The fitment data challenges for automotive aftermarket businesses are numerous. In today’s highly digitized business environment, not even the automotive aftermarket industry has been spared. With the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, more and more customers have turned to online sales for their everyday needs. The same thing applies to auto parts and accessories.
But what sets the automotive industry apart from most of the rest of the business sector is compatibility. Namely, this refers to how and if the many automotive parts and accessories out there on the market fit with the hundreds of vehicles on the road today. This is where fitment data comes into play. This article will explore these challenges as well as offer some solutions!
What Is Fitment Data?
Also known as compatibility information, vehicle fitment data is the technical information that specifies how a part or component will fit onto a vehicle. It includes the dimensions, tolerances, and other specific requirements of each part in order to ensure a proper fit. It can be as simple as including just the year, make, and model of the vehicle, or it can be more detailed to include the fuel type, transmission, engine type, and more.
The automotive aftermarket industry relies heavily on fitment data in order to match auto spare parts with vehicles. This is especially true for replacement parts, which are the most popular vehicle parts sold in the automotive industry.
Fitment data must be accurate and up-to-date to fit a car part onto a vehicle correctly. Poor fitment data can lead to lost sales from incorrectly ordered or incompatible vehicle parts. If fitment data is not managed properly within an automotive aftermarket business, there may be incongruent fitment information throughout their catalogs. It could result in returns due to incorrect orders and other problems such as reduced customer satisfaction and dissatisfaction with your brand.
Fitment Data and The ACES And PIES Standards
The Aftermarket Catalog Exchange Standard (ACES) and the Product Information Exchange Standard (PIES) are data standards used to manage fitment data within the automotive aftermarket industry. The ACES standard defines how fitment data should be formatted and delivered between suppliers and retailers, while the PIES standard specifies the contents of fitment data.
These standards are essential for ensuring accurate and consistent fitment information throughout the automotive aftermarket supply chain. They also help prevent problems mentioned earlier, such as lost sales, incorrect orders, and catalog inconsistencies.
ACES and PIES are both managed by the Auto Care Association (ACA), a trade organization representing companies in the automotive aftermarket industry. The ACA has been working on developing these two standards since 2007, intending to make fitment data a more integral part of the business.
There are several different ways that fitment data can be managed using these standards, including:
- Use an online tool to maintain fitment information and upload it into your catalogs as needed. This is beneficial because you will have many sources for fitment information which helps with accuracy, and updating one source will update them all.
- Maintaining fitments manually by exporting relevant automotive parts lists from distributors’ websites then adding new products yourself (this takes up a lot of time and can be prone to errors).
No matter which method you choose, it is important that your automotive aftermarket business adheres to the ACES and PIES standards to ensure accurate fitment data throughout all aspects of their operation.
What are The Fitment Data Challenges for Auto Parts Businesses?
While fitment data is critical for any online car part dealership, it can still pose some challenges that can impact the well functioning of the business. The most common issues are incorrect or outdated fitment data, inconsistency in auto parts catalogs, and the time-consuming task of manually adding fitment data.
Incorrect or Outdated Fitment Data
The fitments for a car part can change over time, which can lead to fitment data being incorrect or outdated. The fitments are also affected by the model year. For instance, if a car part has been in production since 2015 and was not available before that time when the vehicle didn’t have its current design yet. In this case, the fitment data will need to be added for both old and new models of cars.
When fitment data is wrong or outdated, this can lead to inconsistent auto parts catalogs because different dealers might list different fitments for one product. Customers would end up looking at several online stores only to find out they offer various selections on what fits their car’s make and model. This leads them away from making purchases altogether – especially if they are pressed with time because an emergency has arisen.
Inconsistency in Auto Parts Catalogs
Catalog inconsistency can also lead to costly product returns, as customers might order the wrong part, not realizing that it doesn’t fit their car. This will lead to an expensive return process because fitment data can be provided by the manufacturer or directly from the car’s VIN. Either way, fitments must be accurate and up-to-date, so customers do not end up returning third-party or OEM parts they didn’t need in the first place.
Another issue arising from inconsistent auto parts catalogs is lost sales due to fitment issues for certain products. For instance, if one retailer lists two different fitments for an air filter while another online store only provides one fitment option – customers might opt out of buying this product altogether as their vehicle either requires both options (most likely) or none at all (less common). In other words, those who see only one fitment for the air filter will assume it fits their car, while those seeing two fitments are most likely going to assume that one of them is wrong and purchase the product only to find out it doesn’t fit their car after all.
Manually Adding Fitment Data
The fitment data may need to be added due to product changes, such as a car part becoming discontinued and replaced with an improved model. In this case, the fitments for both products will have to be listed separately, so each one is associated with its corresponding make and model of vehicle.
Yet, the amount of work involved in manually adding fitment data can be overwhelming. For instance, a dealership with 10,000 products in its catalog may have to update fitments on 400 items per day, on average, so that they can stay current. This is a daunting task, and it’s only going to become more difficult as time goes on and the number of products in catalogs continues to grow.
How Illumaware’s Evokat Premier Can Help
Evokat Premier provides you with customizable authoring and reporting tools and a simple user interface that is compatible with ACES, PIES, and their databases. It’s also a Software as a Service (SaaS) aftermarket catalog inventory management system so that you can access and manage your fitment data from anywhere there’s an internet connection.
You won’t have to spend any money on hardware or software to use it because it’s hosted in the cloud. The program also includes enhanced security features and branding flexibility, allowing you to market your items across multiple marketplaces while keeping distinct brand identities.
As a result, auto part suppliers will almost certainly need to maintain your fitment information correct and up-to-date on a regular basis. The only method to maintain that level of accuracy is to use an aftermarket car parts data management solution. Evokat Premier can assist any online merchant in achieving all of this while also boosting monthly sales totals.