Online shopping has always been more attractive than traditional shopping – all buyers need to do is browse through their favorite websites, click on the items they want, and wait for them to get delivered to their doorstep. This shopping experience has become a necessity during the COVID health crisis, with eCommerce sales rising in practically all industries.
The same is true for the auto parts industry. Online car parts stores have almost completely replaced traditional scrapyard scavenging – car owners first reach to Amazon or eBay to find the automobile components they need. It’s one of the reasons why the customer base on these platforms is so extensive.
To successfully manage your online auto parts shop, especially on an online marketplace like Amazon or eBay, you might benefit from listing software. There are plenty of options out there for all kinds of listing categories.
Let’s examine what features you should look for in an auto parts listing tool.
Your fitment data is your most important business asset. Naturally, you will pour many resources into it and make sure it is as accurate and complete as possible. However, even the most precise fitment databases have an expiration date, so to speak. If it isn’t maintained and updated regularly, it can become spoiled, much like the milk in your refrigerator.
The automobile aftermarket industry is incredibly fluid. New vehicles and configurations are released, and obsolete ones are eliminated almost faster than you can keep track of. Two main issues arise if your vehicle fitment data isn’t regularly validated:
- Parts and accessories that are tied to removed configurations become invalid. They cannot be looked up in your store anymore – you no longer have an accurate catalog for your customers.
- Your data isn’t connected to new vehicle records that have replaced the old ones. These are considered “holes” in your data, and they frequently lead to loss of sales. Simply put, if potential customers don’t find what they are looking for in your catalog, they will go searching elsewhere.
Look for listing software that automatically revalidates your data each time the ACES (and PIES) standards are updated. This will ensure that your fitment information doesn’t go spoiled and that there are no holes in your database. Your most crucial business asset will be regularly maintained without too much effort on your part.
Sometimes, the parts and accessories seller wants certain aspects of their data in a spreadsheet format so they can perform bulk edits. The ability to export fitment data in the proper format increases efficiency and productivity.
Your listing software should be able to provide the reports you need. These can include your product information presented in the YMM (year, make, model) format, products without fitment, compatible vehicle part matches, and more.
A great listing software provider allows custom reports for exporting just the information you need to make the necessary adjustments. It would be best to get a solution that publishes reports to the targets you want, such as SFTP, FTP, and Amazon S3.
ACES to eBay Fitment Conversion
As an auto parts business owner, you must be familiar with the ACES and PIES standards. Most marketplaces in North America require their online sellers to submit fitment data according to the ACES standard.
However, eBay doesn’t use ACES. Instead, it has its own standard by the name of Master Vehicle List (MVL). eBay Motors fitment data in MVL cannot be used for other trading platforms (ones that use ACES) and vice versa. Typically, auto parts sellers have to pay third-party individuals or companies to develop custom code so they can transform their MVL data for eBay into ACES data for Amazon or Walmart.
To avoid reaching out to a software developer to help you with this, definitely aim for a software solution that transforms ACES data to MVL and back quickly and easily. This isn’t a priority if you don’t intend to expand to multiple eCommerce marketplaces simultaneously, but it doesn’t hurt to plan for the future.
The software you choose must be integrated with the eBay parts and accessories platform, as well as other applications you’re potentially using (such as an inventory management tool, stock management software, email management software, or similar).
As explained above, eBay doesn’t accept XML files of ACES fitment data. Instead, you need to communicate the information directly through their API (Application Programming Interface). This process is not the easiest to grasp if you’re not familiar with the concept of API. Look for eCommerce software solutions that can seamlessly integrate your fitment data with eBay’s API so that it is immediately available online.
If you’re already using an app for managing your inventory and multi-channel listing tool, make sure that your new listing software can integrate with it as well. This saves you time from having to switch from one software platform to another. Instead, you can manage everything from the same dashboard!
It doesn’t matter whether or not you’re tech-savvy – something is bound to go wrong. Either you click the wrong button, can’t find how to upload the right photo, or your software glitches, and now it’s not working right. Any of these situations require you to contact the support center and get it sorted out.
Look for software providers that offer at least email or online support. If they also have a live chat option so you can immediately resolve your issue, all the better. The chances are that you will need help as you get familiar with the application surroundings, and it’s best to look for a provider who can quickly come to your assistance. The eBay world is incredibly fast-paced – you don’t want to have to wait for days or even weeks for an answer to your problem.
The best software solutions are the ones tailored precisely to your needs. However, those are the most expensive as well. To find a compromise between the two, look for a provider that offers limited customization at an attractive price – perhaps within a subscription plan that works for you.
Custom features are not a must, but they come in handy if you want to achieve a specific business goal and the current software solution doesn’t support it. That way, you can have an advanced listing tool that covers all essential aspects of your listings, fitment data, compatibility information, and similar.
Auto Parts Specific Software
When browsing through your software choices, keep in mind that eBay is a vast platform with dozens, if not hundreds, of product categories. Not everyone is selling vehicle components, and not every software solution is designed to support the automotive category.
It would be best to find an application that has been developed explicitly for auto parts businesses. Those not meant for the auto category likely do not have all the features required to support your fitment information, transform it into the proper format, keep it up to date, and integrate it with other systems you may already be using.
Your fitment data is the core of your business. Through it, your customers can find the exact parts they’re looking for and make a purchase. It also helps them search for compatible parts if they cannot find the exact one they need. Auto parts specific software will help you manage and maintain your fitment data without having to spend hours at the computer looking for new changes and making the necessary adjustments.
The key takeaway from all of this is that there is no ideal auto parts listing software for everyone. Every auto parts store is different – with different goals, inventory management, shipping policies, customer service, and similar operations. The best software option for you would be the one that meets your specific online parts sale needs.
In well-rounded product listing software, look for features such as fitment validation. This will be crucial in maintaining your fitment data and making sure your potential buyers always find the relevant information. Fitment reports are also helpful if you’re planning on making bulk edits. Other minor features could come in handy as well, such as a listing scheduler or access from a mobile device. These can give you a competitive advantage over your rivals.
Since eBay doesn’t support ACES XML files, you will need an application that can convert them into eBay-approved MVL standard data. Furthermore, look for solutions that can be integrated into the eBay platform, as well as other software you might be using. Finally, don’t overlook the importance of having reliable customer support if you need it and potential customization options.
To find the right answer to your listing software problems, don’t hesitate to contact MyFitment. We offer a wide range of plans specifically for eBay auto parts shop owners that have all the right features for propelling your business forward.