Automotive Parts & Accessories
Auto enthusiasts expect to easily and quickly locate a specific part or accessory amongst hundreds of products and dozens of categories. Therefore, the site's navigation should allow shoppers to find products based on a variety of attributes, including product number, price, color, model, make, year, and type. Due to the complexity of categorization in the auto parts industry, auto parts sites are highly sophisticated, multi-layered, and specific in the features and functionality required to satisfy auto parts shoppers.
Allowing the customer to Shop By Make, Model, Year, and various specifications (i.e. brand, department, or use case) lets the retailer target multiple consumer segments. Whether its to replace a cracked headlight or to restore the entire exterior body of a car, each individual shopper has a unique purpose when seeking out an auto product, and the site navigation should facilitate the pursuit of this purpose.
Make, Model, and Year
Shoppers should be able to delineate groups of products by vehicles manufactured in specific years. Individual products are generally applicable to an exclusive selection of models; a customer needs to be certain that the item is compatible with the vehicle.
Branded landing pages for a parts manufacturer or vehicle brands act as curated lists and offer relevant product recommendations for shoppers. Manufacturer specials or rules and regulations can apply to certain brands, so make sure the landing page has appropriate promotion codes or offers. Showcase the manufacturers top products and categories. If a brand specializes in exhausts, show that as a category banner, not a category banner on detailing products. Also include videos on branded landing pages so shoppers that are new to a brand can quickly figure out what the brand specializes in without leaving the site.
There should be a clearly visible option to navigate an auto site by department (i.e. Brakes, Engines, Lighting, Steering, Tools, etc.). This is particularly critical in determining the availability of rare, high- demand, or exclusive items.
For a broader navigation experience, customers should be able to narrow by use case (i.e., Accessories, Engine, Exterior, Interior, Suspension, etc.). This function is ideal for shoppers who are looking to restore large sections of a vehicle (such as the body exterior), as opposed to simply replacing a single component.
Part Finder / Gift Finder
Due to the highly specific nature of auto parts products, shoppers need the ability to select and filter multiple attributes. A part finder or gift finder module allows customers to make refinements by selecting additional product specifications (i.e. year, brand, type).
Videos, Installation Instructions, Applications, Reviews on Product Pages
Auto enthusiasts and novices need videos and tutorials demonstrate the professional knowledge and experience of the retailer, while ensuring a more convenient, hassle-free experience for the customer. When considering parts, tools, and utility products, shoppers should be informed of the various applications of each item. For example, a windshield sealant kit may be applicable to Ford Coupes manufactured.
Auto enthusiasts and novices need information on products: Instructional videos and tutorials demonstrate the professional knowledge and experience of the retailer, while ensuring a more convenient, hassle-free experience for the customer. When considering parts, tools, and utility products, shoppers should be informed of the various applications of each item. For example, a windshield sealant kit may be applicable to Ford Coupes manufactured between 1939-1940.
Mega menus reduce the amount of clicks auto enthusiasts needs to get to favorite parts or accessories. Include use cases, years, brands, and categories. Highlight best sellers in the mega menu so that enthusiasts can get to hot products in one click.
Parts & Accessories Across Multiple Sites
Being that auto part companies are have a constantly-growing inventory, retailers need to be able to manage and add product data across different sites and shopper segments. Therefore, the ability to create microsites is especially critical for auto parts eTailers who serve differentiated markets, consumer Mustang buffs want different accessories than new Mustang owners do.
Remember & Customize Year, Model, Make
Remember customer preferences and tailor product results for customers. This reduces bounce rate and improves conversion. Eliminate unnecessary purchase steps and include a virtual garage that will remember customers vehicles. Subaru WRX owners experience means increased sales.
Online, Offline Meetups: Referral Marketing Through Sharing
Auto enthusiasts are proud to share parts and lists with friends and members of their club. One of the most powerful ways to generate visibility and sales is word-of-mouth marketing. Shoppers need the ability to save and share carts with other members of their community, whether its during a meetup or on an online forum.
Be Part of the Club: Loyalty Programs
Getting customers engaged with the online store or incentives to stay loyal to the site is imperative for sustained growth. Loyalty programs enable online retailers to collect emails and also reward customers for returning to the site. Customers can garner points for purchases which can be applied towards discounts, special events, and even social badges and virtual trophies
Complete, Not Complex Merchandising
Some parts can universally fit hundreds of different makes, models, and years. These parts can also fit inside other parts, and with multiple parent-child relationships, wires can get tangled. Merchandising needs to be intuitive and efficient so that online retailers can focus on increasing online orders instead of continuously tinkering with data to get one part to show up in multiple categories. Menial tasks can be a hassle if the site administrator must continually import and export data feeds to make changes to the data structure (instead of managing all merchandising inside the same console). Dont be stuck at the starting line, make sure the backend allows flexible merchandising and the ability to dynamically change faceted navigation at the touch of a button.
Find Relevant Parts By Search and Navigation
Shoppers on automotive parts and accessories sites look for specific parts or products that fit certain uses; unlike other types of online stores, auto enthusiasts arent usually window shopping to see every single tire or wheel. Search and navigation must provide relevant results so that shoppers arent digging through dozens of pages to get to one specific product.
Search is Serious for Sales
Longtail keywords mean the shopper is ready to buy. Ensure that the search function is equipped with detailed information such as part number, SKU number, manufacturer specifics, and measurements, as well as standards including make, model, and year. For instance, measurements for tires such as speed rating, diameter, service type, and width are required indexing details especially on a tire site or tire finder.
Loyal customers and those who know precisely what to buy can plug in the product number and quickly order products from the site. Auto parts typically arent products that shoppers want to wait around for, so its essential to do everything possible to help customers quickly get to the finish line.
Dynamic Filters and Facet Categories
Fuel filters are under a couple inches long, and usually not 16 - Refinements for fuel filters are different from refinements for wheels. Show relevant refinements and place the most heavily accessed refinements at the top. Refinements for fuel filters should not show up in refinements for wheels. Auto part online retailers need the ability to manage filters and facets dynamically due to the various specifications of each part and accessory.
Shift Into Reverse
Breadcrumb trails enable shoppers to backtrack to a subcategory previously visited. Auto part retailers have long breadcrumb trails due to all the specifications of each part. There can be thousands of breadcrumb trail combinations. Make sure that shoppers are able to hop directly onto any section of the breadcrumb trail. Additionally give shoppers the capability to add and remove filters as while navigating, enabling quick transitions between categories and parts.
Just like automobiles, the eCommerce platform must include board diagnostics. The eCommerce team needs to monitor how the site is handling, if there are any error codes, and how pipelines, processes, and business activities are running. There needs to be history on each process, the create date, modify date, status, step, and log messages. The onboard diagnostics for the eCommerce platform must be integrated within the system and should not require a file export to view log or error messages. Kalio’s eCommerce platform provides access to these capabilities via the KalioCommerce Site Manager, to streamline your eCommerce board diagnostics.
Joining the Parts and Pieces
The eCommerce platform behind an auto parts retail site must be streamlined, intuitive, and flexible. The platform should seamlessly integrate with the order management system (OMS) and the enterprise resource planning (ERP) system, allowing eCommerce, customer service, accounting, data management, and website development teams to focus on building the business.
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