workforce, the product information management software needs to make it easy for employees in different locations to access and share product data. The system must also offer features that allow for collaboration between departments, such as the ability to leave comments on product pages. A PIM for automobiles, on the other hand, may help to improve collaboration between all connected parties in the supply chain by providing a “unifying language” in which they can exchange essential product information.
- Is It User-Friendly? – The PIM software solution should be user-friendly and easy to learn so that employees will actually use it. A PIM system is only helpful if your staff utilizes it on a regular basis. To get the most out of your investment, choose product information management software with a user-friendly interface that is easily navigated.
- Safety and Legal Compliance – One of the main advantages of a PIM solution is that it aids in data security and compliance. Because it produces a “single source of truth,” the system maintains you in line with copyright restrictions, for example. This means that product data is only entered once into the PIM and can’t be changed without permission, which lessens the likelihood of product information being used unlawfully.
- It Provides Customer Service – Product information management software gives your customer service team the product data they need to do their job quickly and efficiently. With a PIM solution, they can find product information faster and provide accurate answers to customers’ questions. However, your team may need training and customer service support to use the product information management software effectively. You need to ensure that the PIM vendor you select offers excellent customer service and is willing to provide the training your team needs.
Product information management software is an important solution for businesses in the auto aftermarket industry. PIM systems help to improve communication and collaboration between employees and value chain stakeholders. It also saves time and money. In addition, PIM solutions aid in data security and compliance. Finally, they provide customer service teams with the product information they need to do their job quickly and efficiently.
When choosing a product information management software for your business, it is important to consider its compatibility with your existing IT infrastructure, its user-friendliness, and its ability to enhance and facilitate communication. You should also make sure that the vendor you select offers excellent customer service and is willing to provide the training your team needs. With these factors in mind, you can be sure to select the best product information management software solution for your business.
If you would like to learn more about product information management software and how it can benefit your business, please contact us. We would be happy to discuss your specific needs and recommend a solution that is right for you.