Quick advancements in technology have led to a digital revolution that has facilitated all the industries with a range of growth opportunities. The digital revolution has made thousands of businesses go through digital transformation, changing the face of traditional business for good. When it comes to online vehicle sales, the success rate is lower, unlike the online auto parts market. The aftermarket auto parts market promises a significant market share for the early adopters. In this article, we will explain the types of software and tools an auto part online seller needs to run an auto parts store successfully.
Benefits that Software and Automation Bring to the Auto Parts Market
The most common problems that the automotive industry has been facing for years are:
- Order processing issues
- Database creation
- Shipping products
- Problems in receiving payments
- Marketing issues, etc.
To meet their customers’ expectations and overcome these challenges, auto parts retailers and suppliers can rely on various eCommerce solutions and robust management tools. The benefits that come with using multiple eCommerce software solutions include:
- Integration with a physical store
- Auto parts data in a structured format
- Auto parts inventory management solutions
- Automotive business intelligence
- Product bundling
- Order management
- Use of AI
- Integrated email marketing
- Easier payments and shipping, etc.
Amazon, eBay, or an eCommerce Website?
The first and most important decision you should make is whether you should go with an online marketplace (such as eBay or Amazon) or build your own eCommerce website. This decision will significantly define the software you can use to successfully run your auto parts store, as well as other things such as marketing and customization capabilities.
The first places people search for aftermarket auto parts are online marketplaces – eBay and Amazon already have the infrastructure to help you sell your auto parts. These sites have their own set of advantages and disadvantages. Since your business is based on someone else’s platform, you won’t have much control over your store. Also, every sale you make is a customer for eBay or Amazon (not just for you) because your automotive aftermarket parts business doesn’t control the relationship with the end customer. That means you cannot retarget your customers and sell to them again, which is usually the most profitable aspect of any online business (when you consider the high cost of initial customer acquisition). On the other hand, there is the advantage of starting a business in a digital marketplace that millions of customers visit every day. Many sellers use eBay or Amazon as a jumping-off point for further growth and drive more traffic to their own business website.
Besides the marketplace option, you can launch your own eCommerce platform for auto parts. You can build a fully-optimized website that works well, is easily navigated, has enough information to educate your customers, and can integrate various software solutions that can help you run your business smoothly.
Integrated Email Marketing Software
Thanks to an integrated email marketing automation software, you can send notifications and emails to welcome your new users, re-engage existing customers, and follow-up with cart abandonments. With email marketing software, you can gather customer emails, create segmented lists, send personalized emails, provide useful and relevant content, run feedback campaigns, and so much more. Regardless of how you implement your email strategies, it would be best if you aimed to compile a functional email list quickly. From there on, you will be able to develop an effective automotive email marketing strategy. You can also create segmented lists that will allow you to personalize your content, and that’s one of the best and least intrusive ways to get the most from your marketing content.
Auto Repair Software
If you decide to run an auto repair shop to install aftermarket parts for your local customers, you should equip yourself with an auto repair software. Automotive repair shops need this software solution because it helps them automate the task of managing the shop efficiently. These solutions offer tools such as vehicle history, invoicing, estimation, and point of sale. The repairing task does require manual skills, but with this software, it will be effortless to maintain accurate records, keep all the parts in order, and collect detailed info on repairs.
Auto Parts Database Software
Aftermarket auto parts retail businesses deal with data in different ways than other companies. By this, we want to emphasize the importance of fitment data. With thousands of different vehicles, as well as parts and accessories for these vehicles, you want to make sure that your customers buy the part that fits their vehicle’s model, make, and year. Many of those car parts and accessories often fit multiple vehicles, but there are also many cases when parts just don’t fit. If you sell a part that doesn’t fit your customer’s vehicle, it can lead to bad reviews, product return, and increased cost on your side.
Therefore, you must provide the right answer to your customers’ most important questions, which is – will it fit my car? Having complete and accurate fitment data that is presented in the proper format is essential for success in this business.
Another thing you need to be aware of are the ACES and PIES standards created by the ACA (Auto Care Association). When it comes to fitment data formatting, ACES and PIES are the two standards – ACES is used to exchange and manage automotive application fitment data, while PIES is used to exchange and manage product data (e.g., part type, part number, and brand). These are the industry-developed standards that provide the language and framework that ensures the right auto part gets to the right vehicle.
Managing fitment data manually is a time-consuming and complex process, which is why you should resort to third-party software. For example, myFitment can help you make sure that all your fitment data is complete, accurate, and in the right format for your own website, eBay, or Amazon. It ensures that your auto part lists are always complete and up-to-date with fitment compatibility data. This will help you improve customer experience, increase auto part sales, and reduce the number of product returns for your auto part listings.
Inventory Management Software
For an auto parts store, inventory management software can help with tasks such as:
- Multiple-location inventory tracking – Monitor several locations from a unified hub and follow purchases, transfers, returns, issues, and automatic reorders.
- Managing inventory – Advanced barcoding with a computer and wireless barcode scanner, ability to scan incoming deliveries right off the truck, and access assets and equipment from a unified dashboard)
- Creating work orders. Use work orders to monitor the progress of your daily business operations and make sure every stage of the process gets done in the right order.
- Scheduling tasks. Make sure that jobs get done by the right people by adding them to the calendar and assigning them specific tasks. Plan comprehensive calendars and get cost estimates to help you stay within budget limitations.
- Integrating with accounting software (e.g., QuickBooks). Utilizing an inventory and warehouse management system that integrates with accounting software means you’ll have all of your accounting and inventory tracking in one place. You can generate various reports on different data points, such as vendors, pricing, part history, etc. It should also come with features such as credit card processing and signature capture.
- Shipping products. The crucial part of running a successful auto parts business is getting the right parts into your customers’ hands. Therefore, your auto parts inventory software should be equipped with easy-to-use shipping options, customer reporting and tracking updates, and reflect real-time deliveries and auto parts shipped. Integrated with a distribution software solution, you will be able to easily and quickly research, place, and track drop-shop orders and special orders.
Buying car parts and accessories is not as simple as buying other products (such as consumer electronics or clothes). An organized auto parts store software with advanced filter options will help your store visitors when searching for different auto parts. It will help them find the best part that fits their budget and requirements. Utilizing order processing software will leave no room for confusion or errors regarding the number of orders and order quantity. That’s why you’ll be able to process each order smartly and efficiently.
Retail POS systems for auto parts stores improve POS transactions and streamline eCommerce inventory management (e.g., track inventory levels and improve inventory control processes). The right POS system will also speed up the checkout process, personalize your customers’ experience, and offer different software features for your store. For an auto parts store, you’ll need more than a standard retail store POS solution. You will need a solution designed for auto parts retail because you must consider industry-specific features, such as seasonal order prediction, multi-location inventory query, and special-order tracking. Your POS system should integrate with your database software to make part lookup easy.
Shipping and Payment Gateways
CRM (Customer Relationships Management) software and eCommerce solutions can help you manage records such as shipping address, order details, warranty and guarantee card, product certifications, payment receipts, etc. With an automated solution, you can easily handle the work with virtually zero error.
Another type of software you need is a payment gateway. There is a wide range of payment gateways that make online shopping easier for your customers. Today’s eCommerce sites are using payment options such as PayPal, Apple Pay, and other payment options that enable a seamless checkout and remove the need for customers having to enter their personal and payment details in lengthy forms. Such secured payment platforms help in minimizing cart abandonment. Customers need to trust you with their personal and credit card information before they buy anything. When signing on with an eCommerce service provider, be sure to look into their system, find out how secure it is, and whether they have a history of security breaches.
The best option to go with is a tokenized payment system. This payment system replaces the actual credit card information with a randomly generated number (token), so the credit card numbers are never actually stored (which leaves cyber-criminals with nothing to steal).
If you are currently using software solutions to run your business, you should pick an eCommerce platform or other tools that integrate well with what you’re already using. There are various tools that can make selling auto parts a million times easier, faster, and more successful.
Many aftermarket parts and accessories retailers and manufacturers sell parts online (whether via eCommerce sites, Amazon, or eBay Motors). MyFitment can help you with building your online catalog, as well as updating and maintaining it on a regular basis. Feel free to contact us for a free trial.