The online selling of auto parts and accessories can be quite complex. Unlike other products, car parts and accessories need to be specified with fitment data to help consumers know whether the part will fit their vehicle. Fitment data often referred to as compatibility, is the year/make/model of the vehicle and can expand to trim/submodel, engine, and so on.
The Importance of Fitment Compatibility for Auto Parts and Accessories Online Marketplaces
Many consumers don’t realize that auto parts and accessories fit a wide variety of automobiles. In fact, the average auto part is compatible with about 32 different vehicles. So when you include clear, complete, and accurate fitment data on your product listings, you potentially reach all the customer searching for auto parts and accessories that you sell who may not realize there is an alternative part that fits their vehicle.
Too often, people search based on brand, not realizing there are plenty of aftermarket auto parts and accessories that fit their cars, trucks, motorcycles, boats, Powersport vehicles, etc. Therefore, complete descriptions and accurate fitment data also help your discoverability in search results.
And if your fitment data is not accurate, you risk selling the wrong parts to customers. The result may be complaints that can ruin your brand reputation and good standing with the online marketplaces from which you sell auto parts and accessories. It can also result in costly returns when angry customers send the item back for a refund, stating that you provided incorrect compatibility information. Also, if your fitment data is incomplete and doesn’t include every compatible vehicle, you could lose sales to competitors who do provide complete fitment information.
But where do you find auto parts and accessories fitment data for your products? In this guide, we will talk about the top sources of compatibility information.
The Auto Care Association
When the Auto Care Association still went by the name Automotive Aftermarket Industry Association (AAIA). The Auto Care Association is a 50-state network composed of over 500,000 independent manufacturers, distributors, retailers, and so on.
The association created ACES (Aftermarket Catalog Exchange Standard), the data standard for mapping, managing, and exchanging automotive catalog applications. The standard includes fitment or year/make/model, part types, and other qualifier statements. Beyond brand names, fitment may include item specifics like product identifier or trim or engine type.
However, the two leading industry standards for fitment data formatting in the automotive aftermarket industry are ACES and PIES. ACES is used to manage and exchange automotive application fitment data, while PIES (Product Information Exchange Standard) is used to manage and exchange product data, which includes brand, part number, and part type. PIES data includes over 20,000 product types, which are organized into 25 categories.
The ACES file can be used after paying a subscription fee to the association. The file comes in an XML format, with only one file per brand. Because compatible vehicle data changes at least once a month, the association maintains ACES files and updates their Vehicle Configuration Database (VCdb) regularly. This vehicle table contains over 60,000 specific fitment combinations for cars and trucks.
If you are tech-savvy and have time to manage data yourself, there are aftermarket fitment data suppliers who sell auto compatibility catalogs or give you access to their catalogs for a fee. Amazon and eBay Motors also have their own catalogs, which you can search. However, if your auto part is not in the catalog, you will need to add compatibility information to your listings manually.
Therefore, this isn’t the best option for busy business owners who don’t have the time to maintain their cataloging and master their ACES and PIES for their online sales. And unfortunately, many providers of fitment data catalogs do not provide catalog management services.
So if you don’t have the experience, time, and knowledge to keep your database up-to-date, you end up with incomplete or inaccurate fitment errors. Remember, there is no such thing as “Fit and Forget.” Whether it’s your eBay listings or you’re an Amazon seller, managing your fitment section is an ongoing process. Vehicle standards change regularly – as often as once a month.
If you don’t upkeep your data, you will ultimately have a list that is outdated and full of errors. Because your auto parts database is no longer accurate or complete, you could lose potential customers who can’t find the right part. While a vehicle database is considered a business asset, it’s only valuable if the fitment data is up-to-date, accurate, and complete.
Both eBay Motors and Amazon have master vehicle lists, which are periodically updated. Products are listed by type and even geographic location, allowing you to review changes to fitment data for a specific vehicle make/model. But while eBay Motors and Amazon have useful built-in tools for listing management of fitment data, listing compatibility fitment can be labor-intensive, as adding just a few fitments for a single listing requires a lot of time and effort. For this reason, many auto parts and accessories online sellers turn to third-party software solutions.
Third-party solutions not only create ACES and PIES files for their clients, but they also manage the monthly updates. These solutions help auto parts business owners stay ACES and PIES compliant. Rather than take a manual fitment approach where you add the fitment compatibility to a single listing one at a time, you can use features like automated fitment bulk importing. You can easily and quickly import and export your entire inventory and ACES XML file, adding fitment data to compliant ACES receivers and exchange comprehensive PIES data in bulk.
Before third-party fitment data providers, the only alternative to communicating ACES data involved expensive Windows-based software. So not only do you have to worry about listing fees for your eBay product or Amazon listings, but there’s the added cost of pricey fitment data.
Third-party software like myFitment helps ensure your fitment data is not only accurate and complete but also in the right format for Amazon, eBay, or your own auto parts and accessories website. myFitment allows you to repair any errors immediately with Amazon and eBay integration that ensures your vehicle lists are always updated and complete with fitment compatibility data. This means an enhanced buyer experience, reduced returns, and increased sales for your Amazon or eBay listings.
myFitment’s entire solution is based around automation and boasts hundreds of reports and bulk processes. Most importantly, myFitment also performs monthly data revalidation against the most current list of valid compatible vehicle configurations to ensure your fitment information is accurate and relevant. We do this by adding new vehicles every month – as soon as they hit the market!
Before customers buy from eBay Motors, Amazon, or your auto parts and accessories website, they need to know for sure whether the part fits their vehicle. This makes fitment compatibility crucial to online selling of auto parts and accessories.
The team at myFitment has been handling fitment at scale for more than a decade, providing over 1.5 billion lines of fitment data for over 25 million listings. Do you sell auto parts on eBay Motors? Are you currently selling on Amazon? Want to learn more on Amazon or eBay Motors fitment compatibility and how to ensure your master vehicle lists are accurate and complete? For information on how myFitment can help you get your listings in front of marketplace buyers, call us at 855-4FITMENT. Subscribe to our newsletter to stay up-to-date with vehicle compatibility innovations!