Vehicle fitment data plays a major role in the automotive sector. The automobile aftermarket is a multibillion-dollar global market. The fitment data industry, which includes fitments for new and used vehicles and replacement parts, has expanded dramatically worldwide. According to market research, over 2.14 billion internet customers will make at least one purchase in 2021. Furthermore, the automotive aftermarket sector is projected to reach $722.8 billion in sales by 2021, while digitally-influenced auto care purchases are expected to total more than $162 billion.
Dealerships use vehicle compatibility information to help customers select the right parts for their automobiles. Simply said, automobile aftermarket fitment compatibility data is at the core of the business. To ensure that a replacement part fits a vehicle, it must be specified correctly according to the make and model of the vehicle. This is when fitment data comes in handy.
This article will help you understand what fitment data means, why it is important to use the right type of fitment data, how to find auto part fitments and how a dealership can convert raw automotive data into ACES and PIES compliant formats.
What Is Vehicle Fitment Data?
The fitment data that is used in the automotive aftermarket industry can be confusing. Fitment data defines fitments, also known as “vehicle fitments,” defined as a vehicle’s compatibility with certain parts. This means that fitment data can be used to determine if a certain part will fit on a specific make and model of vehicle.
Vehicle fitment data plays a critical role in the automotive industry as it allows the industry to provide fitment information for consumers and technicians. The fitments listed in fitment data can be used by dealerships and retailers to create ACES, or PIES-compliant automotive data feeds.
In other words, fitment information is used by all stakeholders within the supply chain, as well as end customers know whether a specific part can fit on a certain vehicle.
What Are the ACES and PIES Data Standards?
The Aftermarket Catalog Exchange Standard (ACES) and the Product Information Exchange Standard (PIES) are two industry-specific data standards used by automotive manufacturers and suppliers. They were created by the Auto Care Association (ACA) to standardize fitment data and other aftermarket automotive part information.
Both standards ensure that fitment data can be easily understood by consumers, dealerships, suppliers, manufacturers, etc. They are used to create an accurate fit for a certain vehicle and describe the exact specifications of a product. ACES is used by dealerships and retailers so that they can import fitment information into their systems. Automakers mainly use PIES internally when they need fitment information from parts companies or distributors.
The fitments listed in the ACES and PIES-compliant data feeds can be transmitted directly into consumer-facing web apps or mobile applications through APIs (Application Programming Interfaces). These APIs make it possible for consumers to research fitment compatibility on specific vehicles before making purchases online. In other words, both fitment data formats allow fitment information to be accurately transmitted between stakeholders in the automotive industry.
The fitments listed in ACES and PIES-compliant data feeds are often displayed within online fitment tools that facilitate fitment searches for consumers looking to purchase aftermarket parts for their vehicles. These types of fitment search engines use fitment data to create accurate suggestions based on a consumer’s vehicle make, model, year, engine type (petrol or diesel), transmission (manual or automatic), etc.
How Fitment Data Works in the Aftermarket Industry
The ACES and PIES standards define fitments using four fitment data categories: category, subcategory, subset, and application. The fitment categories are defined as follows:
- Vehicle type – This is an overarching category that defines which vehicles use this set of fitments. For instance, “car” or “truck.”
- Category – This is more specific than the vehicle type but less specific than the subclassification designation. It also determines how many parts may be used with a given vehicle type within a manufacturer’s product lineup (e.g., Fits BOTH a Honda Fit and Honda Civic).
- Subcategory – This is more specific but less specific than the subset designation. It also determines which parts are used with a given vehicle type (e.g., Fits only front seat of Honda Civic).
- Subset – This fitment data attribute specifies whether or not this fitment can be applied to one part in particular, such as an individual door panel on the right side of each sedan (e.g., Fits Right-hand drive manual sedan front seat only).
The fitments listed in ACES and PIES compliant fitment data feeds must fit within one of the fitment data categories listed above.
The fitments defined in fitment data feeds can be used by automakers, dealerships, and retailers to ensure compliance with ACES or PIES standards. The fitments included in an aftermarket fitment feed must match up exactly with the same designations included in a manufacturer’s product specification database.
This means that if there is no match between the manufacturer’s database and automotive fitment databases, then parts cannot cross over from dealer or wholesale catalogs into the retail marketplace. For example, suppose Honda has Fit Front Seat Only as part of its original vehicle equipment specification, but this category doesn’t appear in an automotive fitment feed. In that case, it won’t create a fitment, and the part won’t be available for purchase in the retail aftermarket.
Fitment data is essential for ensuring a smooth and efficient flow of parts between all stakeholders within the automotive industry.
The Importance of Fitment Data Compatibility In The Automotive Aftermarket eCommerce Marketplace
In today’s evermore digital business environment, the automotive aftermarket eCommerce sector has seen a surge in the importance of fitment data compatibility. The growth of this market is due to the ever-growing demand for aftermarket parts and accessories for vehicles.
To meet this demand, businesses within the automotive aftermarket eCommerce sector must be able to efficiently and accurately share fitment data between themselves and their respective suppliers. Online marketplaces such as Amazon, eBay Motors, or Walmart are among the most popular and trustworthy venues for automotive fitment data to be shared within the aftermarket industry.
These platforms require sellers to provide fitment data for the parts and accessories they offer for sale. This data is used to determine whether or not a part is compatible with a particular make, model, and year of the vehicle.
If sellers do not provide fitment data, their products will be unavailable for purchase on these platforms. To ensure that all parts and accessories are available for sale on these online marketplaces, businesses within the automotive aftermarket eCommerce sector must ensure that their fitment data complies with the ACES and PIES standards.
Failure to do so will limit the availability of certain parts and accessories on these platforms, which can harm business growth and profitability. Ensuring compatibility between an automotive fitment feed and a manufacturer’s product specification database ensures that fitments are accurate, making it easier for buyers to find the parts they need.
The automotive marketplaces mentioned above require that fitment data is compliant with ACES or PIES standards to be accepted into their service catalogs. This means that if you’re an aftermarket business owner seeking to sell your products on these online platforms, you will need both fitment data feeds and OEM-compliant product specification databases so that all of the auto part fitments can be included within each feed type.
If there isn’t any auto part fitment compatibility between your automotive fitment feed and the corresponding OEM specifications, then your sales may suffer due to poor availability on these marketplaces.
The Fitment Data Challenges for Auto Parts Businesses
Fitment data is critical for any online car part store, but it might still present problems that have an impact on the company’s operation. The most prevalent fitment data challenges are incorrect or out-of-date fitment information, inconsistencies in automobile parts catalogs, and the time-consuming process of adding fitment data manually.
Incorrect or Out-of-Date Fitment Data
Fitment data for a car component is susceptible to change, leading to incorrect or out-of-date fitment information. The model year has an impact on the fitments as well. For example, if a car part was first manufactured in 2015 and wasn’t accessible until after that date when the car didn’t yet have its current design. Both old and new vehicle models will require relevant data in this situation.
When fitment information is incorrect or outdated, it can produce inconsistent auto parts catalogs since different dealers may list various fitments for one product. Customers would end up looking at numerous internet stores to discover that they provide a variety of choices for what fits their automobile’s make and model, which could result in them not making purchases at all – especially if they are short on time.
Inaccurate fitment data will also lead to fitment incompatibility, which means that the car part will not fit into the automobile. This is a serious problem for dealerships who are hoping their business can bring in revenue through the fitments they have listed on their websites.
Auto Parts Catalog Inconsistencies
Mis-matching your inventory can also result in expensive product returns since customers may purchase the incorrect part and not realize it doesn’t fit their vehicle. This will necessitate a time-consuming return procedure since fitment data can be provided by the manufacturer or straight from the car’s VIN. It is critical that fitments are correct and up to date so that consumers do not have to return third-party or OEM components they don’t need.
Another disadvantage of variances in automobile part catalogs is the loss of sales due to incompatible goods. For example, if two different fittings for an air filter are listed by one store and just one fitting option is offered by another – consumers may decide not to buy this item because their car needs both options (most likely) or none at all (less common). Those who only consider one air filter fitment for their vehicle will believe it is correct. At the same time, those who evaluate two options will likely assume one is incorrect and buy the other product to discover that it doesn’t fit their car after all.
Adding Fitment Data by Hand
Because of product improvements, such as a car component being discontinued and replaced with an improved model, the fitment data may need to be updated. In this situation, the fitments for both goods must be recorded separately, so they are connected to their respective maker and model.
Automating fitment data input, on the other hand, is both time-consuming and error-prone. However, doing so by hand may be laborious. For example, a dealership with 10,000 items in its catalog must update fitments on approximately 400 per day to stay current. This is a difficult job that will only get more challenging as time goes on and the number of goods in catalogs grows. Likewise, fitment data can change on a regular basis, so fitments must be updated every time a model is replaced.
In conclusion, fitment data for automobile components need to remain current. As such, auto part catalog owners need to react quickly enough so that it doesn’t become obsolete or have incorrect information. Lacking this quality will lead to fitment incompatibility, which results in an increase in product returns and lost sales due to inaccurate vehicle fitments being listed online.
Furthermore, dealerships need accurate fitment information when inputting their inventory into ACES and PIES compliant formats because doing so by hand is both time-consuming and prone to error.
Converting Raw Automotive Data Into ACES And PIES Compliant Data
If you’re tech-savvy and have the time to keep track of your data on your own, aftermarket fitment data suppliers provide auto compatibility catalogs or access to theirs for a fee. If your part isn’t included in Amazon or eBay Motors’ catalogs, you may search through them manually. If your component isn’t mentioned in the catalog, you’ll need to add compatibility details manually.
Because of this, it’s not the greatest choice for busy business owners who don’t have the time to keep their cataloging up to date and understand their ACES and PIES for online sales. Many fitment data catalogs do not provide catalog management services, which is a shame because, without good content in your database, you won’t be able to access or utilize it effectively.
You will receive incomplete or incorrect fitment errors if you don’t have the know-how, time, or experience to maintain your database up to date. Keep in mind that there is no such thing as a “Fit and Forget” solution. Whether you’re an eBay seller or an Amazon vendor, keeping your fitment section updated is never-ending work. At the very least, vehicle standards are revised every month.
If you don’t keep your data up to date, it will eventually be out of date and rife with errors. You could lose potential customers who can’t find the correct component because your car parts database is no longer up to date or complete.
Fitment Data Mapping
Now that we understand the importance of fitment data, it’s time to look at how this information is mapped. The first thing you need to know is that fitment data can be mapped in a number of ways- using either geometric or dimensional methods. Geometric mapping relies on points, lines, and polygons to define relationships between parts, while dimensional mapping uses real-world dimensions (length, width, height) to define the fitment.
Most aftermarket catalogs use dimensional fitment because it’s more accurate; however, some suppliers still rely on geometric fitment for legacy part numbers. When converting your raw automotive data into ACES and PIES compliant format, make sure you double-check which type of fitment your supplier uses.
Mapping data from the ACES and PIES standards to ACES, PIES XML files is known as fitting data mapping. The process transforms raw data into a standardized, portable format. It enables businesses to purchase products in a specified format from their suppliers and immediately import that information into their own catalogs. It means that suppliers can send out revised catalogs to clients without having to make any adjustments for each usage, resulting in fewer mistakes and faster delivery times.
You can now begin populating your online catalogs and sending new data straight to automakers and their authorized distributors using the ACES XML files you just generated. Keep in mind that keeping your ACES XML files current is critical. You don’t want clients ordering items that aren’t compatible with their automobiles.
Using Evokat Premier
Illumaware’s solution for turning raw automotive data into ACES and PIES compliant information is Evokat Premier. Because it is cloud-based software, Evokat Premier may be used from any device and quickly sent to the entire dealership. It’s a multi-purpose tool that allows you to handle all sorts of demands while also generating multiple data sets for your clients and channel partners from a single location.
The Evokat Premier is a software program that works with ACES, PIES, and their databases. It’s a catalog inventory management system that allows you to access and manage your data from numerous devices if there’s a connection. Branding flexibility is also improved because you can advertise your items in various markets while maintaining distinct brand identities.
ACES and PIES-compliant data will be generated, ensuring that it can be properly formatted for ACES XML files. It offers a clear terminology for aftermarket automobile components, allowing you to create accurate ACES XML files with all relevant product information about your parts.
In other words, auto-part shops are likely to need your fitment information updated regularly. And the most effective method to maintain that degree of accuracy is to use an aftermarket vehicle parts data management system. Evokat Premier can aid you in all of these areas while increasing monthly sales figures and lowering product returns.