In the U.S. alone, there are over ~1,300 companies involved in the manufacture of parts for all kinds of automobiles.
As with most other industries, auto parts manufacturing slowed at the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic, and customer behavior changed drastically. As lockdowns were ordered and the automotive supply chain was affected, clients turned to eCommerce stores for their auto parts.
Automotive eCommerce, which includes auto parts eCommerce, is here to stay and is only expected to grow in the future.
So, how do you build a competitive auto parts eCommerce platform?
Building an Auto Parts eCommerce Platform
Creating your own auto parts eCommerce platform is a complex process. All of its elements must meet the changing needs of the public.
To be competitive in the industry, there are seven must-haves for your platform:
1. Large Catalog Support
To become the best eCommerce platform for auto parts, you must have everything—or as close to it as possible. You must stock as many auto parts as you can get.
On average, one automobile has some 1,800 parts—around 30,000 if you get down to individual nuts and bolts.
For this, you will need a large warehouse or multiple stockrooms for neat and organized storage. You also need robust software to keep track of hundreds of thousands of SKUs.
Having a handle on your auto parts inventory ensures efficiency for your operations. After all, one of the reasons consumers resort to online stores is convenience and speed. They want to get their items as quickly as possible after exerting as little effort as possible.
2. Part Finder Functionality
A robust auto parts eCommerce platform must have Part Finder functionality to ensure that customers can find exactly what they need. As mentioned, there are thousands of auto parts in one vehicle, many of which are specific to that make and model. Custom search filters, such as model, year, and manufacturer, are the bare minimum needed to ensure customer satisfaction.
Part Finder is an app that must be installed separately. You must make sure your platform can accommodate the app or a similar custom plugin. You can also choose to customize an app or plugin according to your needs.
The Amasty Products Parts Finder, for example, is an excellent advanced search option for online stores.
3. Custom Search
Custom search is one of the most critical automotive eCommerce solutions you must employ on your platform. The ability to customize the search box, results page, and actual results is crucial to meet your clients’ needs.
Your custom search engine must be smart enough to find items that would-be buyers can barely describe properly. Not all customers are knowledgeable about auto parts, so the search engine must have a faceted search feature. The search engine should also implement robust product ranking and semantic search, and it should not come up with zero results for any search string.
Advanced parameters are vital in building an efficient auto parts eCommerce platform.
4. Multi-Source Inventory
Multi-source inventory is another must-have auto parts eCommerce software because it allows online sellers to efficiently manage inventory from various sources. Inventory may be stored in multiple warehouses and stockrooms of brick-and-mortar stores. Robust inventory software makes tracking advanced logistics and stock management easy within one platform for maximum convenience.
Efficient inventory management is crucial to elevate the customer experience. Better inventory visibility will also allow sellers to manage shipments of different items coming from various storage facilities in just one order. It can also support dropshipping and BOPIS (buy online, pick up in-store).
Moreover, the inventory system is crucial for generating updated inventory reports and managing ideal stock levels.
5. Seamless ERP and PIM Systems
Two vital systems are necessary for auto parts eCommerce website development: Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) and Product Information Management (PIM). They have separate functions, but their smooth integration will significantly benefit an online store.
ERP is software essential for the seamless management of various business operations, such as accounting, human resources, compliance, and customer relations. PIM gathers data from ERP to ensure that product cataloging and stock management are accurate and updated. PIM refers to product content—technical details, manufacturing date, digital assets, and product metadata.
Integrating ERP and PIM ensures top-notch inventory management, precise pricing methods, efficient data distribution, and seamless overall operations.
6. Superior B2B Features
One thing that irks customers is when a site lags while searching for products and putting items in their cart. What’s stopping them from choosing another auto parts eCommerce platform? You must ensure that all customers have a seamless experience with excellent features on your platform.
The most important core features include the following:
● Fast checkout
● Extensive catalogs
● Custom pricing and specialized catalogs
● Bulk buying
● Quick reordering
● Restricted access control
● Portal customization
● Digital payment options
7. Solution Integrator Team
B2B features, ERP and PIM systems, multi-source inventory, custom search, Path Finder, and inventory system are all crucial functions for an auto parts eCommerce platform. Seamless integration ensures an efficient platform that can handle all types of orders from individual customers or B2B transactions.
A solution integrator team can easily incorporate all of these vital software applications into one flawless IT ecosystem. The team will also ensure that all clients’ needs are met.
Atwix provides full-service eCommerce service, particularly with Magento and Adobe Commerce, to make online selling a profitable and hassle-free experience.
The Bottom Line
The growing online auto parts industry opens new opportunities for new players to build an auto parts eCommerce platform. And to be competitive in the industry, you should develop a top-notch platform that will serve a large community of online sellers that will trickle down to auto parts buyers.
Magento/Adobe Commerce can help you attain the goal of creating a world-class B2B experience with an extensive marketplace of extensions and unlimited eCommerce customizations.