Why Auto Parts Brands Need Catalog Database Management Software

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Why Auto Parts Brands Need Catalog Database Management Software

Today’s North American eCommerce automotive aftermarket is worth over $16 billion and is growing by about 15% every year. In 2020, the entire aftermarket industry reached $381 billion, with the light-duty segment accounting for over $282 billion. In light of the current COVID-19 pandemic, the market is expected to shrink slightly but not to the same extent as the auto industry. Historically, the aftermarket industry has grown between 3.5 to 3.9% every year. Yet, in light of the current pandemic, eCommerce is set to see a higher growth rate than usual and will have a tremendous influence on the aftermarket industry going forward.

It’s important to keep in mind that over $150 billion worth of auto parts across all sales channels, be it online or brick-and-mortar, are being influenced by digital means in one way or another. This figure is expected to increase to $160 billion in the next couple of years. With these numbers in mind, it’s safe to say that the need for a catalog database management software has never been greater.

To put it simply, this is a tool designed to help all those in the automotive aftermarket industry, be it manufacturers, suppliers, distributors, or retailers, to better manage their auto parts catalogs.

Understanding the Aftermarket Data Standards

One of the main reasons for using a catalog database management software is because you will be working with ACES and PIES data standards. In short, the Aftermarket Catalog Exchange Standard (ACES) and Product Information Exchange Standard (PIES) are two standards created by the Auto Care Association (ACA) and are used by those working in the industry to manage and exchange fitment data and part number information among themselves. In other words, ACES and PIES data standards provide a sort of common language for those in the automotive aftermarket industry to coordinate and communicate. 

These two data standards are made to be used together. For example, an auto parts retailer will first reference ACES industry standard data to determine if a specific component will fit their customer’s vehicle. If it does, the retailer will then look up the PIES data to determine if that component or accessory will satisfy all of their customer’s needs and requirements. This process will eliminate all guesswork that goes into ordering the right parts, while helping to reduce the total number of fitment application formats and product returns due to fitment issues. 

However, working with ACES and PIES is a bit more complicated than that. For starters, it’s important to mention that fitment data contained in the Vehicle Configuration Database (VCdb) and Parts Configuration Database (PCdb) are not provided by the original equipment manufacturers (OEMs). It’s researched and gathered by Auto Care Association experts looking across the internet and specialized publications. In addition, the ACA updates its databases once a month. This means that manufacturers, retailers, and others in the automotive aftermarket industry that use fitment data will have to ensure that this information is accurate, validated, and up-to-date. Otherwise, there may be “holes” appearing in their catalogs. When these holes appear, people looking for certain components or accessories will no longer be able to find them, which will translate into missed opportunities down the line.

There are several other reasons why using a catalog management software is important, and we will present them based on the Evokat Premier solution.

What Is Evokat Premier?

As a modern catalog authoring and publishing solution, Evokat Premier is an ultra-flexible solution designed to provide your receivers with unique sets of data, while simultaneously allowing you to manage all disparate requests from a single place. In simple terms, Evokat Premier offers its users customizable authoring and reporting capabilities, an intuitive design that mirrors ACA standards, and a cost-effective data management solution.

As a Software as a Service (SaaS) aftermarket catalog solution, the Evokat Premier solution enables its users to manage their data from anywhere and at any time, as long as there is an internet connection. In addition, this aftermarket software is cloud-based, meaning that it doesn’t need any additional hardware or software to operate. In short, it will help increase the speed to market, lower incidence of product returns, and reduce lost sales opportunities.

●     Better Data Security

Data security in this day and age is of the utmost importance. Therefore, It’s critical that your catalog solution provides efficient data security to keep your information safe. Evokat Premier comes with a series of protection features, such as multi-factor authentication, access control lists, antivirus and anti-malware protection, DDoS Protection, unified threat management, VPN, and HIPAA and PCI DSS compliance, among others. In addition, Illumaware also provides regular database updates, allowing you to focus on managing the quality of your data.

●     More Insight Than Ever Before

Evokat Premier also provides the latest versions of the databases that govern the automotive aftermarket industry. In addition, the live vehicle mapping interface will provide users with immediate feedback that shows all available vehicle configurations that match all target set attributes.

It’s important to keep in mind that your fitment records are a critical business asset and, when it comes to authoring automotive catalogs, it’s somewhat similar to trying to hit a moving target. Every month, new vehicles and components are being introduced onto the market, while existing ones are being redefined. As such, existing OE fitment patterns are being continuously changed, adding new data requirements in the process.

Because of these changes, regular health checks of your ACES data are necessary to ensure the viability of your catalog. Evokat Premier will allow you to conduct complete health checks on both product and application data, while also providing you with intuitive interfaces that help you locate and resolve any issues that may arise. In addition, Evokat Premier uses easy-to-understand charts that illustrate opportunities to add data that will be in line with your coverage goals.

●     Managing your Application Fitment

You will also be able to connect to every vehicle type available on the VCdb database. This includes everything from light to heavy-duty, agriculture, marine, and Powersports. You’ll also have access to all product resources provided by the PCdb and PAdb databases without the need to pay for any additional subscriptions. However, with the monthly changes to product and vehicle definitions used to generate PIES and ACES XML files, managing an aftermarket catalog is an ongoing task. And the longer your catalog is left unmanaged, the more “holes” you will have in your data.

To mitigate this problem, Evokat Premier will evaluate your catalog’s data against the new standards as they are released every month. Any and all issues will be presented to the catalog management team through a series of easy-to-use and actionable dashboards. In most cases, Evokat Premier will also offer you clear solutions to all issues that may arise. In addition, the mapping process is completely configurable. This means that you can add as many levels of detail to your parts as you want and/or need. You can choose to go as simple as year, make, and model, or also add elements such as body styles, fuel types, engines, and more.

●     More Effective Product Branding

You will also be able to market your products on multiple marketplaces and different brand names. With the help of several centralized resource libraries, Evokat Premier will reduce the incidence of common data entry errors, ensuring that your product data is authored as consistently as possible. In addition, we will provide you with comprehensive product data metrics and check for any product data issues, ensuring that there are no discrepancies.

The platform also takes into account your unique branding requirements, allowing for brand-specific overrides for your PIES data elements and targeting select ACES fitment notes. This will provide you with a lot of flexibility to tailor your product information in line with private label requirements or your channel partner custom data demands.

To summarize, an auto parts database software will help your automotive aftermarket business thrive in today’s highly competitive and increasingly digitized market. If you want to know more about what the Illumaware LLC Evokat Premier has to offer to your auto parts catalog and how it has helped others, check out our testimonials and contact us at your earliest convenience.