The current North American automotive aftermarket industry is evaluated at $381 billion. The light trucks segment of the auto care industry is estimated at over $282 billion. What’s more, growth in automotive eCommerce throughout 2020 is up by 30%. But in light of the current COVID-19 pandemic, eCommerce is expected to see a higher growth rate than usual as more and more people are favoring online shopping.
It’s also important to keep in mind that more than $150 billion worth of auto parts are being directly or indirectly influenced by the digital environment. In the next couple of years, that figure is expected to grow by another $10 billion. Given these numbers, it’s in the best interest of all those operating in the aftermarket industry to invest more of their time and resources on ACES and PIES software. Such a tool will help automotive aftermarket manufacturers, distributors, and retailers to better manage their automotive catalog.
What Are The ACES and PIES Data Standards?
To get a better understanding of the importance of an ACES and PIES software, we will first take a look at the automotive aftermarket industry standards. To put it simply, they were created by the Auto Care Association (ACA) to provide all those in the industry with a universal means of digital communication, when it comes to their fitment data.
- ACES Industry Standard – The Aftermarket Catalog Exchange Standard (ACES) is an exchange standard used in North America for managing and exchanging automotive catalog applications data. All those in the auto care industry, such as manufacturers, suppliers, distributors, and retailers, can send and receive information in the form of brand, part type, part number, make, model, year, submodel, truck bed length, transmission, etc. The ACES standard allows companies to put together their automotive eCommerce catalogs that contain consistent content from hundreds, or even thousands of product lines. By using ACES XML files, suppliers can describe vehicle configurations and attributes with valid database values. Suppliers will also be able to define their product terminology with a database of product names.
- PIES Industry Standard – The Product Information Exchange Standard (PIES) is used for managing and exchanging product attribute information, part number data, images, and other such product information. The PIES data standard will also help define the format for the information and the valid values that will be used. It’s used to standardize all definitions and field requirements, as well as the delivery method used to exchange product attribute information with each trading partner and other industry experts within the supply chain. The information contained here will include elements such as pricing, brand ID, interchanges, kits, digital assets, marketing data, warranty information, performance, weights, dimensions, packaging, and other product attribute data.
These aftermarket standards are used together in order to be effective. First, users will access ACES product data to determine if a particular component or accessory will fit a given vehicle. If it does, users will turn next to PIES files to see if that specific part will satisfy all of their requirements. It should also be pointed out that the ACES and PIES data standards allow for the mapping of the Vehicle Configuration Database (VCdb). This is a relational database that uses 50 unique attributes that hold all vehicle configurations in North America. When components are properly mapped and categorized to the vehicle configuration database based on year, make, and model searches, it will also allow for part lookup to an application.
Third-Party ACES, PIES Mapping Software
Online platforms, such as Amazon or eBay Motors, have master vehicle lists that are periodically updated. Products can be listed by both type and geographic location, allowing for fitment data review changes for any specific vehicle make or model. But while these online platforms have built-in tools to manage fitment data listings, the process can be quite time-consuming and labor-intensive. Since adding just a few fitments to a single listing requires a lot of time and effort, many online retailers prefer to turn to third-party ACES and PIES software solutions to help them out.
These solutions do not only create ACES and PIES files for their clients but also help with monthly update management. They can also ensure that you will be ACES/PIES compliant. And instead of taking a manual fitment approach, where you need to add fitment compatibility for each listing, automated bulk importing and exporting features will ensure that this process will only take a fraction of the time. You will be able to quickly and effectively import and export your entire inventory and ACES XML files, add fitment information to compliant ACES receivers, and exchange comprehensive PIES XML data in bulk.
Before such third-party solutions existed, the only viable alternative to communicating ACES data was through an expensive Windows-based software. Today, however, you can have access to Evokat Premier.
What is Evokat Premier?
Evokat Premier is an online access, cloud-based solution that has advanced and highly-customizable reporting and authoring capabilities. It provides its users with the latest versions of the Auto Care Association databases used to govern the aftermarket industry. Aside from its live vehicle mapping interface, Evokat also provides instant feedback on all available vehicle configurations that will match with your target attributes.
It will also ensure that your eCommerce catalog is ACES and PIES compliant, eliminating the need to add any fitment data manually. It also has bulk importing and exporting capabilities for both your ACES XML files and the rest of your inventory. Evokat’s vehicle mapping interface will send you immediate feedback on all vehicle configurations. This will ensure your compliance with your target attributes and industry standards. Additionally, the mapping process is completely configurable, allowing you to add any details based on your own preferences. You can go as simple as a year/make/model definition, or add more complex data such as body styles, fuel types, engines, submodels, and more.
Additionally, you will be able to add external resources to your aftermarket catalog when using this ACES PIES software. If, for instance, you are getting your fitment data from a trading partner, Evokat Premier will allow you the possibility to create multiple associations between different parts and across different catalogs at the same time.
To quickly identify and resolve any existing issues, regular health checks on your catalog’s product and application data will also be required. Evokat provides easy-to-use charts and dashboards that will highlight any problems and will provide clear resolution paths and a guide on how to fix them. Users also have the ability to connect with every vehicle type available in the VCdb database, as well as research any product data found in the PAdb and PCdb databases.
To avoid the appearance of “holes” or invalid requests, you will also need to regularly update your fitment information. These holes appear whenever your data is mapped to redefined, updated, or removed vehicle configurations found in ACA’s databases. And since the Auto Care Association does this once per month, you will need to continuously monitor and evaluate your fitment information to ensure that no parts or components appear as invalid. If they do, anytime someone tries to look up these parts, they will not be able to see them. Luckily, Evokat keeps a close eye on your fitment information and constantly cross-references it to the newly updated data standards, as they are released. Any existing holes will be highlighted and will be presented through a series of actionable dashboards.
You will also be able to market your products better and on multiple marketplaces and different brand names. Evokat Premier makes use of several centralized resource libraries, reducing the number of data entry errors and providing you with a comprehensive list of data metrics that will help you check for any mapping issues or other discrepancies that may appear. By using the Evokat Premier ACES, PIES mapping software, you will be able to increase your sales and reduce the number of product returns. In doing so, you will not only be able to improve customer experience but also free yourself to focus on other core areas of your business. If you want to know more about what Illumaware LLC Evokat Premier has to offer to your auto parts aftermarket catalog and how it has helped others, check out our testimonials and contact us at your earliest convenience.